MSW's Students (2007-2009), Christ College, Bangalore, India

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Unit II - Principles of Social Casework


I. Principle of Individualization:

  • * “Individualization is the recognition and understanding of each client’s unique qualities and the differential use of principles and methods in assisting each toward a better adjustment.”
  • * Individualization is based upon the right of human beings to be individuals.
  • * And to be treated not just as human being but as a human being with his personal differences.
  • * Client – Case Worker enter into a close relationship.
  • * Problems may be similar but factors involved in their causation are entirely different from each other.
o Lack of material resources
o Lack of appropriate information
o Health related handicap
o Stressful situations
o Personality features

  • *Individual capacity is different. Therefore it requires differential treatment.
  • * Prof. Walter A. Friedlander –“The principle of individualization stipulates that the case worker tries to relate and help each client as an individual, as a person in a situation involving a unique combination of biological and social forces.” “Individualization is the recognition and understanding of each client’s unique quality and the differential use of principle and the methods in assisting each towards a better adjustment. In individualization individuals are to be treated not just as a human being but as the human being with his personal differences.”
  • * Theories of Psychology, Sociology, Medicine applies to all the persons, same time he has some character which are unique to him only.
  • § different background/ heredity/ environment.
  • § minute and subtle psychological and constitutional factors
  • § inter- play between bio-psycho-social factors and environment
  • § situation of the client
  • § his problems of social functioning
  • § dominant mode of adjustments
  • § life – style / activities
  • § his ego – strength
  • § intellectual level ( innate intelligence)
  • § socio economic situation
  • § co-operation

* Each person has different internal and external stimuli. His emotions and memories influence his thinking, feelings and behaviour in an individual manner.

* Individual capacity differs.

* Client requires a differential treatment.

* Select technique according to the intellectual level, socio-economic situation, ego-strength, etc. of the client

* Pay attention to a specific needs, problems, situation, resources and capacities of each client.

* SCW is to help as individual live a socially productive and individually satisfying life limited to his capacities and social realities.

* Role of Case Worker:

(a) Free from bias and prejudice

(b) Knowledge of human behavior

(c) Ability to listen and observe

(d) Ability to move at the client’s pace

(e) Ability to enter the feelings of the client

(f) Ability to keep perspective ( keep direction of total situation)

* Essentials of Individualization:

(a) Thoughtfulness in details - comfortable room, chair, water, fan, lighting, no interruption.

(b) Keeping appointments.

(c) Privacy in interviews.

(d) Language.

(e) Encouraging the client

(f) Flexibility

(g) Preparation for interviews

* E.g.: runaway youths / helping unemployed people secure training or employment / suicidal / placing a homeless child in an adoptive or foster home / protective services to abused children and families / individuals with sexual dysfunction / alcoholics / terminal illness / probation or parole officer / single parents / rehabilitation team.

II. Principle of Acceptance:

* “Acceptance is a principle of action where in the Case worker perceives and deals with the client as he really is, including his strengths and weakness, his congenial(agreeable) and uncongenial(disagreeable) qualities, his positive and negative feelings, his constructive and destructive attitude and behavior, maintaining all the while a sense of the client’s innate dignity and personal worth.”

· Unconditional acceptance of the client

· Acceptance and approval

· Acceptance implies liking the client irrespective of his negative qualities and conduct

· An expression of goodwill towards the client

· Conveying deep concern and active understanding to the client who is liked by the worker in spite of his problem-behavior

* Principle of Acceptance is based on the assumptions of humanitarianism.

* The purpose of acceptance is therapeutic.

* Respect for their capacity and worth, beliefs in their capacity to grow and change and cope with situations.

* Relationship of Case worker and Client emerges under two diverse conditions:


i) Client attempts to weaken the interview due to psychological tensions.

ii) Case worker tries to strengthen the interview with the help of his experience and professional skill.

i) Client - inferiority complex

ii) Case worker – provides fill sympathy and dignity, takes keen interest on his problems

Client reveals many facts which help to understand the solution of his problem

* If disliked by us, we may behave to keep him off from ourselves and no positive relationship will be possible.

* Acceptance involves observance of common courtesies, respect for his ideas, and treat him as equal to self, eg: leaving chair, wishing him, receiving, sending off, respecting appointments, etc. (indicators.)

* Purpose of Acceptance - to respect, to help, to add, to comfort, therapeutic understanding, acknowledging, receiving, etc.

* Quality of acceptance - warmth, courtesy, listening, respect, concern, interest, consistent, maturity, fairness, willingness to enter and share life exp., etc.

* Roles of Case worker:

(a) Attention should be focused on the needs of client and not of the CWer.

(b) CWer should recognize the client’s potential for self-help.

(c) CWer must have a clear awareness of the purpose for which help is required.

(d) CWer must possess self awareness.

* Obstacles to Acceptance:

(a) Insufficient knowledge of patterns of human behaviour.

(b) Non-acceptance of something in self.

(c) Imputing to the client one’s own feelings.

(d) Bias and prejudice.

(e) Loss of respect for others.

(f) Over-identification.

* Kubler – Ross’s Five Stages of Dying (as emotional reactions):

1. Denial: “No, not me.”

- Clients perceive themselves as weak, sinful or irresponsible.

- Clients often mourn the loss of that which must be changed.

- Constructive changes are not apt to occur for people in denial.

- Case workers need to focus on the denial and explore why the person believes there is no problem.

- E.g.: Drinking problem – denial for 20 years – 1st and 2nd marriage – road accident – excuses for everything.

2. Rage and anger: “Why me?”

- Client resents the fact that they have to change while others do not.

- Anyone can be the target of their anger.

- Use anger to avoid discussing the issue at hand.

- Anger can be directed at the Case worker for confronting the reality.

- Case worker allows the client to ventilate his anger – reduces his intensity, empathize, emotional support.

- E.g.: teenager who is pregnant.

3. Bargaining: “Yes, me, but…”

- Clients begin to accept the problem, but will bargain for ‘just one more time’.

- Promise to be good, do something in exchange, try to change a few circumstances and believe that few changes will allow them to continue in their old ways.

- Case worker confronts clients with the reality of their circumstances and their bargaining efforts.

- E.g.: smoking when tense, social drinking.

4. Depression: “Yes, me.”

- Become very quiet.

- Stop denying their problem.

- Anger has subsided, and they no longer try to bargain.

- Gain insight onto their particular problem and realize they must change.

- However, alternatives are nit yet perceived as viable solutions.

- Blame themselves for their problems and frequently mourn what they will have to give up.

- Case worker needs to convey empathy and help clients see that their problems are not overwhelming.

- They need hope; frequently this can be accomplished by helping them develop resolution strategies.

5. Acceptance: “I have a problem, but it’s all right.”

- Clients make a concrete effort at this stage to work out alternatives, not only those suggested, but also some of their own.

- Attitude will be of “I can do it!” and of hope.

- Fear is still present but much reduced.

III. Principle of Non-judgmental attitude:

* “Non-judgmental attitude is the recognition that the case worker’s role is to understand and help the client rather than judge or condemn them.”

* The principle is based on the conviction that the case work function excludes assigning guilt or innocence or degree of client responsibility for causation of the problems and needs.

* But includes making evaluative judgments about the attitudes, standards or actions of the client.

* E.g.: Criminal, though the society has already has already judged the criminal through its legal machinery, the social worker assumes a posture of a non-condemnatory acceptance and helpfulness, affirming the individual as a person worthy of attention.

* Role of Case worker:

(a) Case worker must help the client understand the values and standards laid down by society and the law.

(b) Case worker must be sensitive to client’s feelings.

(c) Case worker must herself be sensitive be aware / clear of the value systems that exist in her community.

* Obstacles:

(a) Any element of bias or prejudice prevents the case worker from being objective.

(b) A premature assurance that the problem has been understood has to be avoided.

(c) No reference to other people with similar problems and no comparisons.

(d) Avoid transference.

IV. Principle of Purposeful expression of feelings:

* “Purposeful expression of feelings is the recognition of the client’s need to express his feelings freely, especially his negative feelings. It is the client’s need for expression at a time when his problem is partially or predominantly emotional.”

* Need to express feelings especially the negative feelings.

* Frustration can result, if the basic psychological needs for expression are deprived.

* Case worker listens purposefully neither discouragingly nor condemning.

* Sometimes they can be actively stimulated.

* Purposes for Expression of feelings:

(a) Relieves pressure and tension (to let-off steam), help client see the problem more adequately.

(b) Helps case worker understand what the problem means to the client.

(c) Listening is a good form of psychological support.

(d) Sometimes the negative feelings may be the real problem.

(e) It depends on the Case worker – Client relationship.

* Limitations:

(a) Agency function limits (beyond the reach of agency to fulfill expectations) – time factor and case load of the case worker may make it impossible for case worker to spend more time with client.

(b) Client may over dependent on the case worker.

(c) Care must be taken to prevent the client from putting too much burden on the worker.

(d) At times hostility shown might be an unhealthy attention-seeking device.

(e) Transference / counter-transference.

* Role of Case worker:

(a) Allow for communication, stimulate client to talk.

(b) Show a genuine desire to help.

(c) Case worker must create a congenial atmosphere in which the client feels comfortable to talk to.

(d) Should also participate in the conversation actively.

* Transference: Dewald - “Transference is a form of displacement in which the individual unconsciously displaces onto a current object those drives defenses, attitudes, feelings and responses which were experienced or developed in relationship with earlier objects (mainly persons) in the individual’s life.”

- Unconscious attitudes and associated feelings transferred from the past onto the present relationship, usually irrational.

- The client transfers these into the present interaction because of some similarity of the actors in the current situation with those he has encountered earlier in life (i.e. childhood).

- May be positive (love, liking, etc) or negative (irrational, hostile feelings.

- Can be tackled by clarification (clarifying reality), interpretation, spacing the interview, etc.

* Counter – transference:

- Social worker also has unconscious tendency to transfer on the client.

- The job of the case worker to recognize his feelings and must control them.

* Types of Transference:

- Positive: E.g. Parents have shown to be friendly and helpful, the client will transfer a desire to help, friendship, guidance, emotional support and interest.

- Negative: E.g. Parents not shown interest and indifferent, the client will have feelings of unfriendliness, suspicion and distrust.

* Uses of Transference (3 stages):

1. Understanding the transference – his behaviour, unconscious need of the client.

2. Utilizing the transference – integrate past and present experiences and earlier relationships.

3. Interpreting the transference – careful analysis of his unconscious defenses.

V. Principle of Controlled Emotional Involvement:

* “Controlled emotional involvement is the case worker’s sensitivity to the client’s feelings, an understanding of their meaning, and a purposeful and appropriate response to the client’s feelings.”

* Need for communication – case worker should not be emotionally involved with the client during the case work process.

* Response to the client on the feeling level is the most important psychological element in the case work relationship and most difficult of the case work skills.

* Communication is a two-way process.

* One person speaks directly and he expects response, need to maintain a certain degree of detachment.

* Communication should be a combination of ideas and feelings.

* Purpose of controlled emotional involvement:

(a) Case worker’s sensitivity (understanding) to the client’s feelings.

(b) Understand the meaning of clients’ feelings.

(c) Purposeful and appropriate response to the client’s feelings.

(d) Psychological support and to encourage.

(e) For clarification, to stop further expression.

* Three components of CEI:

1. Sensitivity: seeing and listening to the feelings of the client.

2. Understanding: to understand the meaning of the feelings in relation to the client.

3. Response: verbal and non verbal.

* Communicate to the client through some form of words, facial expression, and tone of speech or of action.

VI. Principle of Client Self-determination:

* “Client self-determination is the recognition of the right and need of the client to have freedom in making his own choice and decision in the case work process.”

* Conviction that every individual has the innate ability to make his own choices, decisions under normal circumstances.

* Any case worker who prevents a client from taking decisions is unethical and unprofessional.

* Case worker is only an enabler who helps the client through his expertise, to take the best possible decision and action in the circumstances.

* Three basic assumptions:

1. Fundamental right to make his own decisions.

2. Concept of democratic living.

3. For effective treatment.

* Role of Case worker:

(a) DO - help the client see the problem clearly / with perspective.

(b) DO - should activate the client’s own dormant resources.

(c) DO - create a favorable environment in which the client feels free to grow and work out a solution to his problem.

(d) DO - make them aware of the resources available in the community.

(e) DON’T – not assume the principle decision-making role and allow the client to play a subordinate role.

(f) DON’T – not probe unnecessarily unless it is relevant to the problem.

(g) DON’T - not manipulate any decision directly / indirectly.

(h) DON’T – not urge the clients to accept his decision.

* Limitations:

(a) It is relative, not absolute.

(b) Arising out of civil law. E.g. criminals.

(c) Arising out of moral law.

(d) Arising out of agency function.

(e) Client’s capacity for making positive and constructive decision-making. E.g. children, immature adults, psychotics, MR, adolescents with personality problems.

VII. Principle of Confidentiality:

* “Confidentiality is the preservation of secret information concerning the client which is disclosed in the professional relationship.”

* It is basic right of the client/

* Ethical obligation of the case worker.

* Necessary for effective case work service.

* Client must have a firm faith that the facts disclosed by him will remain confidential.

* Information is shared with professionals within / outside agency with client’s permission.

* Obligation binds all equally to preserve the information.

* Limitations:

(a) Duty to self (conflict arises when he has to decide whether to reveal or not).

(b) Right of other (revelation would harm another or not).

(c) Right of the social worker (grave damage to social worker).

(d) Right of Agency (endanger right of agency).

(e) Right of Society as a whole (would it harm community).


Carol said...

hey hi.. im doign MSW too.. and your blog is soo useful to me you have no idea.. the tihg is i've got to write tons of assignments cause i jpoined the course late... and i appracite if you could name a few books on social case work thats got Video recording and methods of recording.. etc.. thanks.. it'd be really helpful

Daniel sundar said...

its really usefulll .... and initially i was so disturbed to see very less documents on social work .... thanx for the document ,,,, lets build the documents together...

Nagaraja said...

Information is really good, But it is difficult to view an read this infomation. Try to simplify da view. please

praveenk said...

its really useful................

tumblyin said...

Could you plz tell me who provided the principle of confidentiality?

tumblyin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joshua samuel said...

hi.just want to know about the challenges and barriers in case work.
Thank you