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Neuroscience and Social Work Practice

Neuroscience and Social Work Practice
The Missing Link

December 2008 | 200 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Over the past 30 years, findings in the neurosciences have grown exponentially and have provided a profound understanding of the link between behavior and biology. Although the Social Work community has long taken pride in using a bio-psycho-social-spiritual (BPSS) framework in conceptualization and intervention, the biological aspect of this BPSS framework has been sorely missing. Neuroscience and Social Work Practice provides the critical missing link. Introducing the latest neuroscience research, it gives practitioners essential data—in an easily accessible form—with which to take on the challenges of increasingly complex human problems and diagnoses.

Key Features

  • Takes readers on a "tour of the brain" and makes dense scientific material more engaging 
  • Provides a framework for how human service professionals can understand and implement neuroscience clinical data with the use of the Transactional Model
  • Uses case vignettes to explain how neuroscience findings have been applied to specific practice situations
  • Offers a deeper understanding of the links between neuroscience research and social work in such areas as trauma, attachment, psychotherapy, substance abuse, and the effects of psychotropic medications

Intended Audience
This cutting-edge text is indispensable for practitioners in the human services field and is an essential supplement for upper-level undergraduate or graduate students of courses in Human Behavior in the Social Environment and Social Work Direct Practice as well as courses on Interpersonal Practice with Individuals, Children, and Families.

1. Linking to the Neuroscientific Revolution

What's Neuroscience, in a Nutshell?

Social Neuroscience

Book Contents

2. Tour of the Brain
Selected Characteristics

Selected Functions

Selected Geographical Features

3. Neuroscience as Link: Transactional Model


The Model

4. Linking to Social Work: Attaching and Bonding
Attachment Theory: Bowlby’s Missing Link

Bonding (and Oxytocin)


5. Linking to Social Work: Trauma
Increase Reliance on Science-Based Explanations

Incidence and Severity of Problems Linked to Trauma

Darryl: The Quest for Better Social Work Practice

A Neurodevelopmental View

A Multidimensional View


Deeper Than It Need Be

6. Linking to Social Work: Psychotherapy



7. Linking to Social Work: Psychotropic Medications and Drugs of Abuse
Psychotropic Medications That Help

Drugs That Hurt

Transactional Model Revisited

Clients’ Peril

Appendix: Teaching Suggestions
About the Author

To add about Neuroscience to this course in SW theory.

Ms Barbara Reifel
Social Work Dept, California State University - Bakersfield
September 4, 2012

IF I teach the child development course again soon, this text will be adopted - I think it is an excellent resource - I just am not teaching child development this semester. I think it makes the concepts understandable for Master's level social workers, and I think it is important that they have that understanding.

Marji Edguer
Applied Soc Sci, Case Western Reserve University
April 24, 2010

This book is very well written & timely but I am looking for similar information for a nursing audience.

Professor Barbara Morrison
F Payne Bolton Sch Of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University
January 11, 2010
Key features
  • Tours the brain: Helps to make difficult material a bit playful and more interesting, via the imagery of a journey; provides ten characteristics of the brain and selected brain structures.
  • Use of the metaphorical term "Linking" throughout the book. This is given additional meaning by the use of the Transactional Model.
  • Use of the Transactional Model. It provides a conceptual framework for gathering and understanding clinical data and using it in practice; it helps to not be under- or over-enthusiastic about any one domain of the bio-psycho-social-spiritual-challenge in living.
  • Case vignettes are dispersed throughout the book.
  • Deeper understanding (based on neuroscience research) of social work practice in such areas as trauma, psychotherapy, and substance abuse.
  • Deeper understanding (based on neuroscience research) of individual variations in the effects of psychotropic medications.

Sage College Publishing

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