An Introduction to Constructivism for Social Workers

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Constructivism is based on the principle that our personalities, behavior, and society are organized by the ways in which we attribute meanings to events, and act upon those meanings. It provides a philosophy, an epistemology, and methods that are especially congruent with the central values of social work, particularly client self-determination. In this volume, Dr. David D.V. Fisher introduces social workers to constructivism, a perspective which is becoming increasingly popular in the social sciences, and which has already been embraced by clinical psychologists, communication researchers, and cyberneticians. Fisher explains constructivism as an epistemology, shows the consequences of adopting a constructivist epistemology in contrast to operating from within the traditional objectivist epistemology, demonstrates the ethical appropriateness and practicality of constructivism for social work, and explicates a number of specific applications of constructivism to social work. The book is divided into two parts. The first part consists of an introduction and then explains and expands the theory of constructivism and its relationship to social work. The second part shows how constructivist principles may be applied in social work practices. Constructivist principles are applied to selected aspects of assessment, intervention, and interviewing--using immediate experience as a guide to action and the creation of professional responsibility. An Introduction to Constructivism for Social Workers will be of particular interest to social workers and psychologists involved in theory and research.