Social Work Students' Changing Perceptions of Social Problems After a Year of Community Intervention Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper aims to throw light on the emotional and cognitive processes of students within social change-oriented field work as they develop over a year, as described through a projective and phenomenological art medium drawn and discussed at the beginning and at the end of the year. The literature on social work points to a discrepancy between the cognitive structural explanations of social problems that are taught to social work students, and their tendency to prefer focusing on individual rather than on societal levels of intervention. The aim of this examination of the students' processes over the year is to increase our understanding of the students' experience and understanding of their social change mission, so as to better prepare them for the challenges it entails, and to see where they get ‘lost’. Findings from this paper point to the gradual internalization of social change as a complex process, combined with the reframing of this complexity into tangible results.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011