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I had been intending to write a few ‘book reviews’ of books I had come across over the past few weeks/months and had never got round to it but when I noted (thanks to a librarian sister) that today is ‘World Book Day’ – I thought it would be a good place to try a few things together.
Due to time limitations I’m not going to go for the ‘full review’ mode but rather a few books that I, personally, have found helpful as a part of various course work and j ust general reading I have been doing in the field of social work and mental health.
I doubt there is a social worker or social work student in the country that hasn’t come across and learnt to use and love Malcolm Payne’s ‘Modern Social Work Theory’. There have been a few updates since the copy I used when I qualified but I actually reinvested in the most recent edition a couple of years back. It remains as ever, the solid base for introductions to theories and the meshing between theory and practice. I am well pleased with it and it remains one of the most used books that I have when wanting to refer – but I doubt I’m sharing any ‘new’ information on that one as I expect it is on the reading list of every course in the UK!
On a slightly different note, I’ve found David Howe’s ‘Brief Introduction to Social Work Theory’ a little easier on the brain and very good at doing what it says it does – namely providing a brief introduction!
Another book that I’ve used and bought about three times (due to various copies being outdated/lost/nicked) is Assessment in Social Work. I find that it is provides some good ways of providing links between practice and theory.
More particularly, one of the few books I bought after reading up through it and renewing it over and over at the library was The Strengths Perspective in Social Work by Saleebey. Actually, it’s the only book I won’t take into work for fear of it being ‘picked up’! Mainly because it’s out of print and I had to source it from the US at no small fee – BUT – it is commonly available in libraries and really helped me in a practical way and has definitely affected the way I work – if anyone is doubtful about practical renditions of theoretical knowledge, it is absolutely priceless – in my opinion. I go back to it frequently.
No need really to mention the ‘bible’ which is issued to all practising AMHPs – the Mental Health Act Manual in its various iterations.
It really is indispensible and remains fixed on my desk at work and used with frequency, along with the codes of practice for the Mental Health Act, the Mental Capacity Act and the separate DoLs Code of Practice. Noone bothers trying to nick those ones!
It is also provided by our local authority so there is no purchasing decision to be made. I wouldn’t spend that much on a book otherwise!
I did however, buy the Blackstone’s Guide to the Mental Capacity Act when I was doing my BIA (Best Interests Assessor) Training as there was a delay in providing updated copies of the Mental Capacity Act Manual. I like it – in some ways it is more logically presented that Jones but I wouldn’t buy a copy again as I expect to be provided with updated versions by my employers! However, if you were to have a choice in a library, I’d possibly go for Blackstone’s again. Jones is seen very much as seminal though and you are somewhat ‘out of the loop’ if you can’t make your way around Jones and quote him at intervals!
I’ve come across a few books this time around – and to be honest, the one I have found most useful have been published by Kirwan Maclean – a small independent publisher who offer books at a reasonable price and I have found them far better and more straightforward than many others.
I have the Social Work Theory – A Guide for Practice Assessors and Placement Supervisors as well as Developing Quality Practice in Social Work – A Straightforward Guide for Practice Assessors and Supervisors.
The positive about both of these books is that they are very usable and very immediate. The writers really know what is being looked for and provide useful ideas and ways of working that might be missed on training courses.
I would be happy to buy other books from that publisher as I’ve been very impressed by them to be honest.
And that’s it for now. I have a lot more in my head that I’ll come back to, no doubt – but would welcome suggestions of books from others! I haven’t started on the mental health related books but that can be a post in its own right!
Happy World Book Day!