Classic texts for a new generation of social workers

The Practical Social Work series is a long standing, trusted and well-known collection of books. 

The concept of the series was developed to fulfil a genuine professional need for a carefully planned, coherent series of textbooks that would contribute to practitioners’ skills, development and professionalism. 

The books seek to provide social work students, practitioners, lecturers and educators with reliable, contemporary practice guidance, underpinned by theory, policy and law. 

Feedback from many readers has confirmed that this is a trusted series with educational value. Many of the texts are considered ‘classics’ and they are all highly reliable resources, with broad appeal. The books are suitable not just for undergraduate social work students but also for practitioners returning to study at post-qualifying level and those simply wanting to refresh their thinking in practice. They offer an accessible entry point alongside sufficient depth so that readers to will continue to find insight beyond the first point of use.

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Ethics and Values in Social Work (5th Edition)

Author: Sarah Banks
Publication date: November 2020

With over 40,000 copies sold across its lifetime, this is social work classic from a leading international author. Synthesizing the complex ideas and concepts that characterize social work's value base, Sarah Banks expertly provides a clear and systematic account of professional ethics in relation to social work practice, framed within a global context. Ethics and Values in Social Work is co-published with the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and this fifth edition provides revised and updated analysis of professional regulation and codes of practice. 

 Written with Banks' trademark accessibility and theoretical rigour, this updated edition continues to be a relevant and invaluable resource for all students taking Ethics and Values modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as educators and practitioners of social work.

Available directly from Bloomsbury


Anti-Discriminatory Practice (7th Edition)

Author: Neil Thompson
Publication date: November 2020

Now going into its seventh edition, Neil Thompson's Anti-Discriminatory Practice has been providing a trusted introduction to the challenges of promoting social justice and equality for a quarter of a century. Addressing the common concepts and issues across the various forms of discrimination, this book explores the reasons why the development of anti-discriminatory practice is so vital, and examines the steps that need to be taken towards constructing a social work practice based on principles of anti-discrimination and the promotion of equality.

Promoting social justice, diversity and equality in social work practice is as vital today as it was when Anti-Discriminatory Practice was first published, and there is still much to learn.  Written with Thompson's inimitable clarity, this new, fully updated edition of a classic text is key reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of Social Work. Practitioners will also benefit hugely from Neil Thompson’s experience and expertise.

Available directly from Bloomsbury


Effective Practice with Looked After Children

Effective Practice with Looked After Children

Author: Robin Senn
Publication date: April 2018

Since the key developments that policy and research have undergone over the course of the past years, meeting the specific needs of looked after children is a priority for modern social work policy and practice. This comprehensive text combines an accessible overview of statutory policy and legislation with analysis of core theories and interventions to provide a guide for effective practice with children in all care settings by:
- Covering legislation as well as research-based analysis of the key interventions and practice methods in the field
- Meeting market needs: students and practitioners struggle with the dearth of specific material on looked after children - this text supports them in a core component of social work study and practice
- Consolidating learning through its use of reflective questions, case studies, exercises and research analysis

This book offers an accessible overview of the care context in Britain and is essential reading for students and practitioners wishing to develop effective practice within childcare.

Available directly from Bloomsbury


Social Work with Older People (5th edition)

Author: Mo G Ray & Judith Phillips
Publication date: March 2012

Revised to emphasise the current policy drive towards personalisation and service user participation in care management, the new edition of Social Work with Older People remains an insightful introductory text.

Deliberately taking a critical approach to guide readers to consider stereotypes of aging and work with older people, the new edition presents fundamental knowledge alongside thought-provoking and challenging debates. It offers a new chapter on safeguarding and has been updated to reflect current course requirements:

- Part I introduces the theory, policy and legislation which influences social work contexts
- Part II identifies core elements of practice, for effective interviewing, assessment, planning and intervention

Available directly from Bloomsbury


Practising Social Work Law (4th Edition)

Author: Suzy Braye & Michael Preston-Shoot
Publication date: May 2016

This fully revised fourth edition of a well-respected textbook seeks to build social workers' confidence in legal interpretation and implementation - practitioners must not only know the law; they must also have a critical appreciation of its implications for human rights, civil liberties and social justice. With a focus on promoting knowledge and skills in recognising, locating and articulating legal issues, it also demonstrates how the law can be used to inform practice standards and deliver positive outcomes for service users.

This is essential reading for Social Work Law modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Practitioners and educators will also find it an invaluable resource to guide them through a complex, yet vital, aspect of their work.

Available directly from Bloomsbury


Anti-Racist Social Work (4th Edition)

Anti-Racist Social Work

Author: Lena Dominelli
Publication date: October 2017

Fully revised and updated throughout, this fourth edition of Lena Dominelli’s influential book retains its reputation as the go-to text on anti-racist social work practice. As racism continues to present a problem in contemporary society: the growth of the Far Right, the rise of Islamophobia and the victory of the Brexit camp in the EU referendum, the need to address racist attitudes and behaviour that affect diverse groups of people in the UK remains an urgent one.

 A truly classic text, Anti-Racist Social Work has been providing students and practitioners with a comprehensive guide to the debates and practices on racism in contemporary society since 1988.

Available directly from Bloomsbury



Community Development, Social Action and Social Planning (5th Edition)

Community Development

Author: Alan Twelvetrees
Publication date: May 2017

Now going into its fifth edition, Alan Twelvetrees' invaluable guide to the theory and practice of community work has been educating students and practitioners alike for over three decades. Covering topics such as work with community groups, the various dimensions of social action and project planning and how to engage effectively with public bodies, this is a truly comprehensive must-read for community workers, as well as anyone keen to undertake effective work in the community.

Drawing on the author's wealth of experience, and benefiting from the grounded style of writing that has made the previous editions so popular, the book considers everyday community work situations to provide readers with a genuine feel for the realities of practice. This classic text is essential for anyone studying, working or just interested in community work, community regeneration and service planning.

Available directly from Bloomsbury



Psychology for Social Work Theory and Practice (4th edition)

Authors: Paula Nicolson and Rowan Bayne
Publication date: May 2014

This new edition from a trusted author team bridges the gap between psychological theory and social work practice. Revisited and re-structured to reflect the changing social work context, it provides an authoritative introduction to the key ideas, skills and research from psychology and highlights their role within effective social work practice.
Available directly from Bloomsbury



Reflective Social Work Practice

Authors: Richard Ingram, Jane Fenton, Ann Hodson and Divya Jindal-Snape
Publication date: March 2014

Social workers often have to make difficult decisions that are affected by their emotions, values and the relationships they have built. The ability to explore and critically analyse your work can help you understand and manage your own emotional needs, as well as support you with improving your social work skills and ensuring anti-oppressive practice. Offering an accessible and innovative guide to reflective practice, this book:

• Applies the principles of critical reflection to some of the most challenging aspects of the job; such as building relationships, undertaking assessments and making decisions about risk.

• Uses diary extracts, engaging case studies and reflective activities to provide a framework for applying reflection to your everyday practice.

Whether you are a student of social work or an experienced practitioner, this book will be your guide to understanding, developing and improving your social work practice.
Available directly from Bloomsbury


Social Work with Children

Authors: Gordon Jack and Helen Donnellan
Publication date: August 2013

When working with children to promote their welfare and safeguard them from harm, the best course of action is not always clear. Based on two of the most important organizing frameworks – human ecology and child development – Social Work with Children provides an invaluable guide for working with a wide range of children.

Divided into two parts, this book:

• Explores interactions between children's development, their relationships and the environments in which they are brought up, at different stages in their lives;

• Demonstrates how up-to-date legislation and policy across the UK shapes practice with different groups of children;

• Considers the expectations and requirements of social workers, and how this influences the development of professional identity;

• Encourages readers to reflect on their own skills, knowledge and experience by providing practice pointers throughout.

This is an outstandingly clear and comprehensive guide to social work with children for students and practitioners in the field.
Available directly from Bloomsbury



Social Work Practice (5th edition)

Authors: Veronica Coulshed and Joan Orme
Publication date: March 2012

Having sold over 75,000 copies across its four editions, Social Work Practice remains a trusted text for all students and practitioners. It offers essential introductory guidance for all areas of study and provides the fundamentals for understanding skills, processes and contexts of social work. 

This comprehensive text is divided into three easily navigable parts:
  • Part I guides you through the social work process, detailing each stage and offering a new chapter on reflection;
  • Part II introduces key methods of intervention, encompassing a broad range of theories and approaches, including new material on strengths based approaches and solution focused practice;
  • Part III identifies the variety of contexts in which social work takes place, with individuals (both children and adults), groups and communities.xx

Available directly from Bloomsbury


Social Work with Disabled People (4th Edition)

Authors: Michael Oliver, Bob Sapey and Pam Thomas
Publication date: March 2012

Having gone through 30 years of development, the new edition of this highly-regarded classic is the most trusted companion for understanding and promoting the potential for social work with disabled people. It offers readers a clear introduction to the core issues of disability alongside discussion and assessment of the social worker's role.

Written by an experienced and highly respected team of authors, the book reflects:
  • the latest updates, developments and policy changes
  • the broad range of areas needing to be understood for informed practice
  • recent changes to the focus of social work education and practice
  • the Social Model of Disability, encouraging debate about its role in social work
  • developments for independent living
  • the heightened importance of safeguarding issues, giving attention to the topical issue of disabilist hate crime.
Available directly from Bloomsbury

Working with Abused Children (4th Edition)

Author: Celia Doyle
Publication date: March 2012

Working with abused children is a demanding and emotionally charged area of practice in which practitioners must balance sensitivity with statutory obligation. This thoroughly updated new edition emphasises the need for a central focus on the child and their perspectives, to ensure safe and effective work with children and their families.

Opening with the foundations of good practice, the book goes on to capture the perspectives of children through moving first-hand accounts from abuse survivors. Woven through with frank narratives from the author’s own practice experience, it discusses the importance of assessment and explores interventions through individual, family and group work.

Keeping the voice of the child at its heart, this edition features:
  • all-new chapters on transitions from childhood to adulthood, and on the emotional impact for practitioners in the field, including coping strategies and practice guidance
  • new perspectives on practice within the context of current policy, including the Every Child Matters legacy and the Munro Review
  • a range of supportive features, such as points for reflection, practice examples and further reading resources
Available directly from Bloomsbury



Social Approaches to Mental Distress

Author: Jerry Tew
Publication date: February 2011

Over-reliance on biological models in mental health practice has resulted in growing discontent from practitioners and service users, who know that social factors also have a major impact on people's mental health. Social approaches enable practitioners to promote recovery in ways that move beyond the limitations of biomedical treatments.

Championing a range of innovative approaches, this timely book offers a holistic model for understanding and responding to mental distress. It places mental health within its broader social context, encouraging engagement with not just the person experiencing mental distress, but also their family and wider social world.

Drawing on relevant theory and research evidence, the author:
• Considers the inter-relationships between social circumstances, life events and mental distress;
• Explores the roots of mental distress and its perpetuating factors;
• Provides a toolkit for assessment and action planning within the social context;
• Advocates recovery-oriented practice, based on emancipatory values, social participation and positive risk-taking.
A welcome new addition to the BASW Practical Social Work series, Social Approaches to Mental Distress is a core text for students and practitioners of social work and other mental health disciplines. It is also insightful reading for anyone whose own life has been affected by mental health difficulties.
Available directly from Bloomsbury


Youth Work Practice

Edited by: Tony Jeffs & Mark K Smith
Publication date: January 2010

In a clear conversational style, the text analyses the many aspects of youth work, including activities, group life, making conversation and mentoring, alongside practical guidance to advise on working with today’s young people.

Jeffs and Smith’s previous book, Youth Work (1988), was a seminal text on working with young people. This successor text, Youth
Work Practice is its equal in providing an intriguing update for all those studying or working with young people.

Available directly from Bloomsbury


Decision Making in Social Work (2nd Edition)


Author: Terence O'Sullivan
Publication date: November 2010

At a time when accountability and the avoidance of risk are increasingly demanded of social work practitioners, the ability to make clear and reasoned professional decisions is essential. This welcome new edition provides a supportive framework for making social work judgements and assessments based on a structured and practical approach.

Assessing the social, organizational and psychological backdrops which frame all decisions, this timely text explores:
■ the key principles and goals which inform decision making
■ the pressures of making decisions within interprofessional settings
■ reflexive approaches to analysis, decision making and outcome evaluation
■ the complex relationship between sound decisions and the attainment of planned outcomes
Woven through with practice scenarios applicable to the many facets of social work, this text emphasizes the importance of good decision making to high-quality social work practice. Reassuringly clear throughout, this new addition to the BASW Practical Social Work series is core reading for all involved in the field of social work, whether as students, academics, practitioners or managers.
Available directly from Bloomsbury



Communication in Social Work (2nd Edition)

Author: Joyce Lishman
Publication date: March 2009

Effective communication is a vital part of the social worker’s job. This welcome new edition of a classic text provides students and practitioners with essential advice and guidance about communicating and interacting in a range of social work settings.

Based on the author’s extensive personal and teaching experience, the text offers a succint introduction to a variety of communication techniques, including symbolic, non-verbal, verbal, written and electronic forms of communication. Importantly, it discusses the perspectives of service users and explores their experiences and interpretations of how a social worker looks, acts and speaks, thus giving a real insight into the implicit messages being conveyed.

New to this edition are Putting it into Practice activities and further reading suggestions, designed to support learning and understanding and to enable readers to reflect critically for practice.

Written in an appealing narrative style that cannot fail to draw the reader in, Communication in Social Work is an engaging and comprehensive book suitable both for social work and social care students and for newly qualified practitioners wanting to refresh their thinking and skills.

Available directly from Bloomsbury


Social Work Practice and Intellectual Disability

Working to Support Change

Authors: Christine Bigby and Patsie Frawley
Publication date: October 2009

Read this book to gain an understanding of the knowledge, values and skills required for effective practice in the field of intellectual disability and the opportunities which this work offers for multidisciplinary collaboration for social change.

Social Work Practice and Intellectual Disability identifies and discusses:
■ the changing definitions of intellectual disability, also called 'learning disability'
■ the theory and practice of working with people with intellectual disabilities and their families
■ the core tasks of assessment, planning, monitoring and review
■ the values of participation and inclusion in action

Illustrated with numerous case studies, discussion points and clear explanations, this addition to the Practical Social Work Series is an indispensable resource. It is ideally suited both for the continued professional development of qualified practitioners, and for pre-qualifying students new to the area.
Available directly from Bloomsbury


Empowerment, Participation and Social Work

Author: Robert Adams
Publication date: March 2008

Now in its fourth edition this book continues to offer in-depth coverage spanning both conceptual debates about empowerment and a range of practice issues. The clarity and accessibility, as well as new examples reflecting varied global contexts and material on empowering children and adults, make it an essential resource at all levels of study.
Available directly from Bloomsbury


Effective Groupwork (2nd Edition)

Effective Groupwork

Author: Michael Preston-Shoot
Publication date: March 2007

This book is an essential introduction to the values, knowledge and skills required for working with different groups in different social work and social care settings. Accessible and comprehensive, it will be invaluable for students and practitioners in social work and the caring professions wanting to learn more about this key practice technique.

‘Clearly written, this text is useful to students, managers, and practitioners alike – and not just those in social work, but in any other “people-orientated” professions.’ – Lynda Hassall, Community Carex

Available directly from Bloomsbury


Management in Social Work (3rd Edition)

Authors: Veronica Coulshed, Audrey Mullender, David N. Jones, Neil Thompson
Publication date: March 2006

All social workers are required to manage and be accountable. The third edition of this classic book explores what is an area of rapid change that is central to professional practice. This new edition has been brought right up-to-date to meet the needs of today’s social work practitioners and service managers by discussing legislation, policy and procedure in light of central government’s modernising agenda for social work. The authors show how management theory is moving towards a more open and cooperative model and demonstrate that it can serve an agenda of empowerment, equipping social workers to question procedures, shape policy and improve services.

Available directly from Bloomsbury