Shock upon shock upon shock – What are the implications for social work?

The title question is one I hope to explore in a series of posts over the course of the fall term. I’m sure there are colleagues across the country and around the world pondering precisely this question, though I suspect that at present their numbers remain far too few in comparison to the enormity and urgency of challenges facing us.

This much seems certain: As crises proliferate, intersect, and ominously threaten to cascade – the COVID crisis, the economic crisis, the political crisis, the frighteningly rapid unfolding of the climate crisis (this last a fortiori) – concerns for resilience and adaptation move to center stage, to the point of crowding out all others.

Resilience and adaptation at each level of the standard classification of micro, mezzo, and macro, and across every system – individual, family, group, community, organization, nation-state, world – will, indeed must, occupy the top of our agenda. The concerns of resilience and adaptation will reframe every social work theory, every field of practice, every modality of intervention and treatment, every aspect of the profession’s core methodology of problem solving.

Nothing will be exempt, nothing will escape. We have little choice but to turn our full attention in the direction of theorizing, planning, and implementing resilience and adaptation-focused thought and action. The alternative is unthinkable – the collapse of organized society as we know it.

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