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Second Edition

Multicultural Social Work Practice

A Competency-Based Approach to Diversity and Social Justice

Derald Wing Sue | Mikal N. Rasheed | Janice Matthews Rasheed

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Multicultural Social Work Practice is a text that highlights the need for social workers and other human service professionals to form a balanced understanding of not only cultural differences reflected in worldviews but also the sociopolitical dimensions of culturally competent care. The major thesis of this book is that many theories, concepts, and practices that inform social work and other human service interventions are often rooted in and reflect the dominant values of the larger society. As a result, certain interventions may represent cultural oppression and may reflect primarily a Eurocentric worldview that may do great harm to culturally diverse clients and their communities. To be culturally competent, social work professionals must be able to free themselves from the cultural conditioning of their personal and professional training, to understand and accept the legitimacy of alternative worldviews, to begin the process of developing culturally appropriate intervention strategies in working with a diverse clientele, and to become aware of systemic forces affecting both them and their clients.

Although the field of social work is not unlike that of most helping professions, it has always been distinguished by its greater community focus; work in community-based agencies; and work with ecological approaches that involve individuals, communities, institutions, public policy, and a strong emphasis on advocacy and social justice. The settings where social workers function are much broader than those of psychology and psychiatry, and they offer an advantaged position from which to provide culturally relevant services.

The first edition of Multicultural Social Work Practice (written by Dr. Derald Wing Sue) spoke to multicultural social work with clients (individuals, families, and groups) and client systems (neighborhoods, communities, agencies, institutions, and social policies); remediation and prevention approaches; person-environment models; equal access and opportunity; and social justice issues. Two coauthors (Dr. Mikal N. Rasheed and Dr. Janice Matthews Rasheed—both social work professors and practitioners) were invited to collaborate with Sue in writing this second edition, which preserves key components of the first edition to advance a comprehensive understanding of the philosophical, conceptual, and theoretical issues that serve as the foundation for multicultural social work with diverse populations. Further, the coauthored second edition extends these vital components with a new chapter that addresses, among other topics, critical race theory, anti-oppressive social work practice models, and the concept of intersectionality (recognizing the intersection and impact of multiple social group memberships on personal identity). These additions contribute to a deeper understanding of the major components of multicultural social work with diverse populations. In addition to this new chapter on social work perspectives, there are two other chapters new to the second edition. The second new chapter is on microaggressions (forms of interpersonal and environmental oppression toward marginalized populations), with illustrations of the different forms of microaggression, along with social work case examples that address the impact of microaggressive actions on diverse client populations. The third new chapter in this edition discusses evidence-based practice and the significance of developing research-supported interventions with diverse clients. This chapter draws attention to the importance of considering a client's characteristics, culture, and preferences in assessment, intervention planning, and setting therapeutic goals. The second edition also features expanded discussion of religion, spirituality, and worldview. Further, it addresses emerging issues pertaining to diverse populations, such as women in the military. Finally, in this new edition of Multicultural Social Work Practice, many new case examples articulate issues, concepts, theories, paradigms, and practice approaches critical to multicultural social work.

The organization of the chapters in the second edition differs from that in the first edition. One change in the second edition is that each chapter begins with learning objectives. These objectives identify what the reader will be able to do after reading and comprehending the chapter's content. These objectives are measurable and observable outcome statements.

Another change in the second edition is the inclusion of the 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) Core Competencies, mandated by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Since 2008, CSWE has adopted a competency-based education framework. Given that this book is a social work text, it is important that its content reflect the CSWE standards. There are nine interrelated competencies and component behavior statements in the 2015 EPAS, and this edition of Multicultural Social Work Practice gives attention to those competencies relevant to effective multicultural social work practice. The relevant competencies (not the component behaviors) are identified at the beginning of each chapter.

A final change reflected in the organization of the chapters in this edition is that each has an overview and a summary section, and each ends with a list of reflection and discussion questions. These questions allow the reader not only to reflect on the content presented in the chapter but also to examine the broader implications of the content for other domains related to his or her professional development as a multicultural social work practitioner.

About the Authors

Derald Wing Sue is a professor of psychology and education in the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. He also holds an appointment with the School of Social Work. Sue served as president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues, the Society of Counseling Psychology, and the Asian American Psychological Association. Sue is currently a consulting editor for numerous publications. He is the author of over 160 publications, including 19 books, and is well known for his work on racism and antiracism, cultural competence, multicultural counseling and therapy, microaggression theory, the psychology of racial dialogues, and social justice advocacy. Three of his books, Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice, Microaggressions in Everyday Life, and Overcoming Our Racism: The Journey to Liberation are considered classics in the field. Sue's most recent research on racial, gender, and sexual orientation microaggressions has provided major breakthroughs in understanding how everyday slights, insults, and invalidations toward marginalized groups create psychological harm to their mental and physical health and create disparities for them in education, employment, and health care. His most recent book, Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race, promises to add to the nationwide debate on racial interactions. As evidence of Dr. Sue's stature in the field, two studies (1989 and 2012) of multicultural publications and scholars concluded that “impressively, Derald Wing Sue is without doubt the most influential multicultural scholar in the United States.”

Mikal N. Rasheed is a professor of social work and the director of the Master of Social Work Program at Chicago State University. He is also the director of the Urban Solutions Institute at Chicago State; this institute is focused on civic and community engagement initiatives and university-community partnerships.

He has a PhD in clinical social work from Loyola University Chicago and a master's in social service administration from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Prior to joining the Chicago State faculty in 2006, he was chair of the undergraduate Justice Studies and Social Work Department at Northeastern Illinois University. He formerly served on the faculty of the George Williams College of Social Work at Aurora University, and he was the director of the undergraduate social work program at Texas Southern University.

Before entering academe, he was a social work administrator and practitioner in the areas of family services and child welfare in both Chicago and Houston. His special areas of interest and expertise are cross-cultural social work practice; social work ethics; family therapy; and social work practice with men, with a special focus on African American men. He has conducted many workshops and seminars in educational institutions, community organizations, and faith-based institutions on diversity, racial dialogue, and racial reconciliation. He, along with his wife, Janice Matthews Rasheed, has published extensively in the areas just mentioned.

Rasheed is a licensed clinical social worker and has maintained a clinical social work practice for more than twenty years, specializing in men's issues, practice with people of color, and couples and family therapy.

Janice Matthews Rasheed is a professor of social work at Loyola University Chicago's School of Social Work. Rasheed received her master's degree in social work from the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, and her PhD in social welfare from Columbia University in New York City. She was the co–principal investigator for a multiyear research grant funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, evaluating demonstration projects and developing new programs for poor, noncustodial African American men. She has presented papers at professional conferences, written books, and published book chapters and articles in professional journals on qualitative research, program planning, research and social work practice with African American men and their families, family therapy with people of color, family therapy models, and social work practice with veterans and military families. Rasheed currently is conducting a Chicago-wide veterans' needs assessment and developing community partnerships for social work practice with veterans and military families with a grant from the McCormick Foundation in partnership with the University of Southern California, Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families.

Rasheed teaches courses in family and couples therapy, multicultural social work practice, and research. She also conducts local, regional, and nationwide workshops and trainings in these areas of clinical practice. She is a licensed clinical social worker in Illinois and has maintained a private practice since 1979, specializing in couples and family therapy.

Part I
Principles and Assumptions of Multicultural Social Work Practice

  1. Chapter 1 Cultural Diversity and Implications for Multicultural Social Work Practice
  2. Chapter 2 Theoretical Foundations for Multicultural Social Work Practice
  3. Chapter 3 Becoming Culturally Competent in Social Work Practice