Introduction To Social Work

Course description:

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to social work theory and practice through an exploration of the history, philosophical foundation and theoretical perspectives of the profession of social work. This includes a review of the relevant codes of ethics, principles, practice standards that guide practitioners and core competencies related to engagement, assessment, intervention and evaluation with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities from vulnerable and marginalized populations in society, as well as an overview of the roles in which social workers become involved in different fields of practice such as health care and mental health, child welfare, education, etc.


  • History of the social work profession and the emergence of social work in Greece.
  • Theory and approaches to social work practice.
  • Purpose, characteristics and function of social work.
  • Values, ethics, competences and principles of social work practice.
  • Methods and skills of practice (Social work practice with individuals, groups and communities and interdisciplinary practice)
  • Fields of practice.
  • Current challenges and opportunities for social work

Learning outcomes:

On successful completion of this course students will:

  • Have developed a historical perspective of the origin, values and the ideological influences which have shaped social work generally and in Greece in particular.
  • Gain an understanding of theories and practice approaches that inform social work practice (generalist, structural, anti-oppressive, anti-racist, etc.) and analyze the contexts within which social work is practiced (individuals, families, groups, communities, research, and policy).
  • Have learnt some of the key skills of social work, which are imperative for successful professional practice as well as the ethical standards of the profession in working with client systems, agency personnel and colleagues.
  • Demonstrate awareness and understanding of complexities of human diversity and key issues in social work (e.g. poverty, oppression, gender, housing, health, sexuality, disability, race, etc.) and the range of methods and strategies needed for effective practice.


  • Written examination
  • Class attendance (although not obligatory) along with active participation of student will also be appreciated.


• Kallinikaki, T., 2011. Introduction to theory and practice of social work. Athens: Topos. (in Greek).

• Kaloutsi-Taflaridou, A. & Papaflessa, Th. 2007. Learning by acting in the education of social workers. Athens: Kritikh. (in Greek).

  • Adams, R., Dominelli, L., & Payne, M., 2005. Social Work Futures Crossing boundaries, Transforming Practice. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Dominelli, L., 1997. Sociology for Social Work. London: Macmillan.
  • Johnson, L., 1998. Social Work Practice. A General Approach. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
  • Hanvey, C, & Philpot, T., 1994. Practicing Social Work. London: Routledge.
  • Kirst-Ashman, K., & Centry, M., 1998. Understanding Generalist Practice. New York: Prentice-Hall.
  • Payne, M., 2000. Σύγχρονη θεωρία της κοινωνικής εργασίας. Αθήνα: Ελληνικά Γράμματα.
  • Sheppard, M., 1995. Social Work, Social Science and Practice Wisdom, British Journal of Social Work 25, 513-532.

Further reading

  • Alcock, P., 1996. Understanding Poverty (2nd ed.). London: Macmillan.
  • Βailey, R., & Brake, M., 1975. Radical Social Work. London: Edward Arnold.
  • Dominelli, L., 2009. Introducing Social Work. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Dominelli, L., 2010. Social Work in a Globalizing World. Cambridge: Policy Press.
  • Ηοwe, D., 1993. An introduction to Social Work Theory. Cambridge: University Press.
  • IASSW, 2005. Global Qualifying Standards for Social Work Education and Training,

available online at:

  • Koprowska, J., 2010. Communication and interpersonal skills in social work. London: Learning Matters Ltd.
  • Κurz, L., 1997. Self help and support groups. New York: Sage.

Thompson, N., 2009. Understanding Social Work, London: Palgrave/Macmillan.