In my own post on Social Work Helper I described the importance of breaking down the barrier between micro and macro social work. This led me to a place in the middle called Mezzo Social Work focusing on the family and smaller groups in the community. It is when micro and macro concepts collide that can lead to a powerful social work intervention. Since writing the above article, two great examples of mezzo social work happened.
The first was a meeting with myself, my clients middle school team and his parent. Not only did we facilitate a conversation about the child’s needs we talked about changes in the school environment. We brainstormed and came up with some great plans. In a separate meeting our case management program got together with 2 other agencies we collaborate with. We discussed case planning and potential limitations of our programs that we were not understanding. We will probably need to continue these conversation but this was social work at it’s best.
Graduate programs seem to have either a micro or macro practice concentration. I would like to challenge this to create a hybrid. Michael TheMentor Wright left the following piece of constructive criticism:
I am not sure if a call for a more mezzo focus is the solution. I more favor the point earlier in the article that the whole theory be reflected in education and practice. But, most importantly in SW Identity
My thinking is that it might not be THE solution to social work’s identity problem but it certainly could help. A mezzo social work program that explicitly teaches where micro and macro skills intersect.
So what would a Mezzo social work track entail? What would the coursework look like? Where would the field placements be? First the program would need to buy into this idea. This would take some commitment on program leadership to develop curriculum to embrace this. Coursework would need to focus on more concepts and skills rather than the scale that they take place.
There could be a course on Motivational Interviewing one could start with the individual skills but also grow out how these skills could apply to community organizing. Also there should be a focus on macro skills trickle down to the micro. An alternative is to pinpoint a specific problem such as juvenile justice. Then explore all the micro, mezzo, and macro implications of juvenile justice.
The mezzo field placement would be a challenge as the supervisor would also need to buy into this idea of dancing between micro and macro social work. A clinical supervisor would need to include the implications of macro practice concepts. Conversely a macro placement would need to discuss who the micro concepts effect their work.
I know the Council on Social Work Education just finished their Advancing The Practice conference. I would like to here from a cross-section of educators, students, and social work practitioners. Does a Mezzo Social Work concentration make sense? Do they already exist. Thoughts…