May 16, 2008


Summer Session 1 credit Social Work class - Register now!


Professor Helen Kivnick, Social Work: SW 5810, 1 credit

June 20 & June 27, 2008 • 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM • 39 Peters Hall

Vital involvement practice (VIP) is an emerging strategy for promoting client strengths and assets, while ameliorating problems and treating disorders. The approach is useful with clients of all ages, explicitly focusing both clinician and client on identifying multifaceted client strengths, and on creatively using these strengths to achieve specific client goals.

VIP represents an application or “translation?, in practice, of Erik H. Erikson's bio-psycho-social theory of life-cycle development. As described by Erikson near the end of his life, psychosocial health rests on an individual’s vital involvement with such elements of the environment as people, activities, materials, ideas, relationships, institutions, animals, and more. Vital involvement is the basis for developing individual strengths and for exercising these strengths in the process of living robustly through the life cycle. Underlying VIP, therefore, is the conviction that along with treating client problems and pathologies, practitioners (social service, mental health, and health care providers) must also attend to individuals’ strengths, assets, and abilities to make contributions to the social environment. This construct of vital involvement was developed in a five-year collaboration by Erik Erikson, Joan Erikson, and Helen Kivnick, and was explicitly introduced in their book Vital Involvement in Old Age (1986).

VIP rests on two specific clinical skills – both mediated by newly developed data gathering tools. The first skill is that of promoting vital involvement (PVI). The second skill is the ability to utilize PVI in a 5-step process that, broadly, works to identify client life strengths and then utilize these strengths both to overcome immediate obstacles, and also achieve client goals.

Students will be introduced to VIP, its theoretical foundations (in social work, psychology, and occupational science), and its clinical components. After developing initial facility with PVI, in class, students will work through the complete 5-step process with the professor’s guidance – also in class. Each student will also work through the steps, out of class, with a “friendly volunteer.? Sample protocols and case material from pilot research will be discussed in class, along with the thinking that underlies each protocol.

Students will understand the principles and theoretical foundations of VIP, and with how to utilize these principles to help empower clients in living their everyday lives.
Students will be familiar with the skill of PVI and with the sequential steps of the VIP approach.
Students will have completed two PVI worksheets and two VIP assessment-and-life-planning workbooks.
Students will know enough about elements of the VIP approach to know how it can be incorporated into their own practice, and to identify needs for further instruction

Posted by lind0449 at May 16, 2008 10:16 AM