In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Psychosocial Intervention with Women

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Works
  • References Works
  • Textbooks
  • Journals
  • Specialized Organizations
  • Research
  • Policy
  • Program Development

Social Work Psychosocial Intervention with Women
Martha J. Markward
  • LAST REVIEWED: 06 May 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 13 January 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0128


This article focuses on psychosocial interventions with women and emphasizes effective practice in addressing the mental health and/or mental well-being needs of women. Karen Sowers, in the foreword (p. ix) to Evidence-Based Practice with Women: Toward Effective Social Work Practice with Low-Income Women (Markward and Yegidis 2010, cited under Textbooks), noted that there is “growing recognition of and reliance on evidence-based practice in the professions of medicine, psychology, social work, nursing, criminal justice, and public health.” In particular, she noted that social-work practitioners are challenged to understand and utilize expeditiously the most effective interventions available to them in working with particular populations of individuals. How to most efficiently address the mental health and psychological needs of women should be of special interest to social workers in the 21st century.

Introductory Works

Several authors have addressed the policies and practices that have affected the social, economic, or psychological needs of women in the United States over time. In doing so, many authors have addressed feminism, strengths, and resilience as key concepts in practicing with women. Within the context that policy drives practice, Abramovitz 1996 contributes a seminal work that illustrates how policies have historically affected women negatively. Herman 1992 provides practitioners with the knowledge and understanding they need to address the psychological needs of women that result from violence in intimate-partner relationships. While several authors (Hanmer and Statham 1989, Van Den Bergh 1995) emphasized the importance of feminist thought in practice with women, Peterson and Lieberman 2001 calls for practitioners to acknowledge the strengths of and resilience in women. Most recently, Dáil 2012 addresses how the current relationship between women and poverty affects women’s mental health.

  • Abramovitz, Mimi. 1996. Regulating the lives of women: Social welfare policy from colonial times to the present. Rev. ed. Boston: South End.

    This book is a beautifully cited historical look at the policies that have regulated the lives of women in the United States over several centuries. The author uses a socialist-feminist lens to describe the policies and practices at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels that have regulated the lives of women since the early colonial era.

  • Dáil, Paula vW. 2012. Women and poverty in 21st century America. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

    The intent of this book is to promote a better understanding of what being female and poor in modern-day America is really like. In addition, the author views America’s welfare policies through the lens of years spent doing poverty research, and she emphasizes how politics drive poverty policy decisions. Throughout the book, the author highlights how social welfare policies in the United States affect women’s mental health.

  • Hanmer, Jalna, and Daphne Statham. 1989. Women and social work: Towards a woman-centered practice. Chicago: Lyceum.

    This book charts the changes in the lives of women using social services, with the aim of reflecting on how nonsexist, women-centered practice can be nurtured and developed. The content includes exploration of the areas of poverty, work (including providing support for children and adults), violence, and familial relationships, but with a stronger emphasis on the important diversities related to age, disability, and employment, as well as to race, class, and sexuality.

  • Herman, Judith Lewis. 1992. Trauma and recovery. New York: Basic Books.

    This book illustrates an understanding of problems associated with trauma. Herman draws on her own research in domestic violence and the literature of combat veterans and victims of political terror. She shows the parallels between private terrors, such as rape, and public traumas, such as terrorism.

  • Peterson, K. Jean, and Alice A. Lieberman, eds. 2001. Building on women’s strengths: A social work agenda for the twenty-first century. 2d ed. New York: Haworth.

    This book examines how we can take women’s strengths and use them to build a world that is validating, liberating, and inclusive, and in so doing, it explores the ways a woman-centered worldview can transform social policy, social services, and direct practice.

  • Van Den Bergh, Nan, ed. 1995. Feminist practice in the 21st century. Washington, DC: NASW.

    This book demonstrates how the feminist standpoints of knowing, connecting, caring, and diversity can help practitioners build communities and solve problems, and as such, it contains eighteen chapters authored by a variety of experts and organized by methods, field practice, and special populations.

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