Empowerment of oppressed clients requires of social workers to act as advocates and to assist clients in changing the dynamics which contribute to self-oppression or the oppression of others. The paper explores a five-stage process wherein oppressed individuals contribute to the social order that devalues them and, in the process, also participate in the oppression of others. The practice implications of a structural approach to social work committed to client empowerment in each of these stages are described.

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