Socw 6111 | SOCW 6111 – Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice I | Walden University


Week 1: An Integrated Approach to Clinical Practice, Theories, and Issues

In this course, you will explore the necessary skills to assess and develop interventions with your clients across the life span. Each age group—children, adolescents, adults, and/or the aging—requires specific theories and skills to best address their needs and concerns. With an emphasis on evidence-based practice, you will explore the importance of theory-informed practice. Previously, in SOCW 6060, you were introduced to various theories, such as systems, conflict, empowerment, and social learning. You will add to your social work practice toolbox by examining how these theories guide you when assessing and implementing social work interventions. Additional theories such as attachment theory, ego theory, and cognitive behavioral theory will also be introduced to enhance your knowledge and skills as a clinical social worker.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Analyze the importance of integrating theory into clinical practice
  • Analyze the integration of empowerment theory and social work skills

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Gordon, J., & Mackay, G. (2016). The Practice Pyramid: A model for integrating social work values, theory and practice. Journal of Practice Teaching & Learning, 14(3), 64-80.

Hothersall, S. J. (2016). Epistemology and social work: Integrating theory, research and practice through philosophical pragmatism. Social Work and Social Sciences Review, 18(3), 33-67.

Required Media

Walden University (2019). MSW Field Experience . Baltimore, MD: Author.

Watch this video for an update on your Field Experience process.
Accessible player –Downloads–Download Video w/CCDownload AudioDownload Transcript

Optional Resources

Use this link to access the MSW home page, which provides resources for your social work program.

Discussion 1: Ungraded Introductory Video

The profession of social work is unique as it offers you a wide variety of populations to work with, such as adults, children, adolescents, and the elderly. Social work allows you the opportunity to choose from many different types of work settings, such as a hospital, a courthouse, a mental health clinic, or a prison. With so many exciting options it may be difficult to decide your long-term employment goals. Additionally, you may have come into the social work program believing you wanted to work with one particular group, but now that you have taken some courses, you may have changed your mind. In this video, you will share the population or group you desire to work with at this time. Describing the social issues this group encounters will offer additional insight into why you chose this group. As you watch your colleagues’ videos, you may learn about a group you never considered working with before.

For this ungraded assignment, you may find it helpful to review the Final Project requirements located in Week 10.

By Day 3

Record  a 2- to 3-minute video introducing yourself to your colleagues and sharing your career interests. Your video should include:

  • Your name
  • Your geographic location
  • A description of the population or group you would prefer to work with once you graduate
  • A description of the social issue(s) this group encounters in society
  • An explanation of the challenges and opportunities you expect to encounter when working with this group


Discussion 2: Integrating Theory and Practice

As a social work student, it is important to understand the need for theory-informed practice. As you assess, intervene, and evaluate in your practice, theory is an essential foundation for clinical social work. The use of theory to inform and guide your practice is what establishes you as a professional. In working with clients, you should always be aware of the underlying theory of your clinical approach. Through this course, you will develop the ability to better articulate the theoretical base by which you choose your interventions. You will use theory in every decision you make as it guides you through your practice. Additionally, identifying the theories in assessing and creating change will make you a more confident and skilled social work practitioner.

By Day 4

Post  an analysis and description of the importance of the use of theory in clinical practice. Then describe how the use of theory relates to the social issue you presented in your Introductory Video for this week’s Assignment.


By Day 6

Respond to at least two colleagues who selected a different social issue than yours and identify two possible areas of strength of that population. Explain one way clinical social workers can empower their clients.

Response 1

 larry harris RE: Discussion 2 – Week 1COLLAPSE

The use of theory in clinical practice is an essential component to any successful practice.  Without theory as our foundation we would be lost.  Evidence based practice can help us figure out which theory is best for the client, clients situation and background.  The Practice Pyramid is a great tool to combine the understanding of personal and professional values, theories, and practice while we are out in the field (Gordon, Mackay, 2016).  This tool that can be used to outline the path of building social work practice.  The base which is the foundation supports all the different levels of the pyramid.  This base level deals with the professional and personal values.  “Ross emphasizes that values drive everything a professional worker does as well as the crucial role of the practice educator in ensuring that the students learn to operate from a professional value base (Gordon, Mackay, 2016, p. 69).     

Pragmatic epistemology gives us the potential to refocus the knowledge debate and integrate what many see as disparate and is more than just a approach to understanding knowledge and how it is created but it fully acknowledges the mind independent reality we all experience (Hothersall, 2016).  In dealing with the population of hospice each approach has been different focusing on different theories as their lives change.  Many have experienced depression, abandonment from love ones and loss of self-determination.  This pyramid will help me to focus more on the values and help me to put the appropriate theory with the clients need to better assist the client.  With using Evidence Based Practices and theories as core foundation and focusing on values will help to guide the clinical practice.  


Gordon, J., & Mackay, G. (2016). The Practice Pyramid: A model for integrating social work values, theory and practice. Journal of Practice Teaching & Learning14(3).

Hothersall, S. J. (2016). Epistemology and social work: Integrating theory, research and practice through philosophical pragmatism. Social Work and Social Sciences Review18(3), 33-67.

Response 2

 Britney Fallen RE: Discussion 2 – Week 1COLLAPSE

The importance of theory in clinical practice is immeasurable. I think it is important to recognize that psychosocial environment, intuition, and personal style is essential with the foundation of theory in clinical practice. To begin, having a foundation based on theory is key. You cannot properly and effectively work with your clientele without theory, research and guided principles. According to Gordon, the Practice Pyramid is a good example of theory integration in social work practice. The bottom foundation is based on personal, values, and professional. The following tiers are base theories, specific theories, approaches and models, and finally reflective practice. Gordon continues to state that the Pyramid is a way to communicate knowledge, values and skills. In relation to the Introduction Video I posted, I addressed issues such as individualism and bullying among adolescents. If I respectively look at the Practice Pyramid and begin with knowledge, values and skills. Moving forward to theories like social cognitive theory and/or sociocultural perspectives and then finally to intervention. I would then be able to establish a pathway and comprehensive set of data. According to Hothersall, pragmatic epistemology has the capability to redirect knowledge and integrate what many see as different approaches regarding which way is “best” for the profession. I know many people and even professionals question theory and whether it’s useful or not. What I found to be interesting was that both articles have discussed that the intention wasn’t to claim to be superior over another but more so to demonstrate the transformation of social work regarding the theories and principles being used. (Hothersall, 2019). I think it’s important to evaluate and assess psychosocial environment and then begin with theoretical foundation when working with any given clientele.


Gordon, J., & Mackay, G. (2016). The Pyramid: A model of integrating social work values, theory and practice. Journal of Practice Teaching & Learning, 14(3), 64-80.

Hothersall, S. J. (2016). Epistemology and social work: Integrating theory, research and practice through philosophical pragmatism. Social Work and Social Science Review, 18(3), 33-67

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