Session: Building Case Vignettes through Current Events: A Social Justice Approach in Clinical Social Work Practice (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

116 Building Case Vignettes through Current Events: A Social Justice Approach in Clinical Social Work Practice

Friday, January 17, 2020: 2:00 PM-3:30 PM
Congress, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Research on Social Work Education (RSWE)
Monit Cheung, PhD, University of Houston, Xin Chen, PhD, University of Houston and Yu-Ju Huang, MSW, University of Houston
Social justice is the core value supporting social workers to take actions against social/structural inequalities (Asakura & Maurer, 2018; Hutchison, 2019). Because these actions are perceived as macro practice, social justice is not a focus in clinical education and its applicability to clinical practice has been questioned (Hong & Hodge, 2009; Kestenbaum et al., 2012; McLaughlin, 2011). This workshop aims to introduce an enriched practice-research integrated pedagogy platform that analyzes media-spotlighted events through a social justice lens. These analyses function as a tool for clinical social workers to achieve justice-oriented competency and to exemplify how they promote social changes through their case work with individuals, families, and groups.

Clinical Case Vignettes

In an MSW clinical social work course, 100 students (from 2016 to 2019) have been requested to choose a current event spotlighted in the media for demonstrating how clinical practice is justice-focused. Small groups of 2-3 members were formed to prepare case vignettes based on their selected current event. They presented a rationale to connect each vignette's clinical issues to racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and/or political justice. Client information was obtained through multiple media sources. A total of 42 vignettes were presented. Each vignette contained the presenting issue(s), psychosocial assessment, and two direct quotes from the identified client in each vignette. Then, small groups processed their clinical practice in a five-way learning journey: being a client, clinical social worker, supervisor, case owner, and social justice learner. They documented practice effectiveness and reflected on how their interventions promoted social justice. They also cogitated how their commitment to social justice became a goal in their clinical career development.

Criteria and Themes of Justice-Focused Clinical Practice

Case study method was applied for analyzing the selected case vignettes. With coding strategies guided by five-way learning model, social justice themes as connected to the intersectionality between justice and clinical social work for teaching clinical social work and for planning justice-oriented research were generated. This research team will present how the teaching-research contents have prepared MSW students for justice-focused clinical practice. Workshop participants will receive case selection criteria and the social justice themes. The results from the five-way reflections will identify how clinical social work skills are connected to advocacy and also comprehend a process-oriented approach to social justice awareness beyond the use of clinically oriented therapeutic techniques. This workshop will show the unique contributions to clinical practice with current events as tools to affirm the multiple roles of being clinical social workers.

Applications This teaching-research strategy with a focus on social justice is to improve students' awareness of their clinical social work commitment, increase their assessment competency, and integrate multiple techniques into diverse social justice issues with confidence. In this workshop, participants will receive a list of the 42 case studies (with website links) and the five-way learning assessment instrument validated in this study for collecting data of clinical reflections. Guidelines to select additional case vignettes will be discussed with a focus on training clinical social workers to affirm their social justice professional identity.

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