Practice: Skilled Planning

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Introduction and Alignment

You have now had the opportunity to create an intervention plan for your hypothetical client, based on your chosen movie. In real-world social work practice, there are often barriers to collaborative and effective planning with clients. In this activity, you will reflect on barriers to planning with clients, the social work ethical principles that relate to the planning process, and how an awareness of personal triggers and the use of self-care are vital for social workers. You will analyze and discuss these key topics with your classmates in a dialogue using an initial post and at least two responses to classmates.

Upon completion of this assignment, you should be able to:

  • Utilize reflection and self-regulation to manage effectively the intersection of personal and professional values. (PO 1)


  • Textbook: Social Work Skills for Beginning Direct Practice
  • Website: NASW Code of Ethics
  • Article: Opportunities and Barriers to Empowering People with Severe Mental Illness Through Participation in Treatment Planning

Background Information

Collaborative and effective treatment planning with clients is a significant part of the social work practice framework. In the planning phase, clients are empowered to create change and to create a clear vision of how they will achieve that change. In reality, there are many barriers to the engagement of clients in the planning process. Linhorst, Hamilton, Young, and Eckert discuss one common barrier (severe mental illness) to collaborative planning in working with clients with severe mental illness (Linhorst, Hamilton, Young & Eckert, 2002). Their article highlights key ethical principles related to the planning process, collaborating with clients, and utilizing their strengths.

In the planning phase, just as in other phases of the social work practice framework, social workers are called upon to be self-aware. For example, they must proactively identify triggers and opportunities for secondary or vicarious trauma and create plans to manage stress. As you prepare to practice in the field, it is important that you create and reflect on your own self-care plans. These may include plans to attend to your spiritual, mental, emotional, social, and physical well-being (Moore, Bledsoe, Perry & Robinson, 2011).


  1. In your textbook, Social Work Skills for Beginning Direct Practice, review Chapter 10, “Problem Identification, Planning, and Contracting.”
  2. Read the article “Opportunities and Barriers to Empowering People with Severe Mental Illness Through Participation in Treatment Planning” by Linhorst, Hamilton, Young, and Eckert (2002).
    1. Use this link to access the full-text version through the IWU Library:
  3. Review and consider the application of the NASW Code of Ethics to the planning phase of the social work practice framework.
  4. Consider your own interests as a social worker; what population are you most interested in serving? Navigate to the discussion thread below and respond to all of the following questions:
    1. What client population are you most interested in serving as a social worker?
    2. What do you see as the barriers to collaborative and effective planning with the client population that you plan to practice within your future social work career?
    3. How does planning with clients reflect ethical social work practice? Which specific social work values and ethics should you practice in the planning phase, and how?
  5. Make your initial post by the fourth day of the workshop.
  6. Use subheadings based on the discussion prompts to organize your post.
  7. By the end of the workshop, read and respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts. Your responses to your classmates should both encourage and respectfully challenge their consideration of barriers, their application of social work values and ethics, and their plans of self-care.

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