Journal Article

Social Workers who Move into Private Practice: The Impact of the Socio‐economic Context

Kate van Heugten and Ken Daniels

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 31, issue 5, pages 739-755
Published in print October 2001 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2001 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Social Workers who Move into Private Practice: The Impact of the Socio‐economic Context

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This paper is based on a doctoral research project, conducted in New Zealand between 1993 and 1999, that considered factors in the movement of social workers into private practice (van Heugten, 1999). The study employed a qualitative methodology in which 33 private practitioners were interviewed using semi‐structured questionnaires. All respondents had at least a first professional qualification in social work. The research grew from a realization that there had been an upsurge in private practice since the mid‐1980s, during a time of increasingly right wing government policies, and free market philosophies. These policies and philosophies led to a radical restructuring of government and not‐for‐profit organizations that employed social workers. Some workers responded to the changes by seeking alternatives to organizational employment. Concurrently opportunities for private practice were created by the availability of third party payments for counselling of survivors of sexual abuse and parties to marital disputes. A similar pattern of confluence of expanding social work private practice and free market ideology has been noted in countries such as Great Britain and Australia. The implications of this movement into private practice are considered in relation to professional social work associations.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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