Social Work Conflict Theories

A common difficulty for social workers is developing a positive social worker-client relationship. Clients are often at a vulnerable place in their lives—and this affects engagement with the social worker. For example, a parent who faces the removal of their child from their home might come into the relationship with the social worker with feelings of anger, hostility, and/or resentment. The social worker then might use terms like resistant and reluctant to describe their client. Conflict theory can help explain the social worker-client relationship in just such a scenario.

For this Assignment, imagine that you are the director of a social work agency. To better understand engagement in a child welfare context, you initiate a study on both social worker and client views about engagement. To interpret the findings, you use conflict theory to frame the understanding of the social worker-client relationship.

To prepare:

Review the following article listed in the Learning Resources:”Engaging Families in Child Welfare Services: Worker Versus Client Perspectives by Altman.

By Day 7

Submit a 2- to 3-page paper that succinctly addresses the following:

  • Summarize conflict theory in 3–4 sentences.
  • Interpret the research article findings about communication using conflict theory.
    • In other words, how might a client’s desire be understood within the context of conflict theory?
  • Interpret the research article findings about the relationship between social workers and parents within the context of conflict theory.
    • For example, what might be a barrier to social workers being empathic and supportive from the perspective of conflict theory?
  • In 3–4 sentences, explain how you would reframe the term compliance or resistance using conflict theory.
  • In reviewing the research article findings, analyze the goals and values of each party (i.e., the social worker and the parent) as they enter into the relationship. Provide 3–4 sentences for each party.
  • Using conflict theory to inform social work practice interventions on either the micro, meso, and/or macro levels, describe two recommendations to improve the social worker-client relationship within the context of child welfare based on the knowledge you gained from the research article. Provide 2–3 sentences for each recommendation.
  • Provide a 2–3 sentence concluding statement about the relationship between conflict theory and social work practice/interventions.

Submission and Grading Information

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

  • Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK6Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.
  • Click the Week 6 Assignment Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
  • Click the Week 6 Assignment link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.
  • Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK6Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.
  • If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.
  • Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.
Grading Criteria

Required Readings

Robbins, S. P., Chatterjee, P., Canda, E. R., & Leibowitz, G. S. (2019). Contemporary human behavior theory: A critical perspective for social work (4th ed.). Pearson.
Chapter 3, “Conflict Theories”
Chapter 7, “Psychodynamic Theory”
Chapter 14, “Application of Theories” (Note: Focus on the information in this chapter that is related to psychodynamic theory and conflict theories.)

Altman, J. C. (2008). Engaging families in child welfare services: Worker versus client perspectives. Child Welfare, 87(3), 41–61. 

Walden University Writing Center. (2020). Scholarly voice: Avoiding bias.

Walden University Writing Center. (2020). Writing a paper: Thesis statements.

Required Media

Walden University. (2018). Research foundations to dissertation: Dr. Sean Hogan [Video]. Walden University Blackboard.
Note: Click on this link to access the landing page for the research foundations videos, and then watch the video “Sean Hogan, PhD.” The approximate length of this media piece is 5 minutes.

Optional Resources

Herbert, G. L., McCormack, V., & Callahan, J. L. (2010). An investigation of the object relations theory of depression. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 27(2), 219–234.

Choi, K.-M., & Kim, C. (2012). Psychodynamic approaches from transcultural perspectives in working with Korean American women. Families in Society, 93(4), 279–286.

Ishikawa, H., Hashimoto, H., & Kiuchi, T. (2013). The evolving concept of “patient-centeredness” in patient-physician communication research. Social Science and Medicine, 96, 147–153.

Leighton, K. (2004). Anglo-American nursing theory, individualism and mental health care: A social conflict perspective. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 41(1), 21–28.

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