Construct an essay on the generalist model of 750-1,000 words and include the following:
1. Explain the generalist model.
2. Discuss why the generalist model became the operational model in social work.
3. Analyze the advantages and disadvantages to the social worker in using the generalist model.
Be sure to cite at least three relevant scholarly sources in support of your content.
The Generalist Model
The practice of social work has undeniably undergone numerous and continued changes that reflect the positions of various policymakers. Social work was mainly invented to aid in the alleviation of social problems while working closely with institutions, communities, families, and individuals. The late 1960s and ’70s saw the evaluation of the conceptual frameworks and content of social work given the surrounding social and political climate then (Miller, Tice, & Hall, 2008). This assessment culminated in the genesis of the Generalist model. The generalist model primarily focuses on how individuals interact with their environment while ensuring the integration of the community organization, group work, and casework (Miller et al., 2008). Additionally, practitioners can choose to employ the model in a manner that considers social work in four main systems including the action system, the target system, the change medium system, and the client system. Through this model, policies are formulated to ensure strategic changes that cover three main aspects, namely the connection between individuals and their environment, the environment, and the individual.
The generalist model seeks to address individuals’ concerns in the community with respect to their environment. That is, the model offers a platform through which the relevant professionals employ a set of critically thought-out strategies that tailor social work practice to the concerned persons (Raeymaeckers, 2016). The model provides a crucial lens that views how the individual-environment interaction influences the subject- positively or negatively. As such, the generalist model necessitates that social workers have adequate knowledge regarding human diversity and development (Raeymaeckers, 2016). These aspects would consequently ensure that any issues presented by an individual are adequately addressed irrespective of their stage of life or background.
The generalist model became the operational approach of choice given its capacity to essentially accommodate various aspects of social work. Firstly, the generalist model allows for the integration and dynamic interrelationship between thought processes and action (Raeymaeckers, 2016). By that, the model equips practitioners with frameworks that extend beyond the client as the target of intervention. The integration of various levels of organization is also enhanced by the model. That is, the model takes care of target groups ranging from the micro to the macro levels (Miller et al., 2008). The employment of the model enhances the actualization and realization of the set action plans.
Another basis underpinning the choosing of the generalist model appears to be its employability in the management of dynamic systems. Systems are dynamic and are thus bound to change in character ranging from the client to environmental factors. The efficiency of any target intervention system, for the most part, lies in its ability to facilitate a relationship with the client system such that individuals remain open to discussing their issues without fear of vulnerability (Raeymaeckers, 2016). This aspect thus favored the consideration of the generalist model as the operational approach in social work practice. Additionally, the model allows the practitioners to sufficiently cover the essential steps of the interventional process. these steps include follow-up, termination, evaluation, implementation, planning, assessment, and engagement (Raeymaeckers, 2016). As such, the model enhances the realization of the purpose and goals of social work practice.
One advantage of the generalist model approach is the capability of the social work practitioners to handle complex issues. Unlike specialization which is mostly characterized by specialists’ inability to handle the commonly termed ‘wicked problems’ (Raeymaeckers, 2016). Additionally, generalist practice enables professionals to have a broad overview of the clients’ problems in their entirety. That is, generalist practitioners arguably possess a significant level of knowledge and skills outside a given specialty (Raeymaeckers, 2016). As such, they are in a better position to handle a cocktail of problems presented to them by an individual at ago. Clients attended to by generalist practitioners thus elicit higher levels of responsiveness to the target interventions employed (Raeymaeckers, 2016). Therefore, generalist practitioners could obtain an adequate assessment and follow-up of a single client with multiple problems given their capacity to handle such complex issues.
However, generalist practitioners may be disadvantaged given their broad scope of practice. Generalist social workers handle multiple problems at once and thus may have limited knowledge and skills in a specific area (Balandra, 2017). Clients with severe problems in a specific life domain may not really benefit from the services of a generalist practitioner. Consequently, generalist practitioners are bound to strain in an attempt to ensure that clients do not become overwhelmed to the extent of being vulnerable (Balandra, 2017). Additionally, the relative lack of role clarity characterized by generalist practice predisposes these social workers to challenges of exercising effective collaboration with specialist practitioners (Balandra, 2017). From this observation, it would be prudent to find the balance between generalist and specialist services to minimize such disadvantages.
Balandra, E. (2017). The Generalist Practice: Perceived Preparedness Among Social Workers Workers. Electronic Theses, Projects, and Dissertations, 513. https://scholarworks.lib.csusb.edu/etd/513.
Miller, S. E., Tice, C. J., & Hall, D. M. (2008). The Generalist Model: Where do the Micro and Macro Converge? Advances in Social Work, 9(2), 79-90. https://www.%3A%2F%2Fjournals.iupui.edu%2Findex.php%2Fadvancesinsocialwork%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F203%2F198%2F736&usg=AOvVaw21LW0gVd.
Raeymaeckers, P. (2016). A specialist’s perspective on the value of generalist practice: A qualitative network analysis. Journal of Social Work, 16(5), 610–626. DOI: 10.1177/1468017316644693.