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Three Levels of Practice

SW 3010
7 December 2013
Oliviah Marshall


In this assignment, I will demonstrate my level of understanding to the three levels of

practice in social work: micro, mezzo, macro. I will describe how the levels of practice can
overlap and contribute to the overall practice in this field. To do so, I will base my judgments and
examples in this paper from the previous assignment, Process Recording. I was a social
worker assisting a young boy diagnosed with social anxiety and about to begin his transition into
junior high from elementary school.


The level of practice I used in the process recording assignments was micro; I worked
one-on-one with my client, Joshua, to assist him with his concerns and develop new strategies
for success. As a social worker on the macro level, I would provide Joshua with a social policy
change. An example of this could be trying to change or make new rules in the school district to
help accommodate students with special needs. I could attend school committee board meetings
to present my opinions and ideas influencing positive changes throughout the district. As a social
worker practicing on a mezzo level, a change I may be faced with would be group work. Instead
of assisting my client individually, perhaps I could lead a gathering or event to bring all special
need students and their families together for support. We could discuss different ways of coping,
success stories, new ideas and ways to help each other in the school transition. This could help
my clients to know that they are not alone, and to build relationships with others experiencing
the same issues. Then, on an individual, micro level, we could discuss how the group affected
them and use strategies presented from it to take advantage of personally.
After reading my process recording role play again, I found a few situations that I
would want to change. In the second session with Shelly Mason, which was my first meeting
with Joshua Mason, I did not include many of her thoughts or input in our meeting. Our time
together, I spent solely in discussion with Joshua and had I included Shelly in the meeting, it
could have made Joshua feel more comfortable. As a social worker, I will try to influence the
interaction upon all of my clients, to know they are all important to the outcome of our sessions.
Another issue I would like to confront is trust. As a social worker, I want to pursue a change in
the way I build a trust with my clients. In the role play, it was obvious that trust was an issue for
me, because I failed to dig deeper with Joshua on the issue of his prescribed medication. His
mother, Shelly, informed me that Joshua was prescribed Prozac to help with his anxiety, but


when I addressed the issue with Joshua, he was very hesitant to provide me with information
about it. I did not want to discuss it too much with him, because then he would get the idea that
his mother told me beforehand. To avoid this situation as a social worker, I will do my best to
build trusts with my primary clients so that they can tell me in their own comfort.
Needed changes as a social worker are present in all three levels of practice. Micro
practices need to have the ability to change with each client, to collaborate and bring new advise
to each consumer differently. To succeed on a mezzo level of social work, one must be willing to
change their focus from micro and macro to a broader group of consumers. Focus of change
through policy and advocating is used so knowledge of judicial, district, community etc. laws
and regulations will provide a smoother practice in this field of study. In the practice of macro
social work, cultural sensitivity and the ability to maintain high ethical and moral standards will
bring groups together, allowing your clients to see you as influential and your advice to many
populations will be considered more. A social worker must be willing to change and practice at
any level in the field, doing so will benefit them and their clients as well.
All levels of practice help our consumers differently and each has its own benefits to the
client as well. Micro skills help to influence personal bonds and relationships. It influences the
importance of one-on-one advise and we can focus more deeply on the clients support systems in
therapy. Macro skills help consumers by empowering them in a systematic change; Advocating
and policy changing to their benefit. Mezzo skills in social work practices help consumers to
address and understand their issues through groups. This provides the ability to see other
perspectives and allows room for different ways of cope upon the same issue.


In each level of practice, there are different skills that can be used to provide better
services to consumers. Working in micro environments, I can ask more open ended questions to
my clients. This will help provide me with more information about them, which will allow me to
then ask questions from those answers. If all works out accordingly, a professional-consumer
relationship could be built and trust between the two can be a stepping stone for more positive
sessions. Upon working in a mezzo level of social work, practicing leadership skills and
organization can be beneficial. Being organized will allow me to ask questions that are diverse,
sensitive to every population, but direct enough for excellent group discussions. Being a leader
will ultimately provide for a better group session, as well. Lastly, while working in a macro level
of social work, a skill to better my practice would be the ability to write professional and
persuading letters. Since I would be working with policy and advocating for my clients, I need to
provide strong writing skills to reach the goals set by myself and my consumers.
A change that I want to work on, which is not present in my process recording role play is
welcoming skills. I need to help my client feel comfortable and strong for coming to the session.
Doing so will benefit our meeting, providing us both with less anxiety and nervousness. This
change can be a factor in each level of practice. A warm and inviting welcome to any situation
will provide for a better outcome after the initial meet. Upon arriving, if the client comes to me I
can ask about the drive, if they want something to drink and I can ask questions that are not
personal or interrogating. I want my client to feel equal to me, and provide a comfort level as if
they were talking to a friend.
All three levels of practice in social work can interact if used correctly by the social
worker. For instance, in a mezzo setting of group work, role play could be used for therapy
sessions in group work. When practicing a micro level, the confidence some consumers gained


from role plays could be used in the one on one sessions. If Joshua was in school and in the safe
room for his anxiety, he would be talking with other classmates about his feelings. When he
comes to visit me, we could discuss how talking his feelings out with his peer groups made him
feel, and how he saw others perspectives. From there, the issues he had presented with me, I
could use on a macro level of practice; Joshua had severe social anxiety, so I could advocate for
him through community awareness, curriculum changes in the school which can accommodate to
his and other special need students. An example of macro change that could be made for Joshua
through school policy would be an exception of pep rally attendance, segregated lunch rooms or
early release time from class which would help him (and other special need students) to not be
overwhelmed in the hallways.
Joshua, along with the population of special needs students, is referenced as minorities in
the school. This is because the numbers of mainstream students or non IEP students outweigh the
number of special need students in the district. This fact in itself can be a challenge for Joshua
because not only does he have to deal with separation from peers because of his anxiety, but now
the issue of a minority lies upon him as well. In our sessions, we can discuss how being
separated from school events or leaving the classroom makes him feel and from there we can
focus on how to resolve the issue with positive coping techniques. Aside from the role play with
Joshua, if my client were female, not only would she have stressors of having social anxiety, she
would also be a minority due to her special needs and her gender. Another example is that of a
single mother. Stress of independence, raising your child(ren), bills, employment etc are already
faced but adding her gender and special needs makes it more difficult.
An ethical dilemma Joshua faces daily is choosing to leave the classroom or not due to
his anxiety. On one side, he needs to leave because of his anxiety, but if he leaves and goes to the


safe room, he misses out on mainstream learning with peers. Also, if he always leaves the
classroom or has his parents get him from school, he never learns how to fully deal with his
anxiety and get through his attacks. Every day, my client has to face dilemmas such as these, and
they can be very stressful decisions. In this situation, as a social worker, I would try to find ways
for Joshua to work through his attacks. Help him with breathing techniques and mind over matter
strategies. I can ease him into situations to help him get used to crowds: classrooms then
lunchrooms then pep rallies for example. NASW ethics presented in this dilemma would be
social justice and importance of human relationships. Demonstrating these NASW ethics in my
therapy with Joshua will help solve his ethical dilemmas.
The ethical principle of social justice might bear to help resolve Joshuas dilemma
because I will strive for change so he is not discriminated from other students, and attains
equality of opportunity in everything he seeks to do. Joshua is a minority in the school, and I
would never want him to be left out, made fun of or experience feelings of loneliness because of
his anxiety. In my role play, I discussed the safe room with Joshua. This room can be an example
of both NASW values I used. It is shown through social justice because meaningful decision
making is presented by allowing Joshua the opportunity to solve his own problems and make his
own decision of staying in the classroom or going to the safe room when experiencing an anxiety
attack. The importance of human relationships is shown because I create the safe room for
special needs students. I want them all to feel comfortable in school, and receive advice, therapy
and build relationships with one another in the room. Each of my clients have similar issues, so
when they talk them out with one another, they create trust and relationships with peers similar to


In my role play, I did not truly face any ethical issues as a social worker. I want to help
special needs individuals, especially children in their school settings. However, I think a lot of
individuals are prescribed medications that they do not need, or use it as a quick fix. In our first
meeting, I learned that Joshua was starting Prozac, a pill given for his anxiety. Though I think
Joshua is too young to start an everyday medicine, even more so when he is beginning
adolescence and puberty, as a social worker I can not discriminate against him or his parents. I
have to work with them and inform them more of their options and provide different ways to
cope with anxiety other than medication. However, if the family wishes to continue Prozac for
their son, I still will continue professional practices and not allow my ethical issues to negatively
impact our success plans together.


As a social worker, we will demonstrate three levels of practice: micro, mezzo and
macro. Each level tests the competence and determination we have for our consumers, though all
provide different styles of empowerment for our clients. As I worked with Joshua, I provided
him with therapy through each level of practice, demonstrating NASW code of ethics and I
strived for his success in school. My goal for myself to my clients is to provide them with the
upmost professional practice and I promise to help make a positive change in their lives through
any of the three levels that it may take.