SWK3400 - Critical social work 1: Individuals and families (context and practice) - 2019

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Department of Social Work

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Uschi Bay


Dr Uschi Bay

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (Off-campus)
  • First semester 2019 (On-campus)


Must be enrolled in Bachelor of Social Work or the Human Services stream of the Bachelor of Health Sciences.




This unit covers child, adolescent and adult development with an emphasis on the development of resilience across the life course. A particular focus is on relevant contextual factors at individual, family, community and societal levels that impede or enhance development.

The unit includes a social work practice theory section that provides an orientation to the theory of direct social work practice with individuals and families focusing on one to one work with individuals and on working with family groups. The unit has a skills component that includes assessment, engagement and the development of intervention strategies through the use of role plays and case studies.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Explain the specific developmental needs that arise in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
  2. Outline the biopsychosocial model of child, adolescent and adult development in relation to relevant contextual factors.
  3. Analyse the values and assumptions underpinning various theoretical approaches to working with individuals and families.
  4. Summarize the key evidence in relation to the effectiveness of different approaches to social work practice (with individuals and families).
  5. Demonstrate the basic elements of the social work process including assessment, the worker/client relationship.
  6. Recognise and articulate practice implications for working with individuals, children and families from different cultural groups.
  7. Demonstrate basic skills in engaging with assessment of and intervention with clients.
  8. Demonstrate the ability to show self-awareness and critically reflective on your own social work practice.


  • Reflection on self and social work values- essay (1,500 words) (10%)
  • Case study analysis and reflection (iSAP): essay (1,000 words) (15%) Audiovisual recording of a comparative report (1,000 words) (15%)
  • Biopsychosocial assessment: report (1,000 words) (20%)
  • OSCE (Objective Structures Clinical Examination: audiovisual recorded interview with a simulated client and an essay critically reflecting on their communication skills (2,500 words)(40%)Hurdle

Workload requirements

On-campus students will attend 4.5 hours of face to face contact per week that will include two and a half hours of lecturers and two hours of tutorials. Fours hours will be spent on online activities and eleven hours will be spent

on private study.

See also Unit timetable information

Off-campus attendance requirements

Off-campus students participate in 35 hours residential workshops, four hours per week on online activities and 18 hours per week on private study. Off-campus students are required to attend a compulsory on-campus workshop for successful completion of this unit.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: