HUMS 2221: Theoretical Foundations in Human Service Practice

Students are introduced to various theories for human service practice. By examining a range of theories appropriate to professional practice, the link between theory and practice is established. Participants integrate theories into their practice framework and investigate the suitability of various theories in practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities.


  • Examine the relationship between theory and practice.
  • Apply the principles of behavioural, psychodynamic, humanistic, and systemic theories in practice.
  • Describe and integrate normative developmental, cultural, and gender perspectives into the process of change within the context of practice.
  • Explore and express a current theoretical approach, perspective, and application.
  • Compare and contrast how the helping relationship is formed and informed by therapeutic approaches.

Course outline

  • Lesson 1: Introduction to the Course. What is Theory?
  • Lesson 2: Introduction to Human Service Theory: An Indigenous Perspective
  • Lesson 3: Human Service Knowledge, Theory and Practice
  • Lesson 4: Human Service Theories, Frameworks, Models, and Practice.
  • Lesson 5: Social GGRRAAACCEEESSS: Human Diversity and Analyses of Social Difference. Movie Crash
  • Lesson 6: Problem-solving theories: Systems and ecological approaches
  • Lesson 7: Problem-solving theories: Psychodynamic Approaches
  • Lesson 8: Problem-solving theories: Behaviourism and cognitive-behavioural responses.
  • Lesson 9: Empowerment Theories: Strengths and Narrative Approaches
  • Lesson 10: Social Change Theories: Feminist, Anti-oppression and Rights-based Ideas
  • Lesson 11: Reflective Practice and Theory
  • Lesson 12: Theory and Practice Integration

Required text and materials

Students will receive the following:

  1. Connolly, M., & Harms, L. (2019). Social work: From theory to practice (3rd ed.). Port Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.
    Type: Textbook, ISBN: 978-1-108-46084-2


To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1: Knowledge Sharing 1 15%
Assignment 2: Knowledge Sharing 2 15%
Assignment 3: Knowledge Sharing 3 15%
Assignment 4: Theory to Practice Application 20%
Final Project: Theory to Practice Application (mandatory) 35%
Total 100%

Please note that for this course to apply to the completion of your Social Service Worker Certificate, you must obtain a C grade (60%), or higher, overall in the course.

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the Learning Environment's "Mail" tool or by phone. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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