This is the first in a weeklong series, of sorts, on the “mashup” between clinical and macro practice…how social work skills translate between the two worlds, and how, sometimes, they don’t, at least not neatly.
In my opinion, the concept of termination in social work practice is presented, in academic literature and even in classrooms, as much more discrete, and definitive, than it really is, whether you’re working 1:1 with a client in clinical practice, in a therapeutic group, with a family, or, in the case of macro practitioners, with an entire community.
Especially in advocacy and community practice, saying ‘goodbye’ is often a complicated, long, incomplete, and fairly messy process, and the implications of that reality, for workers and those with whom they’re working, warrant additional attention in social work education, macro practice literature, and, I think, here, too.
First, a story of termination, from my own practice, with some lessons learned and questions raised. I really want to hear from community practitioners, too, about your own stories of saying goodbye, and moving on, in community organizing and/or advocacy work. It’s just as important, for you and for your work, as initiation.
How have you said goodbye, in community organizing? What issues did you encounter? And what would have made it healthier? What should we teach social workers about termination in macro practice? And what do we all have to learn in practice?