10 Things the Public Does Not Know About Social Work

By Marisa Bordowitz

  1. There are many theories involved in social work – most, if not all, of which have their roots either in psychology, sociology, political science, and education. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 30)
  2. One of these theories is called the ecological systems framework. This entails examining every system in an individual’s life and considering potential interventions for at least one of these systems. It assesses a person as someone evolving and reacting to networks. (Vassello, J.D., 2016).giphy.gif
  3. Social workers also invest in a theory called the strengths perspective. The strengths perspective suggests that all people have strengths glazed over by the powers that be. A social worker will help develop individual’s realm of strength in hopes to inspire wise progression and positive changes. In essence, they work towards augmenting competence or capacity. (Vassello, J.D., 2016). Hercules.gif
  4. Which profession do you surmise provides the most mental health services? If you answered “social workers!”, you’d be correct. Social workers issue more mental health services than “psychologists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses combined”.(General Facts About Social Work, 2007)
  5. I formerly thought that most, though not all social workers were employed by the government. Apparently that is a common misconception. 67 % of licensed social workers are appoited in the private sector – or a part of the national economy not supervised by the government. 17 % of social workers are also in private practices.(DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 26)
  6.  On average, most Master of Social Work students are women! (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 18).giphy-5.gif
  7. Social workers have more responsibilities than you’re probably aware. They must be culturally accepting, with a broad understanding of ageism, classicism, racism and other ranges of latent and blatant discrimination (an example of latent discrimination being micro-aggressions and blatant being direct oppression). (Vassello, J.D., 2016). giphy-4.gif
  8. To become a licensed master or clinical social worker (LMSW, LCSW), there are a series of requirements. Aside from necessary application, examinations, fees, etc, the department must consider the prospect of “good moral character”.  (Education Law, 2010).giphy-2.gif
  9. Social workers have a broad scope! They are located in “hospitals, police departments, mental health clinics, military facilities, and corporations.”(General Facts About Social Work, 2007).
  10. Social workers do not help people. They “help people help themselves”.  (Vassello, J.D., 2016). giphy.gif


DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession. Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.

Education Law Article 154, Social Work (2010).  http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/sw/article154.htm

General Facts About Social Work (2007). http://www.naswdc.org/pressroom/swMonth/2007/facts1.asp

Social Work History (n.d). http://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/features/general/history.asp?

9 Things That Make Social Work Unique by Bradlee Vasquez

1. It deviates from traditional forms of practice!

Social work shifts from traditional forms of practice such that it incorporates a strength based approach that focuses on building on the strengths and resources clients already possess rather than focusing solely on their problems (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 46)

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2. It is a MIXY profession! Incorporating ideas from various disciplines!

Social Work incorporates theories from multiple disciplines including psychology, sociology, political science & education, allowing for social workers to assume a wide array of perspectives in order to provide the best quality of care for their clients (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 30)

3. Social Workers Are Not Fixers!

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Following a strength-based perspective, there is a clear distinction between being a “fixer” and being a social worker. Social workers are not about fixing things, they are not the fixer or prescriber but rather the person who helps clients put everything together, process it, make decisions, and take action (LeCroy, 2012 p. 9).

4. They are quite different from psychologists.

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Social Workers and Psychologists often work together as part of a team & share similar tasks in what they do. However, they differ in some aspects. Psychologists are primarily interested in understanding the human mind and behavior, while social workers are more interested in the social functioning of the individual. Social workers focus more on the individual’s relationships with others in their surrounding environment and how they can best use the resources available to them to meet their needs. (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 10-11)

5. They can work in numerous settings with various populations!

The practice of social work stretches across numerous settings. Social workers can work in hospitals, schools, prisons, private practices, mental health clinics, senior centers, youth centers, camps, and in many other agencies with diverse populations including but limited to (youth, seniors, children, LGBTQ persons, single mothers, veterans, married couples, & homeless folks) (Class Lecture, 1/28/16)

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6. Social workers have a more holistic view of the individual

Counselors and Social workers in direct practice provide similar services. However, they differ from social workers in an important way. Counselors emphasize the establishment of a relationship with their clients as the primary means of helping clients change while social workers take this into consideration as well as the importance of opportunities for change in the client’s external environment. Social workers are more likely to go to the clients home to complete assessments and provide assistance to the family (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 12)

7. Social workers make up the largest group of mental health providers

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), professional social workers are the nation’s largest group of mental health services providers. There are more clinically trained social workers—over 200,000—than psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric nurses combined. Federal law and the National Institutes of Health recognize social work as one of five core mental health professions (NASW Website, 2016)

8. Social workers are able to further enhance their education allowing them to perform different functions

Depending on one’s level of education, social workers are able to take on numerous responsibilities/tasks to assist individuals, families, and communities in restoring or enhancing their capacity for social functioning (online). Social workers with a BSW are able to conduct generalist practice which includes knowing how to engage clients, assess a client’s needs, develop a plan to help, implement the plan and evaluate the effectiveness of the plan. Social workers with an MSW are expected to perform more complex tasks known as advanced generalist social work, which include but are not limited to conducting mental health or substance abuse counseling, working as a school social worker on a public campus, and providing marriage and family therapy. (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 31)

9. Social workers have the opportunity to make an impact on a individual, local, & national level! 

Social workers not only help to eradicate problems on an individual level, known as micro-level practice, which consists of face-to-face intervention efforts, but they are also able to use advocacy and other indirect methods to achieve community, state, and national change known as Mezzo-level (community work) and Macro-level (state and national interventions) (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 10)


DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books

LeCroy, C.W. (2012).  The Call to Social Work: Life Stories. (2nd edition).  Sage.

National Association of Social Work (2016, January 30th) . Social Work Profession. Retrieved from






7 Things the Public May Not Know About Social Work

  1. They get around!

Many different practices within the field of social work require that social workers be able to travel from place to place, doing their job in various settings.  Depending on their specific practice, social workers may find themselves in environments such as offices, hospitals, homes, etc. (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 1-4)


  1. There are a lot of them!

“According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2001) over 826,000 U.S. citizens call their occupation social work, which is more people than the population of Alaska, Delaware, North or South Dakota, or Wyoming.”  (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 4)


  1. Wait, it deals with what now?

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Many people realize that social work encompasses disciplines like psychology and sociology, but may not realize that it can also delve into subjects like nursing or public administration. (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 10-14)


  1. This is NOT a man’s world!

Women make up a majority of the social workers in the United States, accounting for 83% of the work force and 70% of all awarded doctorate degrees. (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 18-19)


  1. Ironic racial “diversity”

For a group of people that see themselves as agents for change, social workers are mostly Caucasian.  According to “Racial/ethnic distribution of active licensed social workers and the U.S. population, 2004” the workforce is composed of 86% white or non-hispanic people, despite the fact that they only make up 68% of the United States population. Nearly every minority group depicted in the figure seems to be misrepresented in the workforce. (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 23-24)


  1. Are Social Workers getting worse?

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It’s been suggested that due to the critical need for a larger workforce, many states and schools have begun implementing “low-quality programs at all degree levels, resulting in a surplus of social workers and educators of dubious competence, and a reduction in social work salaries to levels that cause some of the best and brightest to leave the profession.” (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 26)


  1. They’re “jack’s of all trades”

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Social workers must understand several theories and their respective practices, as well as being able to use the appropriate ones in a given situation.  There are 6 theories that are taught universally throught social work programs, but far more that are used across the country. (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 31-32)



DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a
challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books

10 Things the Public Does Not Know About Social Work!

By: Mindy Barnes

Here is a list of 10 interesting facts the public does not know can’t wait to learn about social work!! (With assistance from SpongeBob Squarepants because, why not?).

1. Let’s start with some interesting figures. There are roughly 826, 000 social workers in the United States. To put this into perspective, that is more than, “the population of Alaska, Delaware, North or South Dakota, or Wyoming.” What?!! (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 4)

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2. But if you are thinking about going into the social work profession, don’t let these numbers deter you. Even though hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. are currently in the social work profession, there is going to be a huge increase in the need for social workers. Employment in the field of social work is predicted to increase much faster than average for all occupations, mostly due to an aging population of social workers facing retirement. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 26)

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3. Let’s talk salary. Social workers make roughly between $21,270 (lowest 10%) and $54,250 (top 10%), depending on their position and where they reside. But if you are that worried about the $$, maybe social work isn’t for you. I mean, it’s really all about spreading the love, isn’t it? (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 24)

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4. While social workers may get a bad rap in the media, according to the 1995 Consumer Reports study social workers rank as just as effective or better at treating mental disorders as clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, family therapists, and primary-care physicians. Woot, Woot! (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 25)

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5. It is also a common misguided notion that all, or most, social workers work in government agencies. On the contrary, “67% of licensed social workers are now employed in the private sector, and 17 percent of them are self-employed (National Association of Social Workers, 2006)”. Mind = blown. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 26)

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6. In fact, take a look at some of the areas where social workers can be found: schools, nursing homes, hospitals, private practice, community organizations, etc., etc.. Social workers are everywhere. Next stop…world peace! Muahaha! (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 18)

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7. Social work has actually been recognized as one of the five core mental health professions (by federal law!) (Lecture, 1/28/16). The other four core professions include: psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, psychiatric nurse specialists, and marriage and family therapists. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Guidelines for Mental Health HPSA Designation)

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8. Although diversity is an important theme in social work, it is unfortunate that student demographics are not very diverse. Roughly 83% of MSW students are women and only 31% of those enrolled full-time are students of color. Can we fix this, please? Let’s hear it for diversity! (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 18)

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9. Not all social workers have an MSW (Master’s of Social Work). Social work professionals can also have a BSW (Bachelor’s of Social Work) or a PhD. Those who obtain a PhD usually specialize in conducting research, or become teachers. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 17-19)

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10. It is often a misconception that all, or most, human services professionals are social workers. However, in order to be given the title “social worker”, an individual has to: graduate from an approved program, pass at least one license exam, possess good moral character, be over the age of 21, fill out an application and pay a fee, and for an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) have at least 3 years of approved, supervised experience. Qualified much? (Lecture, 1/28/16)

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Now that you know a little bit more about the social work profession, do you think you have what it takes to be a social worker? Help spread the joy!

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DiNitto, D. M., and McNeece, C. A. (2008) Social Work: Issues and Opportunities in a  Challenging Profession. Chicago: Lyceum.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Guidelines for Mental Health HPSA Designation. Washington, D.C: U.S. (http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/shortage/hpsas/designationcriteria/mentalhealthhpsaguidelines.html).

7 Facts You’ve GOT to see about Social Work


Psychologists and Social workers are a lot like Eyebrows: sisters, not twins (DiNitto&McNeece, 2008, P.11)

While a lot of the duties overlap for these two professions, they are not identical in material. Psychologists focus on the behavior of a client predominately, and social workers look to deal with social functioning and interaction primarily.



Learning is love: What education provides (DiNitto& McNeece, 2008 P.15)

“If you select social work as a major, you will study the following subjects: social work values and ethics, human diversity, social and economic justice, populations at risk, human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policies and services, social work practices research and field education.”



Alphabet Soup Social Work Style: The Breakdown of Acronyms. (DiNitto& McNeece, 2008 Pg 18)

MSW= Masters of Social Work

LCSW= Licensed Clinical Social Worker

BSW= Bachelors of Social Work

DSW= Doctor of Social Work


Alphabet Soup 

Transactions and Adaptions: How Environment impacts clients. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008 Pg 35)

From the ecological perspective, one can see that two people who come from the same culture and from similar family values will not always have the same life experience: who they interact with in a social environment makes a huge difference.

Tina Belcher

LCSW vs LMSW (Class Lecture 1/28/16)

The differentiating factor between the two positions is that LCSWs require 3 years of supervision from either another LCSW, Psychiatrist, or Psychologist, and are able to diagnose disorders in clients and create assessment based treatment plans.



Requirements to be an LMSW (Class Lecture 1/28/16)

Requirements to be an LMSW are filing an application, having a MSW from an accredited program, passing an exam, being at least 21 years old, being of good moral character, and paying a fee.

Good Moral Character


Education Never Ends: Continue Ed in Social Work (Education Law, 2010)

Both LMSWs and LCSWs are required to start continuing education after 3 years of obtaining their license. They are required after that point to have up to 36 continuing credit hours per 3 years.

Continuing Education

Seven Specifics on Social Work by Gilda Goldental-Stoecker

1. Social workers provide more mental health services than psycologists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses combined. They are the United States’ largest provider of mental health cae. (Class notes 1/28/2016)


2. More than 600,000 people in the United States hold social work degrees, including 2 senators and 7 U.S. Representatives. (Class notes 1/28/2016)


3. In order to be a professional Social Worker in New York State, one must attend a CSWE approved program, take a licensing exam, have no criminal history, pay an application fee, and log relevant supervision hours (like internships) in diagnosis, assessment, and psychotherapy (Class notes 1/28/2016)


4. The different education levels Social Workers often have are BSW, MSW, PhD, and DSW. The CSWE specifies courses, internships, and programs to be accredited. (Class notes 1/28/2016)


5. 40% of disaster mental health volunteers trained by the Red Cross are Social Workers by profession. (Class notes 1/28/2016)

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6. In New York State there are 3 distinct licensures: Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Clinical Social Worker- Reimbursed (LCSW-R). (Class notes 1/28/2016)

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7. There are issues in title protection because human service practitioners are often referred to as Social Workers even though they are not. (Class notes 1/28/2016)200-5

Ten Things the Public doesn’t know about Social Work – Valerie Protass



  1. Social work is the professional activity of helping individuals, groups, and communities to improve social functioning (DiNitto&McNeece, 2008, p 4).


  1. Mary Richmond’s work was essential to the field of social work, as she began by visiting impoverished people in their homes called ‘friendly visits’ in order to analyze their environment and improve their lives. Her texts became key to the profession of social work as she worked to formalize social work education and strengthen the profession as a whole (DiNitto&McNeece, 2008, p 4).


  1. Social work uses the strengths perspective, which is an approach that encourages social workers to look at the strengths and resources that clients have in order to solve problems. Often times instead of looking at what is wrong, social workers will focus on what is right and try to fix problems based on these strengths (John, Blackboard).


  1. Social workers empower those they work with- they do not give answers to those they encounter but help people find their own solutions to issues, as they provide guidance (John, blackboard).



  1. Social work emphasizes social justice which refers to the idea that all people, regardless of varying factors such as age, gender, race, and more should receive equal rights, opportunities, and benefits (DiNitto&McNeece, 2008, p 10)


  1. The estimated median annual social work salary is $47,689 (DiNitto&McNeece, 2008, p 24)


  1. Recent trends in the profession of social work show an increase in the number of jobs and schools of social work as well as an increase in privatization (DiNitto&McNeece, 2008, p 25)
  2. What is incredibly unique of social work is the use of the relationship to solve problems. Not only do social workers strive for positive connections and compassion for all clients, but they look for solutions through the context of the different relationships clients have (John, Blackboard).
  3. Social work has been tied to an altruistic desire to help others. Being agents of change to clients is a key factor that motivates professional social workers to do their job everyday (DiNitto&McNeece, 2008, p 4)


  1. The values that social workers must possess are key to the ethics of the profession. The three core values for ethical practice are the right to self-determination, social justice, and the dignity and self worth of the individual. Using these values, social workers are able to value all individuals and help clients reach their full potential. (DiNitto&McNeece, 2008, p 15)



DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession. Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.


10 Things The Public Might Not Know About Social Workers

(1) The reason many social workers choose this profession is because of an altruistic desire to help others. This altruistic desire has also been referred to as a survival impulse, because one responsibility of a social worker is to help people survive hard times (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 4).


(2) Social Workers are more interested in changing an individuals environment than the individuals beliefs or behaviors (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 11).


(3) Social workers who enter master’s programs have the opportunity to select a concentration or track of study (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 18).


(4) Although it is unusual for social workers to obtain their doctoral degrees, it does happen (Class notes 12/28/16).


(5) Students wishing to get their social work license have to be at least 21 years old in New York State (Class notes 12/28/16).


(6) Jane Adams is considered to be one of the founders of social work (Class Notes 12/28/16).


(7) Social workers need to be able to help their client in all the different environments the client has to interact with on a daily basis. This is know as intersectionality (Class notes 12/18/16).


(8) 40% of red cross mental health workers are considered to be social workers (Class notes 12/28/16).


(9) According to a national survey of social workers with at least a bachelor degree, the annual salary is $47,689. However, 25% of social workers earn $60,000 or more annually. How much a social workers earns depends on their academic and practice credentials, where they live, and their specific job title (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 24).


(10) Luckily for those hoping to choose social work as their profession, there has been an increase in the number of jobs and schools available to social workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that social work employment will increase faster on average for all occupations (DeNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 25-26).



DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession. Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.

Power Point from Class on Thursday 12/28/16.

10 Things the Public Doesn’t Know About Social Workers

As told by Parks and Recreation

By: Eliza Adler


  1. Social workers can be employed in many settings, including hospitals, schools, and charity organizations. (DiNitto&McNeese, 2008. Page 1-3.)


  1. They aren’t baby snatchers! Social workers who are employed with Child Protective Services, or CPS, aim to provide a safe environment for children and counsel families. (ofcs.ny.gov)


  1. The majority of social workers are female! In fact, about 83% of students enrolled in social work Masters programs are female. (DiNitto&McNeese, 2008. Page 18).


  1. Social workers follow many guidelines concerning their values and ethics. They have to be in good moral standing to be licensed. Their education studies values heavily to make sure candidates are right for the line of work. (DiNitto&McNeese, 2008. Page 15.)


  1. Most social workers love their jobs! They chose the profession because they care. They are likely to describe their lives as exciting and have a positive self-image. (DiNitto&McNeese, 2008. Page 25).


  1. Social workers make, on average, about $45,000 per year (according to a national survey of social workers). The lowest 10% make under $25,000 per year and 25% make over $60,000.


  1. Social workers are different than counselors or therapists. Counselors focus more on a relationship with their patient, whereas social workers focus on changing the external factors in a patient’s life. (DiNitto&McNeese, 2008. Page 12.)


9. The social work field aims to help at-risk populations. They have a focus on social justice, and want everyone’s rights to be equal. (DiNitto&McNeese, 2008. Page 16)


  1. The social work job market is expanding! This is likely caused by demographic changes as a large population in the US ages and many social workers retire. So, students, this is good news for you! (DiNitto&McNeese, 2008. Page 26).




10 Things the Public Does Not Know About Social Workers! Kristen Mulvena

  1. Case Managers and Social Workers are not the same:
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    Most case managers only hold a bachelor’s of social work (BSW) and a licensed social worker holds a master of social work (MSW) (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008).
  2. In New York State, there are three different titles an MSW can hold:
    LMSW: Licensed Master of Social Work
    LCSW: Licensed Clinical Social Worker
    LCSW-R: Licensed Clinical Social Worker with Psychotherapy Designation
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    They each come with different privileges and abilities, and each takes a different amount of work and/or supervision; all require applications, to pass an exam, and cost a fee (Education Law, 2010).
  3. Social Workers are held to a standard code of ethics set by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) that delineates what professional standards all professional social workers must abide by – or face removal of their license. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008).
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  4. Social workers are not baby-snatchers! Most CPS workers are BSWs, and MSW Social workers can be found in a variety of settings, including inpatient and outpatient clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and schools – they help people of all ages and during all stages of life (General Facts About Social Work, 2007).
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  5. A large majority of MSW students are women; they comprise almost 82% of all MSW programs (DiNitto & McNeese, 2008 p. 18).
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  6. Social Work has existed in a variety of forms in America since before the Civil War. Dorothea Dix was an advocate for better mental health care back in the 1800s, and the debate she stirred on the federal level led to an area of mental health institutional reform on state and local levels (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 6).
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  7. Jane Addams, considered a social work pioneer, was one of the first women to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 (Social Work History, n.d).
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  8. Social Work is influenced by a number of sister professions, including psychology, sociology, and psychiatry (DiNitto & McNeese, 2008, p. 10-13).
  9. Social Workers employ a variety of tactics to help counsel their clients, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Task Centered Theory, and the Strengths Based Approach (DiNitto & McNeese, 2008, p. 44-48).
  10. the Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting that Social Work is one of the fastest growing professions due to increased need for their services in schools, substance abuse clinics, home healthcare agencies, and private social service agencies. (General Facts About Social Work, 2007).
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DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession. Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.

Education Law Article 154, Social Work (2010). Retrieved from: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/sw/article154.htm

General Facts About Social Work (2007). Retrieved from: http://www.naswdc.org/pressroom/swMonth/2007/facts1.asp

Social Work History (n.d). Retrieved from: http://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/features/general/history.asp?