Forty Years in Social Work is a personal memoir that blends a recounting of Christopher Rhoades Dÿkema’s experience with the search for a theory of social work that helps to explain the social and psychological context of his practice. This professional work reveals many facets of Dÿkema’s life as a social worker from the 1960s into the first decade of the 21st century. It is a testament to his commitment to the profession's need for theory building; it presents a history of social welfare over 40 years; and it links accounts of his interaction with clients to an effort to place his practice experience in the broadest possible context. The stories are sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, and sometimes poignant, but they are always distinguished by Dÿkema’s pursuit of the theory or theories that would best explain what he experienced.
Forty Years in Social Work offers practitioners and students an opportunity to reflect on their practice; to think about the development of social work theory; to review the history of social work from 1968 to 2008; and to reflect on how the enormous changes in the political, economic, and social environment have affected what social workers do. It touches on many contemporary practice issues, including child sexual abuse, social work with immigrants, changes in health care, and hospital social work. A useful guide for those entering the social work profession, Forty Years in Social Work offers an opportunity to reflect on what social work was, is, and might become.