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Paperback 368 pp.
6 tables; 2 figures, 7" x 9"



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Imprint: OUP Canada

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Skills for Human Service Practice

Working with Individuals, Groups, and Communities, Canadian Edition, Second Edition

Agi O'Hara, Zita Weber and Kathy Levine

Now in its second Canadian edition, this text is a comprehensive guide to the practical skills used in social work and human services professions at the individual, group, team, organizational, and community levels. Featuring a wealth of Canadian examples and activities, this text integrates theory and practice to help students build real-world skills for their future careers.

Readership : Mid- to upper-level courses in social work practice, social work skills, and field placement at universities and colleges


  • "[This textbook] is well researched with excellent references for additional reading. It is based on the philosophy that 'theory is central to good practice' and encourages social worker students to be critical thinkers."
    --Frances Grunberg, Langara College

  • "This book offers a comprehensive account of human-service skills development, while recognizing the importance of both common and contextualized elements of the profession. It also makes good use of activities and practice examples."
    --Abdelfettah Elkchirid, Wilfrid Laurier University

Brief Contents
Expanded Contents
Practice Skills
Part 1 Foundational Knowledge for Human Service Work
1. Practising Critical Reflection, Lindsey Napier with Kathy Levine
2. Professional Values and Ethical Practice, Zita Weber with Kathy Levine
3. The Practitioner's Use of Self in the Professional Relationship, Agi O'Hara with Kathy Levine
4. Making the Most of Supervision, Jude Irwin with Kathy Levine
Part 2 Fundamental Skills of Human Service Work
5. Effective Communication, Zita Weber with Kathy Levine
6. The Microskills of Interviewing, Agi O'Hara with Kathy Levine
7. Conducting Assessment: Some General Guidelines, Zita Weber with Kathy Levine
8. Risk Assessment: Working within a Legal Framework, Fran Waugh with Kathy Levine
9. Cultural Diversity in Practice: Working with Indigenous Peoples, Deana Halonen with Michelle Blanchard
10. Cultural Diversity in Practice: Working with Immigrants and Refugees, Kathy Levine with Denise Lynch
Part 3 Human Service Work at the Group and Team Level
11. Introduction to Working with Groups
12. Intervention Strategies for Working with Groups, Agi O'Hara with Kathy Levine
13. Working Effectively in Teams, Zita Weber with Kathy Levine
Part 4 Human Service Work at the Organizational Level
14. NEW! Understanding Human Service Organizations, Alexandra Wright
15. Understanding and Managing Conflict, Agi O'Hara with Kathy Levine
16. Advocacy in Practice, Zita Weber with Kathy Levine
Part 5 Human Service Work at the Community Level
17. Community Education, Karen Healy with Kathy Levine
18. Asset-based Community Development: Recognizing and Building on Community Strengths, Karen Healy with Kathy Levine

Online Appendices
- Appendix A: CASW Code of Ethics
- Appendix B: CASW Guidelines for Ethical Practice
E-Book (ISBN 9780199011834)

Kathy Levine is an associate professor with the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba. Her research and practice interests focus on family violence issues, child and adolescent mental health, services for people with intellectual disabilities, and the promotion of resilience in at-risk youth. She has extensive experience as a practicing social worker and has provided a wide range of therapeutic and clinical services to individuals, families, and groups within the child welfare, child and adolescent mental health, and public school systems.

Agi O'Hara is a former lecturer in the School of Social Work and Policy Studies, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney. She is a registered psychologist with many years of experience working with individuals, couples, and groups.

Zita Weber is a former lecturer in the School of Social Work and Policy Studies, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney. She has worked as a therapist, counsellor, trainer, and group leader.

Introduction to Social Work in Canada - Nicole Ives, Myriam Denov and Tamara Sussman
Interventions with Children and Youth in Canada - Maureen Cech
Connecting Policy to Practice in the Human Services - Brad McKenzie and The late Brian Wharf
Diversity and Social Work in Canada - Edited by Alean Al-Krenawi, John R. Graham and Nazim Habibov
Essential Law for Social Work Practice in Canada - Cheryl Regehr, Karima Kanani, Jesstina McFadden and Michael Saini
Mental Health Social Work Practice in Canada - Cheryl Regehr and Graham Glancy
Working with People - Louise Harms and Joanna Pierce
Challenging Oppression and Confronting Privilege - Bob Mullaly and Juliana West
The New Structural Social Work - Bob Mullaly

Special Features

  • Unique practical approach to social work emphasizes the importance of the skills needed to work with individuals, groups, and communities, as well as the theory behind the practice.
  • Features a wealth of Canadian examples and references throughout, ensuring that the material is relevant to students in this country.
  • An extensive box program throughout:
  • --NEW! Applications to Practice boxes demonstrate how the skills and theories taught in the chapter can be applied in a variety of human service settings.
  • --Activity boxes help students build their skills and confidence through social work activities such as self-disclosure, negotiating, group experiences, and interpreting silence.
  • --Practice Example boxes feature short case studies and study questions, allowing students to review and reflect on essential issues in social work.
  • --Practice Point boxes summarize key issues and facts from case studies, helping students grasp the most important concepts.
  • Questions for review at the end of each chapter test students' comprehension and help them to reflect on the material.
  • Written in a clear and engaging style, making complex theories and key concepts easy for undergraduate students to understand.
New to this Edition
  • New chapter on human service organizations examines the importance of studying these organizations, their relevance to society, and their unique role in bridging the gap between the state and citizens in planning and providing social services. (Ch. 14)
  • Extensive coverage of relevant and current issues such as ethics, anti-oppressive theory and advocacy, gives students the most up-to-date material available.
  • Fully revised chapters covering working with Indigenous peoples (Ch. 9) and working with immigrants and refugees (Ch. 10).
  • New coverage of online communication including e-counselling, e-professionalism, and privacy.
  • Organized thematically into five parts, streamlining content and improving the accessibility of concepts.
  • New chapter objectives at the beginning of each chapter.