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What is Macro Practice?


In my first blog post, I mentioned macro practice. So, what is it? Well, the term macro can best be compared to the term micro. Micro means small, as in micro-organism or micro-brew. Macro is the opposite; it means large, substantial. Micro practice in social work really focuses on helping at the individual level. For example, a person with depression or anxiety might work through some of the related challenges with the help of a clinical social worker.

Macro practice has a broader perspective, attempting to consider and adjust the systems in place which may cause or contribute to problems like depression. For example, many people who have mental health issues such as depression or anxiety also have economic insecurity. An individual is more likely to have mental health issues when she is worried about being evicted from her home, losing her job, or contracting an illness without having money or insurance to pay for the medical bills.

While a clinical social worker might be able to connect such a person to different solutions for these issues, a macro social worker would take strides to correct these issues on a more global scale. Some of the ways in which macro practitioners are trying to make these corrections include: lobbying for a living wage; developing and expanding programs and processes that keep vulnerable individuals and families in their homes or allow for those who have been displaced to find permanent housing faster; and working to keep and improve upon the current system of universal healthcare.

I believe that the world needs social workers who are operating at all levels. I also feel that there needs to be a clear line of communication among the levels, as social workers can inform each other and adjust to any new or changing needs in a timely fashion. But I also know that more social workers are drawn to micro and mezzo (mid-level) practice, and it's necessary to increase the ranks of well-trained and highly skilled macro practitioners to provide supports to the most people possible.

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