7 Books For The Social Services Curious

books home libraryWhat has helped me become a more skilled, knowledgeable and experienced Social Worker is continuing to educate myself, and the best way I have done this is by continuing to read.

Here are my thoughts on seven books to help broaden your knowledge in the field of human and social services:

Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems: Lance H. Gunderson, and C. S. Holling

I took a graduate course this past semester studying complexity theories and this book became a Bible for me in writing my paper on family violence. It would take me forever to explain what complexity theories are, and it seems simple. But trust me, it’s not. In a nutshell, complexity theories, such a complex adaptive cycle explain how simple things are truly multifaceted in how they work. Such as Wikipedia, they use simple rule to make large volumes of information for people to use. It is truly a fascinating book and should be added to your professional library.

the locust effectThe Locust Effect; Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence: Gary A. Haugen and Victor Boutros

If you read any books on this list, it should be this one. If you are passionate about social justice then reading this book is a great place to start.

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts; Close encounters with Addiction: Gabor Mate.

I read this book while in the concurrent disorders program at Mohawk College. What can I say about this book other than that it is amazing, insightful, compassionate, detailed and well-written! There is a large debate between harm reductions and abstinence in the addictions community, and I think this book will help you realize that they are truly on the same spectrum.

Saving Normal: Allen Frances

Allen Frances has taken a major role in taking steps towards Anti DSM-5 efforts. Here he talks about over diagnosis and over medications of the general public. Use it to your benefit to help advocate for your clients.

woman reading bookThe Communist Manifesto: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

There is no psychology without sociology. Together the two create a great marriage. This book of course is one of Marx’s most well known pieces of works. Here he discusses the class struggle between Bourgeois and Proletarians, how Capitalism is disenchanting, and his theory of how the proletariat would rise in a revolution. While many may disagree this book is still relevant to what is currently occurring in our societies today.

Mind Over Mood: Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky

This is an excellent workbook, when with clients, to challenge irrational thinking. Its simple, straight forward and successful. (In my opinion) it is also helpful in working with clients living with anxiety and/or depression. Use it in individual or group therapy. The one drawback is it is heavily cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) based, therefore it requires a lot of effort and work for your client(s) to put into.

Asylums: Erving Goffman.

He is definitely one of my favourite sociologists. This book looks through the eyes of patients living in asylums. After reading this book you will have a great understanding and ability to be compassionate to any client you work with who is living in a ‘total institution.’ This book is pinnacle and played a major role in deinstitutionalization.

MichaelMarshall_smMichael Marshall
– Concurrent Disorder, 2012

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