Date of Paper

5-2014

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Colin Hollidge

Abstract

Clinical social workers today face increasingly complex social justice issues. An ongoing discourse around the principle of social justice in clinical social work is critical in order for the clinical social work profession to meet its' social justice goals. Studies indicate the importance of having a conceptual framework of social justice to effectively apply social justice to practice, and the need for continual reevaluation and creation of new methods of applying social justice in clinical practice. This study obtained data from a purpose sample (n = 6) of licensed clinical social workers in a range of mental health settings. Semi-structured interviews produced qualitative data regarding participants' demographics, their conceptualizations of social justice, and ways that they applied social justice to clinical practice. The findings support previous research that suggests that a conceptual framework is necessary for effective social justice interventions in clinical social work. Participants in this study linked the pursuit of social justice with increasing access to resources, as well as a non-pathologizing, person-in-environment perspective. Participants also indicated that the principle of social justice is a source of pride for the social work profession and should be preserved and encouraged. Future research to explore more creative and effective interventions to further social justice goals in the social work profession, as well as an examination of barriers to the pursuit of social justice in clinical social work, is recommended.

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