Top positive review
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A concise, well-structured and realistic overview
on 8 May 2016
Now in its fourth edition, and set to become a classic introductory social work text, Neil Thompson's book gives a concise, well-structured and realistic overview of what social work can do at its best, and the obstacles and challenges to good practice. I particularly like the way he debunks the notion of theory-free practice, which leads to the routinisation, proceduralism and micro-management that currently beset all our public services - straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel, as it were. I also like his observation that, while issues of equality and diversity are important, a shallow understanding of both the issues and their wider contexts can lead to tokenistic practice, unwarranted assumptions and a failure to engage with clients as whole people, which can ultimately be very dangerous - I once had to advocate for a client who had both a mental health and a substance use problem, which neither team would take on because "it's not our responsibility", thus compounding his suffering because he had the temerity not to be able to tick the right box. While perhaps not as passionate and idealistic as Mark Doel, I find Thompson's approach provides a healthy dose of realism without betraying the values that make social work, despite its detractors, still a vitally needed profession.