NASW Members: We Need Your Help! You are Invited to Become a Part of the Encyclopedia of Social Work Community

NASW is pleased to announce that NASW Press with its publishing partner, Oxford University Press, is in the process of updating the Encyclopedia of Social Work, 20th edition—the definitive social work resource and an essential tool for all who study, teach, or practice social work.

The Encyclopedia covers over 400 topics in four volumes, yet—because of the incredible work that social workers do across the United States and around the world—we have not yet exhausted topics possible for coverage.

In service of the mission set forth by the distinguished editors of the 20th edition—“to capture and reflect the knowledge base of social work” and to ensure that the Encyclopedia continues “as an ever-changing and ever-expanding endeavor”—NASW and Oxford will be updating this publication on an ongoing basis, with the goal of keeping the text “evergreen” by providing continual online additions and amendments as trends emerge and changes occur.  

There are certainly timely topics and cutting-edge trends that should be included as we move forward with updates. As we do so, NASW is asking for your input, and welcome your thoughts and recommendations!

Please click here for a complete list of the topics currently included in the Encyclopedia .

We ask that you submit your recommendations to Elizabeth Hoffler at so that together we can make the Encyclopedia a document that continues to represent the depth and breadth of our profession.


  1. Kim Kali~Schultes

    How about some of the cutting edge research coming from quantum physics and the medical arena on brain body coherence. Along with complementary and alternative medicine treatments for overall improvement of one’s health, functioning and overall lifestyle. The health of any community is made up from the health of the individuals within that community.

  2. I do have something to recommend to you – Tocqueville’s notion of a moral hazard – something which can quite comfortably be applied to social work. As social work is an extension of the welfare system, and as we already know that welfare encourages and compounds the very conditions it was designed to overcome, so it seems with social work. In other words, the therapeutic approach has an in-built tendency to backfire.

  3. I suggest expanding the gerontology components, specifically include elder justice. A key area is elder abuse (and neglect). Research now has some proven forensic markers, such as issues of bruising and capacity. Financial exploitation is also an important part of this issue, with recent national prevalence data. Social workers have key roles in supporting elder justice. References include Dr. K. Wilber (USC), Dr. L. Mosqueda (UCI), The Archstone Foundation, NIA (Sid Stahl).

  4. compassion fatigue and secondary trauma

  5. Leslie Perez-Whitehead

    Learning Disabilities, specifically what types there are, when they are often seen/manifest, where to refer for testing, what the Dx or multiple Dx mean, and how to help the child and family.

    Attachment theories and clinical interventions.

    Substance abuse and specifically substance abuse in youth and adolescents, Tx interventions, different levels of care, coordination of care.

    Sexual acting out behaviors in youth, differential Dx, Tx interventions.

    Trauma as it impacts different ages. While adults and children can all be affected by trauma, the signs and symptoms of trauma in children are often very different from those typically seen in adults. Tx specifically targeted to different ages.

    Art therapy, play therapy.

  6. Relationship based therapies for kids with Autism.
    People need to learn there are more options to ABA. Flooritme is a great approach!

  7. it shouldn’t be “transgender people,” it should be divided into trans youth, trans adolescents, trans men, and trans women. In addition, there should be information on being the partner of a trans person and a family member of a trans person, because those all come with different circumstances.

    animal assisted therapy

    HIV/AIDS should also be divided into age groups and into when diagnosis occurred. It is a very different experience for a 19 yr old to be diagnosed today (with it being a well-known illness and medical options for treatment) than for a 19 yr old 20 years ago (when it was essentially unknown, taboo, and more of a death sentence). Plus, those living with it for a long length of time have different medical needs and a different relationship with it than someone newly diagnosed.

    Of the biographies, Bayard Rustin and Harvey Milk need to be added, as does Audre Lorde.

    Overall, it’s amazing to me how behind this encyclopedia is on LGBT issues and influential people. If whomever is in charge would like, I’m happy to offer more assistance. Please feel free to contact me.

    Thanks! (Kryss Shane,

  8. Domestic Violence, Dual Diagnosis

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