Social Work Practice with Families

Subject SCWK30003 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

March, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1-hour lecture and a 2-hour seminar over 10 weeks.
Total Time Commitment:

Students are expected to devote approximately 8 hours per week to this subject:
30 contact hours, 25 hours class preparation and reading, 25 hours assessment related tasks. Total time commitment = 80 hours


Admission into the Bachelor of Social Work course and a pass in the following subjects prior to enrolment:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's courses. Students who think their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Course Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Ms Menka Tsantefski


Social Work
Melbourne School of Health Sciences
The University of Melbourne
Level 5, 234 Queensberry St
Carlton Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 8344 9400
F: +61 3 9347 4375

Subject Overview:

Family problems are the daily concern of social workers in direct practice across a wide range of settings. This subject extends the assessment frameworks and intervention repertoire from the first year Social Work Theory and Practice sequence to better accommodate the needs of families and the complexity of family work. Students will be introduced to a range of theoretical frameworks and practice tools relevant to family intervention, chiefly derived from family therapy as it has evolved over several decades, but viewed through the lens of contemporary social work practice challenges. Emphasis will be placed upon students' capacity to critically evaluate these theoretical approaches and to examine their relevance for varied organisational contexts and diverse presenting issues in family social work.


On successful completion of this series of lectures and seminars, students should be able to:

  • Identify the key elements and logic of several theoretical approaches to social work with families, and be able to articulate these to others and apply them to practice scenarios.
  • Take a critical and inquiring approach to selecting, evaluating and applying models of family intervention within broader models of social work practice, in the light of family diversity, gender issues, presenting psycho-social issues, and variable agency mandates.
  • Independently and competently make a written psycho-social family assessment from given data and informed by theory.
  • Independently and competently make a feasible plan of family intervention, which flows logically from the psycho-social assessment and which is sufficiently operationalised to permit outcome evaluation.
  • Critically reflect on and discuss the implications of theoretical stances for worker–client relationships, working arrangements and ethical practice.
  1. Class presentation and submission of syndicated class material totalling 1000 words (40%) - due during semester
  2. An assignment of 3000 words (60%) - due end of semester
  3. A hurdle requirement of a minimum of 80% attendance of seminars required.
Prescribed Texts:

Nichols, M.P. (2009). The Essentials of Family Therapy, 4th Ed. Boston: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • critically analyse texts and practices;
  • understand social, cultural, organisational and ethical contexts of practice;
  • link theory to practice in creative ways;
  • competently communicate in speech and writing in ways relevant to both academic and practice contexts;
  • undertake independent research;
  • work effectively with colleagues.
Links to further information:

Formerly available as 196-016/411. Students who have completed 196-016/411 are not eligible to enrol in this subject. The subject dates and HECS/course fee census date for this subject change each year. Check your enrolment record for the correct census date for this subject.

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