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

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Unit III - Components



* The person’s behaviour has this purpose and meaning: to gain satisfactions, to avoid or dissolve frustration and to maintain his balance-in-movement.

* Whether a person’s behaviour is or is not effective in promoting his well-being depends in large part upon the functioning of his personality structure.

* The structure and functioning of personality are the products of inherited and constitutional equipment in continuous interaction with the physical, psychological and social environment the person experiences.

* A person at any stage of his life – not only is a product of nature and nurture but is also and always in process of being in the present and becoming in the future.

* The person’s ‘being and becoming’ behaviour is both shaped and judged by the expectations he and his culture have invested in the statussocial role he carries. and the major

* The person who comes as a client to a social agency is always under stress.

* To understand human behaviour and individual difference, Grace Mathew has given the following propositions:

  1. An individual’s behaviour is conditioned by his/her environment and his/her experiences. Behaviour refers to reacting, feeling, thinking, etc. the conditions and influences surrounding the person constitutes the environment.
  2. For human growth and development it is essential that certain basic needs should be met. (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs)
  3. Emotional needs are real and they cannot be met or removed through intellectual reasoning.
  4. Behaviour is purposeful and is in response to the individual’s physical and emotional needs.
  5. Other people’s behaviour can be understood only in terms of ones own emotional and intellectual comprehension.


* The problems within the purview of social casework are those which vitally affect or are affected by a person’s social functioning.

* The multifaceted and dynamic nature of the client’s problem makes necessary the selection by caseworker and client some part of it as the unit for work. The choice of problem depends on (1) whether the problem is the client’s problem (2) leadership given by case worker depends upon the professional knowledge and judgment and (3) agency’s function e.g. hospital, etc.

* Problems in any part of a human being’s living tend to have chain reactions. …..> cause > effect > cause..

* Any problem which a person encounters has both an objective and subjective significance – quality and intensity of our feelings.

* Not only do the external (objective) and internal (subjective) aspects of the problem co-exist, but either may be the cause of the other.

* Whatever the nature of the problem the person brings to social agency; it is always accompanied and often complicated by the problem of being a client.

* Problems can be categorized as follows (Grace Mathew):

1. Problems related to illness and disabilities

2. Problems due to lack of material resources.

3. School related problems.

4. Problems related to institutionalization.

5. Behaviour problems.

6. Problems of marital discord.

7. Problem situations needing a follow-up service.

8. Needs related to rehabilitation of people.

9. Clients caught up in social problems like gambling, prostitution, alcoholism, drug addiction and unmarried motherhood.


* The social agency is an organization fashioned to express the will of a society or of some group in that society as to social welfare – community decides the need of the agency.

* Each social agency develops a program by which to meet the particular areas of need with which it sets out to deal. It depends on factors like money, knowledge and competence of the agency staff, the interest, resources available and support of the community.

* The social agency has a structure by which it organizes and delegates its responsibilities and tasks, and governing policies and proceduresHierarchy – roles and responsibilities clear, designated and delegated – collaborationprocedures and policies, understand the usefulness. by which it stabilizes and systematizes its operations. – among workers –

* The social agency is a living, adaptable organism susceptible to being understood and changed, much as other living organisms. – Past, present and future – not static and fixed.

* Every staff member in an agency speaks and acts for some part of the agency’s function, and the case worker represents the agency in its individualized problem solving help. – Case worker not an independent professional practitioner – case worker speaks and acts for the agency – psychologically identified with its purpose and policies

* The case worker while representing his agency is first and foremost a representative of his profession. – must know and be committed with feeling to the philosophy that guides the practice of the social work profession.

* Agency – Private e.g. funding agencies and Public e.g. family welfare orgs.

* Primary e.g. NGO and Secondary e.g. Hospitals, schools, etc.

* Based on functions – child welfare, family welfare, education, specialization based.

* Also differs based on Source of support, Professional authority, Clientele they serve, Services they offer, Goals of the agency, etc.


* In order to understand what the case work process must include in its problem-solving help, it is necessary to take stock first of the kinds of blockings which occur in people’s normal problem-solving efforts. The six are:

1. If necessary tangible means and resources are not available to the person.

2. Out of ignorance or misapprehension about the facts of the problem or the facts of existing ways of meeting it.

3. If the person is depleted or drained of emotional or physical energy.

4. Some problems arouse high feelings in a person – emotions so strong that they overpower his reason and defy his conscious controls.

5. Problem may lie within the person; he may have become subject to, or victim of, emotions that chronically, over a long time, have governed his thinking and action.

6. Haven’t developed systematic habits or orderly method of things and planning.

* The intent of the case work process is to engage the person himself both in working on and coping with the one or several problems that confront him and to do so by such means as may stand him in good stead as he goes forward in living. The means are

1. The provision of a therapeutic relationship

2. The provision of a systematic and flexible way and

3. Provision of such opportunities and aids.

* All competent problem-solving, as contrasted with trail-and-error method, contains three essential operations. Urgent pressures will often dislodge their sequence, but any conscious effort to move from quandary (difficulty) to solution must involve these modes of action:

1. Study (fact-finding)

2. Diagnosis (thinking about and organizing facts into a meaningful goal-pointed explanation) and

3. Treatment (implementation of conclusions as to what and how of action upon the problem).

* Finally, for the solution or mitigation of many problems there must exist certain material means or accessible opportunities which are available to the needful person and which he can be helped to use. Kinds of resources that a person may need are money, medical care, nursery schools, scholarships, foster homes, recreation facilities, etc.

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