5 Great Books for Social Workers

Social workers spend each day dealing with traumatic events and problems that few families ever have to face. From handling adoptions to dealing with eating disorders, social workers have significant stress and responsibilities in their work life. To find new ways to deal with social problems, individuals can read the following books. These books include some of the most common problems faced by social workers and the people that they serve.

1. Breaking Night by Liz Murray

This book is actually a memoir of Liz Murray’s experiences. As a child, she was raised by parents who were mentally ill and addicted to drugs. Neglected for most of her life, she eventually ended up living on the streets. Murray’s life finally turned around when she was given a scholarship by the New York Times to go to Harvard University. This memoir is an interesting insight into the world that many children face when their parents have addictions or disorders. For social workers who want to understand the personal impact of traumatic upbringings, this is the book to choose.

2. Children and Adolescents in Trauma: Creative Therapeutic Approaches

Written by Chris Nicholson, this book offers creative approaches to different social problems. A variety of experts and experienced social workers have included their stories in the collection. Each story looks at the different ways that identity development, abuse, self-harm, violence and trauma can be dealt with. Many of the contributors work in locations like psychiatric units, residential homes and special schools, so they have an exceptional level of insight into the methods that work best.

3. A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

Everyone has heard stories about people who have eating disorders. Unlike most stories, Lois Metzger’s book is actually told in the voice of the eating disorder. Mike Welles has just started high school, but things are quickly becoming difficult at his home. While life spirals out of control, he uses anorexia to take control again. The voice in his head pushes him to use his eating disorder to overcome the problems that are holding him back. Throughout the novel, readers will see what an eating disorder is like for young men. While plenty of books have been written about girls and eating disorders, this is one of the few and the best about a male with an eating disorder.

4. It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living

Written by Dan Savage, this book is useful for any social worker who interacts with gay and lesbian populations. Research has shown that LGBT youth are more likely to be bullied or commit suicide. In response, Savage created a project known as It Gets Better. The project uses essays and videos to help young people to accept their feelings. For social workers who want a better understanding of the struggles of LGBT youth, this is one of the best books to check out.

5. Prozac Nation

Written by Elizabeth Wurtzel, this memoir describes Wurtzel’s experience with major depression. From counseling to hospitalization, the book looks at the ways depression can affect every part of someone’s life. For social workers who have never personally experienced depression, this is a must-read book.

Becoming a social worker is the first step toward a rewarding career. Reading books about social work or social issues can help individuals to develop their knowledge about the field. Ranging from novels to non-fiction works, these books are designed to provide social workers with additional insight about their job.

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