Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Social work with people with disabilities, Social workers-Attitudes, Disability, Social model of disability, Clinical social work with minority groups, Disability and attitudes, Disability and language, Disability case study


This qualitative study explores the changing perceptions (attitudes and language use) of clinical social workers toward clients with disabilities through a qualitative exploration of clinicians' experiences working with this population over time. Based upon in-depth semi-structured interviews with nine experienced clinical social workers currently in private practice, the findings suggest that clinicians' attitudes and language use toward persons with disabilities are influenced by many factors, including contact with individuals with disabilities, supervision, post-masters training and social work theory. While participants in this study were not versed in disability theory, they nonetheless were flexible in applying alternative approaches with their clients with disabilities and approaches changed over time as the client's needs changed. The results of this study have several implications for education and social work practice with clients with disabilities.




v, 96 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 86-87)