HMNS 2230



Individuals, Families and Small Groups

HMNS 2230

William J. Pellicio, LICSW, LCDP


Course Information


Course Description

This course will examine the major influences which impact on the lives of individuals, families and small groups.  Content will explore the powerful social forces of oppression and its effects on women, lesbians and gay men, people with disabilities, the aged, and racial and ethnic minorities.  Different types of oppression and the significant impact each has on a particular group will be identified.  Using a systems/ecological approach which addresses specific vulnerabilities created by oppression, the course will focus on the dynamics of human behavior within this broad social context as well as address the impact of biological and psychological influences.


Course Objectives

  1. Recognize the many forms of  discrimination and oppression as they are used against various minority populations.

  2. Students will identify how each  has incorporated the values systems of society which foster discrimination and oppression and impact on his or her ability to provide affirmative and effective social work interventions.

  3. Identify how the dynamics and consequences of socially structured (institutionalized) discrimination and oppression impact on the growth and functioning of individuals, families and oppressed groups.

  4. Become familiar with social work values which affirm the uniqueness and dignity of the client and strive to create an atmosphere of social justice for all.

  5. Become familiar with the biological and psychological influences which impact on behavior.

  6. Explore models of working with individuals, families and small groups from a strengths perspective that incorporate the concepts of  empowerment.

  7. Demonstrate a working knowledge of systems theory in the assessment of the client.

  8. Demonstrate an ability to assess, develop and write a social assessment.

  9. Become familiar with the use of technology in effective social work practice.

Course Requirements

  1. Class attendance and participation are required.

  2. There will be quizzes on each of the required readings.  Students may choose a group activity (e.g. lead a class presentation with discussion on one of the required readings) in place of one of the quizzes.

  3. Students will be required to present a four to six page assessment of a person which takes into account the impact of biological, psychological and cultural influences on behavior.

Assignment Measured By % of Grade
Attendance and Participation Attendance and participation in all classes 20%
Quizzes/Presentation (3) 20% each

Completion of quiz by due date

Presenting and/or facilitating accurate discussion of the major influences addressed in the reading



Double spaced

Free of grammatical and spelling errors

Turned in by due date

Follows outline required



All students are expected to become familiar with and adhere to the guidelines of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics

Students with special learning needs are encouraged to inform the instructor.



Main Text

Berger, R., McBreen, J. & Kifkin, M. 1996. Human Behavior: A Perspective for the Helping Professions.  Allyn & Bacon.
Boykin, K. 1998. One More River to Cross. Anchor Books
Achebe, C. 1996. Things Fall Apart. Anchor Books
Sapphire, R. 1997. Push. Vintage Books
Karufman, S. 1999. Retarded Isn't Stupid, Mom! (Revised Edition)