The actions social workers take are aimed at helping people, communities, and societies attain a sense of mastery, become or remain competent, and achieve or retain a sense of well-being. Such a broad scope of practice necessitates a theoretical foundation that is anchored in the concept of human competence. This text explores the concept of competence, and shows how it is expressed in a variety of theoretical frameworks, including traditional models and emerging theoretical approaches. This approach toward human behavior focuses on mutually beneficial interactions between people and society, and emphasizes the connections between individuals and various systems that influence their lives. It enables the social worker to conduct multilevel client assessments, gaining an understanding of how clients function within their total environment, and plan a range of helpful interventions. The volume is organized around the competency-based approach to social work education, adopted by the Council on Social Work Education. Written by leading analysts in the field, Competence is essential reading for the field of social work.