A social worker can utilize a wide variety of social work models and theories in clinical practice.

A social worker can utilize a wide variety of social work models and theories in clinical practice.

Introduction to Relational Theory, Spiritual Models, and Human Rights

Getting Started

A social worker can utilize a wide variety of social work models and theories in clinical practice. One that you will explore throughout this course is called the relational model. You will learn about the history of the model and gain practice in applying the model to your own clinical skills repertoire. In addition to gaining an understanding of the historical contributions to the relational approach, you will critically examine issues related to engaging with clients during the planned change process, consider spiritual models that also could be applied to your clinical practice, and explore the issue of using primarily evidence-based interventions in your practice.

Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:

• Demonstrate character, scholarship, and leadership in becoming a world changer through application to personal life and professional social work practice.
• Demonstrate Christ-like attitudes, values, worldviews, and ethical and professional behavior within advanced clinical practice.
• Apply social work theories to client engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation at the micro practice level.
• Create a context for client engagement that advances human rights.
• Analyze the impact of policies on the delivery of services to various clients.


• Textbook: Theories for Direct Social Work Practice
• Web Page: NASW Code of Ethics
• Video: Social Services Are Broken. How We Can Fix Them
• File: How to Write an Engaging Online Discussion Post

Background Information

The relational theoretical perspective places importance on:

• Empathy, co-creating a sensitive and compassionate interpersonal relationship between client and therapist
• Focusing on the present
• Identifying themes related to gender, ethnicity, and other types of diversity that are relevant to the client
• Emphasizing strengths and resilience
• Acknowledging the value of exploring transference and countertransference, as well as disruptions and resistance, between client and clinician
In this first assignment, you will explore the historical precedents that formed the current model of relational theory in clinical social work. By gaining a firm understanding of the underpinnings of the relational model, you can begin to explore your own possible use of this therapy with clients, as well as provide critiques and analysis of the model.
Additionally, you will identify spiritually-based models that you might incorporate in conjunction with the relational model to help clients explore their spiritual or religious beliefs and how they can impact their lives, as well as provide a foundation for clinical practice. While you have your own faith and faith-based models to draw on, you could contrast too much with the client’s beliefs or introduce friction into your relationship with clients; thus, exploring a variety of spiritually-based models will provide you with options to introduce to clients.
There is an ongoing debate about the use of primarily evidence-based interventions in clinical social work practice. How realistic is this? Is it unethical to use interventions or models that have no research to support their efficacy? How can you provide leadership and scholarship to contribute to this debate?
You will critically examine these and other important questions in this discussion assignment. You also will watch a video about how social services are “broken” and contemplate whether or not the relational model can provide any assistance in repairing the system, as well as advancing human rights.


1. Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
2. Read the following from your textbook, Theories for Direct Social Work Practice, chapters 1 and 2.
3. Review the NASW Code of Ethics.https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics
4. Watch the YouTube video Social Services Are Broken. How We Can Fix Them  by Hilary Cottam (2015).

5. Navigate to the threaded discussion and respond to the following discussion questions or prompts:
a. Discuss the importance of using theories in clinical practice.
b. Identify one or two spiritually-based models that seem as though they would be valuable to use in clinical practice and why you think they would be valuable.
i. Would these models also be considered holistic?
ii. Would they advance human rights? Why or why not?
c. What questions do you have about clinical social work after watching the video?
i. Can the relational approach be useful in “fixing social services” and advancing human rights? If yes, how? If not, why not?
6. Your initial post is due by the end of the fourth day of the workshop.
7. Use APA formatting to cite all sources and provide a reference list at the end of your post.

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A social worker can utilize a wide variety of social work models and theories in clinical practice.


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