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Developing Skills for Social Work Practice

Developing Skills for Social Work Practice

First Edition
Additional resources:

November 2016 | 296 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Are your students struggling to get to grips with what social work actually looks like in real-life practice? Are they wanting to know more about how they can develop the right skills and implement the right theory in many different practice situations?


Then you have come to the right place! This book will provide your students with everything they need to know and more, helping them develop and hone their skills and make the best start in their practice placements.   


To get the most out of this book and access more materials to support them through their social work degree, visit the companion website at to read journal articles, access ‘how to..’ guides and helpful links, as well as hear first-hand from frontline social workers, services users, carers and more.

Core Skills
Person-Centred Communication
Active Listening Skills
Communicating with Children
Emotionally Intelligent Social Work
Developing Empathic Skills
Reflection and Reflexivity
Understanding Values, Ethics and Human Rights
Valuing Difference and Diversity
Skills for Assessment and Interventions
Assessment Skills
Interviewing Skills
A Positive Approach to Safeguarding: Risk in Humane Social Work
Working with Service Users and Carers
Building Resilience
Conflict Management and Resolution
Research-Informed Practice
Writing Skills for Practice
Inter-Professional Practice and Working Together
Maximising Supervision
Review and Evaluation
Court Skills
Key Social Work Theories and Methods
Strengths-Based and Solution-Focused Approaches
Systems Theory and an Ecological Approach
Attachment Theory: Examining Maternal Sensitivity Scales
Person-Centred Social Work
Group Work
Task-Centred Social Work Practice
Crisis Intervention
The Social Models of Disability and Distress


Click for online resources

Visit the SAGE companion website at to find a range of free tools and resources that will enhance your learning experience.

For students:

·         Offering an alternative learning style, a series of podcasts and transcripts from social workers and service users discuss key concepts to get more insight into developing your skills for social work practice and help you think more critically about the subject.

·         Read more widely! A selection of FREE SAGE Journal articles supports each chapter to help expand your knowledge and reinforce your learning of key topics.

·         Downloadable ‘How to..’ guides and templates to be used on the go and support your revision. 

·         Weblinks which direct you to relevant resources to broaden your understanding of chapter topics and expand your knowledge.


Written by a range of highly experienced social work educators/practitioners, this is a clear, skills focused, text which is likely to appeal to students, beginning social workers, academics and practice educators. The use of overarching theoretical concepts in parts 1 and 2 provide continuity and coherence across the chapters.  The helpful activities and signposting to online resources reinforce the practical usefulness of this text.        

Diane Simpson
Teesside University

This is an excellent foundation level text for SW students in practice, which will help them develop fundamental skills to work in a what is a very tough environment.

Jane Donson
University of Winchester

This thoughtful and practical book will help students develop the skills they need for direct practice with children, families and adults with diverse needs across a range of settings.  Particular strengths are the personalised approach to support, a respectful anti-oppressive ethos, and the reflexive and relational approach to practice.  The requirements of both the PCF and KSS are included and there are a range of activities to support student learning.  I think students will find it a great resource.

Michelle Lefevre
University of Sussex

This promises to be a useful, practical text book for social work students,  linking skills and theories with plenty of reflective and other learning activities included in the chapters.

Joanne Westwood
University of Sussex

An excellent introduction, not just to social work skills but also key theories, approaches and values. It is person-centred in relation to both social work service users and the reader. The content is highly accessible and engaging; it is presented in digestible chapters with case studies, reflections and links to a companion website offering further support materials. A definite addition to my reading list! 

Denise Tanner
University of Birmingham

A book that seeks to support students to link their university-based teaching and placement learning experience as explicitly as this one does is in my view to be welcomed. Included throughout the book are contributions in the form of case studies, commentaries and reflections from eleven other practitioners, thus ensuring the book is based on a wide range of practice experience and current theoretical knowledge. This book offers a structure that could be used to build skills programmes around and I certainly recommend it as a key text for Readiness to Practice modules.

Bridget Caffrey
Senior Lecturer, University of Chester

This is a very good accompaniment to the 30 skills days training required in social work education. It covers a wide range of topics and I like the illustrated examples which explain theory and skills. My students will find this a very welcome addition to their studies.

Ms Sally Riggall
School of Health & Social Care, Lincoln University
August 17, 2017

A good practical introduction to relationship based practice. This book is well structured and accessible and provides opportunities fro reflection and discussion. The emphasis on the need for good communication is useful for students and a timely reminder for practitioners.

Dr Ros Hunt
Health & Social Care (Cambridge), Anglia Ruskin University
July 11, 2017

This substantial text guides the reader towards an understanding of self in relation to others and importantly a response to the needs and empowerment of service users. The value of improved core skills bridges a knowledge that supports effective multi-agency working establishing an acknowledgement of a range of intervention strategies. The text can be applied across the professions to enable critical debate surrounding the role of professionals and therefore establish effective role boundaries and emerging knowledge of wider professional roles.

Mr Steve Walker
Youth & Comm Dev Studies (Lancaster), University of Cumbria
May 6, 2017

This is an excellent book for students a must use.

Ms Carole Suffolk
Human Sciences, University of West London
December 7, 2016

For instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.

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