The study’s aim is to expand knowledge on the level of involvement in policy-related interventions (‘policy practice’, PP) among social workers employed by non-profit human service organisations (NPHSOs) in Israel, and on the motivational and facilitating factors associated with this. The sample consisted of 106 social workers employed in NPHSOs that include social advocacy as one of their goals. Findings revealed a relatively low level of involvement in PP. Level of involvement was associated with political efficacy, political interest, activity in political and professional organisations, civic and professional skills, and organisational support for PP. The strongest predictors were PP skills and organisational support. The study’s conclusion is that an understanding of involvement in PP must take into account both the degree to which an organisational context facilitates this type of practice and the individual factors that motivate PP involvement. As such, consolidation of PP among social workers should address both facilitating and motivational issues.
Sansanwal, Rayna M., Jeffrey L. Derevensky, and Belle Gavriel-Fried. “What Mental Health Professionals in Israel Know and Think about Adolescent Problem Gambling.” International Gambling Studies (early view, online first).
Mental health professionals are well versed in addressing multiple adolescent risky behaviours and play a primary role in the identification of and referral process and service provision for young people who engage in such behaviours. Given their ‘person-in-environment’ approach, training in multi-sectoral collaboration, and awareness of social policies, social workers are especially equipped to provide needed mental health services to young people. The aim of the current study was to examine Israeli mental health professionals’ awareness of and attitudes towards adolescent high-risk behaviours, including gambling. Child psychologists, social workers and school counsellors (N = 273) completed an online survey addressing concerns related to high-risk behaviours. Findings revealed that social workers perceived gambling as being among one of the least concerning adolescent mental health issues and reported feeling the least confident in their abilities to provide services to young people with gambling problems. The results suggest the importance of youth gambling addictions being incorporated into social work training curricula.
Schiff, Miriam, Nitsa Nacasch, Shabtay Levit, Noam Katz, and Edna B. Foa. “Prolonged Exposure for Treating PTSD Among Female Methadone Patients Who Were Survivors of Sexual Abuse in Israel.” Social Work in Health Care 54.8 (2015): 687-707.
The aims of this pilot study were: (a) to test the feasibility of prolonged exposure (PE) therapy conducted by a social worker staff on female patients in methadone program clinics who were survivors of child sexual abuse or rape and (b) to examine preliminary outcomes of PE on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and illicit drug use at pre- and posttreatment, and up to 12-month follow-ups. Twelve female methadone patients who were survivors of child sexual abuse or rape diagnosed with PTSD were enrolled in 13–19 weekly individual PE sessions. Assessments were conducted at pre-, mid-, and posttreatment, as well as at 3, 6, and 12-month follow-ups. The treatment outcomes measures included PTSD symptoms, depressive symptoms, and illicit drug use. Ten of the 12 study patients completed treatment. PTSD and depressive symptoms showed significant reduction. No relapse to illicit drug use was detected. These preliminary results suggest that PE may be delivered by methadone social workers with successful outcomes. Further research should test the efficacy of PE among methadone patients in a randomized control trial with standard care as the control condition.
This study investigates social workers’ preferences regarding four main therapeutic orientations: psychodynamic therapy (PDT), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), client-centered therapy (CCT), and eco-systemic therapy (EST). In total, 679 social workers (528 Jewish and 151 Palestinian) reported their beliefs regarding the efficacy of the four therapeutic orientations, and 343 additional social workers (193 Jewish and 150 Palestinian) reported how often they apply the therapeutic orientations in their practice. The present study revealed similarities, but also some incongruence when comparing the social workers’ beliefs in the efficacy of the different therapeutic orientations and the frequency of their actual use in practice. Socio-demographic characteristics of the social workers explained a significant albeit small proportion of the variance in the frequency of use of the different therapeutic orientations. Finally, the results obtained demonstrated that social workers tend to prefer different therapeutic interventions when working with clients belonging to different ethnic groups. Implications for therapist training and practice are discussed.
Lavi, Tamar, Orit Nuttman-Shwartz, and Rachel Dekel. “Therapeutic Intervention in a Continuous Shared Traumatic Reality: An Example from the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict.” British Journal of Social Work (early view; online first).
Growing political instability around the world has exposed an increasing number of communities to military conflict. Social workers and other mental health professionals who work as trauma workers, and who both live and practise within these communities, are doubly exposed: directly and indirectly, personally and professionally. The present study examined the consequences on trauma workers and on the therapeutic process itself of working in a continuous Shared Traumatic Reality. The study was based on content analysis of three focus groups conducted among thirty trauma workers, between the ages of thirty and sixty, who were trained in a variety of therapeutic professions, mainly social work. Findings suggest that a high level of exposure to life threats and emotional distress can coexist with high levels of professional functioning and resilience. Results further point to complex implications associated with therapeutic relationships and settings that include: diminution of the transitional space, strengthened sense of identification between workers and clients, and acceleration of the therapeutic process. The discussion reviews the variables that facilitate and impede the professionals’ functioning and highlights the unique effects of continuous exposure.