Familiarity with basic Social Work terms, their meanings and the relationships between terms can help one pass Licensing Examinations.
The Purpose of this is to help professional social workers to enhance their use of common vocabulary terms.
Why? A stronger command of the common vocabulary used in Professional Social Work could lead to more effective Social Work as well as a higher success rate on Social Work Licensing Examinations.
While the existence of this work does NOT in any way suggest or imply a deficiency of common Social Work Vocabulary in any accredited program or agency; successful graduation from an Accredited Social Work Program does NOT necessarily guarantee that each candidate has mastered a professionally effective use of the common professional vocabulary.
Let this serve as a positive challenge and/or informative source to those who are growing in the Social Work Profession. And particularly to those who are trying to prepare for Licensing Examinations.
Below is a partial list of such terms that are likely to be on the Exam.
Become familiar with definitions, relationships between terms, and how one would use the term in a professional context.
- Belonging: Inclusion versus Exclusion
- Social Support: Emotional versus Instrumental versus Tangible
- Legal versus Moral
- Degree of Impact: Direct versus Indirect, 1st Person versus 2nd Person
- Levels of Belief, Knowledge and Action: Individual, Interpersonal, Social, Formal, Institutional, Communal, National, Cultural
- What Is versus What Should Be: Ontology versus Morality
- Epistemology: Faith versus Empirical Proof
- Prejudice versus Discrimination
- Establishment of Fact: Power dictates what is Fact versus others tell Truth/Fact to Powerful
- Evaluation versus Assessment
- Leadership: Dictatorship, Oligarchy, Committee, Democracy, Anarchy
- Economic System: Capitalist, Communist, Socialist
- Theism: Polytheist, Monotheist, Atheist, Agnostic, Secular Humanist
- Objectives versus Goals
- Judgment: Subjective versus Objective
- Levels of Need: Basic needs, Security needs, Social needs, Self Actualization needs
- Crisis versus Emergent versus Elective versus Dormant
- Assessment, Treatment, Recovery / Rehabilitation, Preventive / Education
- On-The-Scene Command as Relatively Determined by Context and Setting: Lethality / Danger / Safety, Medical / Emergent Care,
- Ways of Knowing in Clinical Setting: By Observation, By Report, By History
- Levels of Involuntary Care: Emergency Custody Order to hold for Lethality Assessment, Temporary Detention with Hospitalization, Commitment to Treatment Facility, Order to Complete or Comply with Treatment Regimen.
- Principles into Morals: Values versus Virtues versus Ethics.
- Assumption versus Known
- Logic, Reasoning, Process
- Inductive versus Deductive
- Learning Mode: Verbal Auditory, Visual, Tactile, Experiential, Metaphysical Sensory, Combination
- Conceptualization of Higher Power Involvement: Pre-Enlightenment Bound, Enlightened Thinker, Both Pre-, and Enlightened.
- Concentration and Monitoring Point: Task Centered, Relationship Focused, Situation Focused
- Locus of Control: Inner, Outer
- Description of Relationship: Correlation versus Causation versus Chaos
- Conceptualization of the Center: Average, Normal, Mean, Median, Mode
- Deviation versus Abnormal
- Above versus Below the Mean
- Violence: Physical Violence, Verbal Violence, Emotional Violence, Passive Violence, Sexual Violence, Psychological Violence
- Progress versus Process: (eg., Recording client sessions.)
- Stress: Distress versus Eu-stress
- Focal Point of Attention: Strengths-Based versus Problem-Based
- Diagnosis: Presentation versus Etiology versus Pathology versus Prognosis.
- Decision Making: Consensus versus Majority Rule
- Medication Administration Frequency: qd, bid, tid, qid, prn
- Disorder / Disease CoMorbidity versus Complications
- Policy: Social Policy versus Public Policy
- Government: International, Federal, State, City / Municipal, Community, Organization, Family, Self
- Cultural versus Subcultural versus Counter-cultural
- Typical Roles of Other Professions who Work with Social Workers: Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Primary Care Physician, Nursing Assistant, School Counselor, Juv. Court Advocate (eg., CASA), Probation / Parole Officer, Ins. Precertification Screening Agent, Nurse, Occupational Therapist, Dietitian / Nutritionist, Clergy, Support Group Peer Leader, Rehabilitation Counselor, Child Protection Worker, Community Green Warrant / TDO / Section Evaluation Worker, Police, Judge in Juvenile Domestic Court, Client’s Parent, P.O.A., Spouse, Closest Relative or Life Partner.
- Level of Involvement in Intervention: Primary versus Adjunctive versus Indirect versus Consultative.
- Dimensions of Assessment: Ecology versus Genealogy versus Future, Ecomap versus Genogram
- Locus of Awareness and Symptoms and Traits into Conceptualization of Self: Egosyntonic versus Egodistonic
- Source of Motivation for Altruistic, Community-Level Action: Perception of Self Guilt, Self Motivation, Pragmatism / Opportunity, Salvation, Sense of Duty.
- Confidentiality versus Anonymity
- Questions: Open-ended versus Close-ended.
- Type of Methodology and/or Data: Quantitative versus Qualitative versus Mixed
- Evaluation Type: Summative versus Formative
- Abuse versus Neglect versus Failure to Act
- Victim versus Survivor
- Personal Finance: Gross Income versus Net Income versus Worth versus Disposable Income
- Kubler-Ross’ Stages of Grieving (DABDA)
- The Scientific Method
- Cycle of Violence.
- Third-Party Payers: HMO, PPO
- Communication: Direct, Indirect, Implied, Inferred
- Conflict Style: Assertive, Aggressive, Avoidant
- Stages of Crisis Intervention
- Stages of Group Development
- Criteria for Inpatient Care: Lethality, Psychosis, History of Lethal Behavior, Lack of Preventive Supports, Medical Urgency
- Steps in Referring a Client to another Social Worker:
- Process for Addressing Expressed or Inferred/Observed Client Concerns Regarding Another Social Worker:
- Obligations to Client versus obligations to other Social Workers.
- Handling situation with Medical Lethality:
- Handling situation with determined or inferred high potential for physical violence:
- Collecting Debt from Clients:
- Dealing with An Impaired Peer:
- Ethical Dilemma with Students:
- Clashing Rules: When one is faced with a contrast of “acceptable witnessed co-worker action versus agency policy versus professional ethics versus Law.
- Descriptors for Groups: Heterogeneous versus Homogeneous.
- Primary Mode of Attention to: Detail, Context
- Human Assumption / Assignment of: Rights, Entitlements, Privileges
- Levels of Sanction: License, Permit, Accreditation, Certificate
- Minority versus Majority
- Approaches to Diversity Intervention: Placating / Denial, Tokenism, Sudden Radical Reform, Punitive, Inclusive / Humanistic, Regulation-Driven, In Defense of the Organization
- Charity: Benefactor versus Beneficiary versus Intermediary
- Social Stratification based on: Race, Skin Tint / Shade (eg., Light versus Dark versus Tanned), Sex, Gender Identity, Class, Ability, Health (known or perceived), Income / Wealth, Heritage, Ethnicity, Age, Political Affiliation, Education, Group Affiliation (Religion, Political, Corp.), Rank / Position,
Popularity / Appeal, Current Usefulness
- Motivations: Obligations versus Expectations versus Opportunities
- Deterrence: Punishment versus Prevention versus Induction
- Purpose of Study / Investigation, Descriptive, Exploratory, Explanatory
- Clinical Focus: Client-Centered versus Task / Problem-Centered
- Relation to the Norm: Deviation versus Compliance
If you know other terms that should be on this list or if you know of sources that properly define these terms, please send them in via comments.