BOOK REVIEW: System social work with men
System social work, men and addiction
“Social Work Practice with Men at Risk” is a thorough look at how to treat the unique demographic of males in our society when working in social services. What I like about this book is that it is both informed AND practical. The author, Rich Furman, offers references of modern studies PLUS case studies so that you can role-play or consider how to apply the theories laid out in the book.
Social work theories
Furman particularly believes that social workers have a responsibility to help improve lives on micro (individual), mezzo (family) and macro (society) levels. And in order to achieve this, he offers a few models for assisting men according to their own personal needs, which may be driven class, ethnicity and problems that they are facing. These include:
* Cognitive therapy
* Narrative therapy
* Existential therapy
* Strengths perspective
How social services can help male addicts
Furman also spend times and dedicates an entire chapter to defining major addictions and treatments of today’s men. Although I find this section to be rather basic (it didn’t teach me anything I didn’t already know), it does offer alternatives to 12-step recovery programs, such as SMART and Rational Recovery. Which I think is rather balls-y and risky. He also makes the scientifically or politically correct distinction between addiction (drug and alcohol) and compulsive behaviors (sex and gambling), which I think is rather par for the course. But I WOULD like to see more academics increasingly support the disease-model for behavior based behaviors. Perhaps this is because I believe addiction to be driven by spiritual and emotional needs, rather than physical dependence. Just my opinion.
Social work case studies
Perhaps the most practical and informing aspect of the book are the real-life case studies that Furman provides for practice. Each case study is highly applicable to the social parameters, limitations and challenges faces by today’s modern. Case studies are accompanied by reflection and writing points.
The book delivers
In the end, the success of any working guide is that it provides what is promises. “Social Work Practice with Men at Risk” does just that. Rich Furman, he defines the modern environment of men, their problems and then offers intervention techniques that can be immediately applied by any thoughtful social services professional. A good guide for any social worker practicing the discipline with men.
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