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Theoretical Perspectives for Direct Social Work Practice 4/e

A Generalist-Eclectic Approach
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This new and fully updated edition of the best-selling theories text for social workers introduces social work students and practitioners to a wide variety of theories for direct social work practice. Originally edited by Nick Coady and Peter Lehmann, the new edition provides a framework for integrating the use of theory with central social work principles and values combined with artistic elements of practice. Completely updated and reorganized to encompass the latest theories as applied to a generalist mental health practice, the fourth edition brings a fresh perspective with the addition of two new lead editors.

Theoretical Perspective for Direct Social Work Practice: A Generalist-Eclectic Approach is rooted in the generalist-eclectic approach to social work practice, with the contents explored through a problem-solving model facilitating the integration of the artistic and scientific elements of practice. The new edition includes 9 new chapters covering Couples Theory, the Psychodynamic Approach, Dialetical Behavior Therapy, Dialetical Behavior Therapy for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, Trauma Informed Practice, Motivational Interviewing, Anti-Oppressive Theory, Mindfulness-based Approaches, and EMDR Therapy.

Chapters are consistently organized and include a case study and associated prompts to foster class discussion. Each includes chapter objectives and summaries, tables, and diagrams. A robust instructor package contains a sample syllabus, PowerPoint slides, and exam questions for each chapter. Purchase includes digital access for use on most mobile devices or computers.


New to the Fourth Edition:

  • Two new lead editors and new chapter contributors bringing a fresh new perspective to the content
  • 9 brand new chapters covering new and relevant theories and models to ensure readers have all the facts at hand and can easily incorporate theories into their everyday practice
  • Significantly reorganized to reflect the state of art in social work practice

Key Features:


  • Chapters are consistently formatted and include a case study with prompts to promote critical thinking and discussion
  • Chapter objectives and summaries in every chapter reinforce content
  • Tables illustrate when and why to use a particular theory
  • Diagrams serve as visual representations of various models
  • Includes Instructor Package with Sample Syllabus, PowerPoints, and exam questions in each chapter

Kristin W. Bolton (pronouns: she/her/hers) is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She received her PhD in social work from the University of Texas at Arlington. Dr. Boltons research includes violence prevention, solution-focused brief therapy, and resilience across the life span.

J. Christopher Hall is a professor of Social Work at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where he teaches graduate social work clinical practice, field, and postmodern electives. In addition to his teaching Chris has practiced for 20 years in the community assisting individuals, couples, families, and groups from a postmodern perspective.

Peter Lehmann is a retired Professor from the University of Texas at Arlington. His primary areas of research are in solution-focused brief therapy and batterer intervention programs.


  • An overview of and rationale for a generalist-eclectic approach to direct social work practice
  • The problem-solving model framework: A framework for integrating the science and art of practice
  • Critical ecological systems theory
  • Individual and family development theory
  • Couples theory and intervention
  • Strengths-based social work: A social work metatheory to guide the profession
  • The Psychodynamic Approach
  • CBT theory and treatment
  • The crisis intervention model
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Trauma informed practice
  • Client centered theory
  • Emotion focused theory
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Feminist theory
  • Empowerment theory
  • Anti-oppressive theory
  • Narrative approaches
  • Collaborative- Dialogic therapy
  • Solution focused therapy
  • Mindfulness based approaches
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
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