SHARP: A Framework for Addressing the Contexts of Poverty

Many urban communities in the United
States have experienced decades of
systematic residential segregation,
resulting in concentrated poverty and
its associated consequences, such as
violence, trauma, and hopelessness.
Social workers and other human service
providers often respond to the
consequences of poverty and
oppression, while ignoring the
oppression itself; in essence suggesting
that the client is experiencing challenges
because of individual or personal
actions. The SHARP framework is a lens
through which providers may view
issues of oppression impacting their
clients, and partner with clients to
create plans to take action to impact
oppressive policies and structural issues.

The five components in the SHARP
framework are: 1) Structural
oppression; 2) Historical context; 3) Analysis of role; 4) Reciprocity and mutuality; and 5) Power. Through the framework, both macro and clinical social workers can focus their work with clients on addressing both the root causes of poverty and their consequences.

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This framework encourages social workers and other service providers to remove themselves from the silos of being either a clinician OR a macro practitioner.  


In the same way that we view human beings as whole and complex, we must begin viewing the  solutions to society’s problems as wide, complex, and requiring new and innovative approaches. With that view, the social worker is also whole, and views the work with the complexity it deserves.

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Socially-Engineered Trauma and a New Social Work Pedagogy: Socioeducation

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The term socioeducation is a method for discussing macro social systems with clients to support trauma recovery. The goal is catalyzing client and worker participation in social justice movements seeking to disrupt oppressive systems. 
Recent social science data identifies white supremacist racism, neoliberal economic policies and cisgender-heteropatriarchy as three primary systemic engines of traumatic outcomes at the individual level. Social work pedagogy, however, fails to identify such experiences as socially-engineered trauma (SET). Lacking an explicitly anti-oppressive pedagogy, social workers attend to micro-level traumas while ignoring the macro forces leading to trauma exposure among certain populations.
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