Social Work and Human Services Essay
Engagement
The first step in the social work process and provision of human resources is the engagement with the client. In this step, different skills and techniques are applied in an attempt to make the client comfortable and in a good position to appreciate the services offered by the agency. Effective engagement starts with a warm greeting to the client on the first encounter. The greeting should be in such a way that the verbal and nonverbal communication creates a feeling of empathy and care about the client’s situation. The greeting should therefore provide an opportunity for the client to feel appreciated. It is an opportunity for the professional to build a friendly rapport with the client in preparation for an effective actual therapy. Based on insights from Barry Nazar (2006) about helping interviews, the engagement process seeks to not only gather as much information about the interviewee as possible but also to get into the prevailing situation of the client in detail.
In the engagement stage, it is imperative that the professional demonstrates effectiveness in attending to the client. At this stage, the client is generally assessing the possibility of obtaining a solution to their problem (Bejamin, 1981). Therefore, a professional who fails to demonstrate effectiveness in attending skills can be easily dismissed by the client as not being in a position to help them out in the prevailing situation. Effective attending skills comprise of such competencies as actively listening to the client, maintaining a friendly tone, establishing trust and generally making the client feel comfortable with the process. As Barlow and Hall (2007) put it, there is need to understand the feelings of the client. This should be evident from the very onset through engagement with the client. Therefore, effective attending skills come in handy in building a good rapport with the client further increasing the chances of success of the therapy.
Engagement step also involves the discussion of the services provided by the agency and the extent to which the services meet the needs of the client. In this step, the professional clearly explains to the client on the role of the agency towards the provision of social human services. The client needs to feel that the agency is the most appropriate avenue through which their situation can be effectively resolved. It is also important that the professional seeks to establish the expectations of the client through appropriate use of questions (Bejamin, 1981). The questions asked should highly ethical and devoid of any trace of intimidation or infringement of the personal life of the client. Consequently, a high level of professionalism is needed in order to warrant appropriate response by the client.
The decision on whether the agency can be of help to the client depends on the evaluation of the services offered by the agency and the expectations of the client. For effective therapy to be administered, it is important that the client is confident with the services offered by the agency. In instances where the expectations of the client far outdo the services offered by the agency, it is important that the engagement process is terminated. Based on the information shared between the client and the professional, it is possible to gauge whether the agency’s services are likely to assist the client. Additionally, the application level demonstrated by the professional in conveying the services of the agency form an important aspect for the success of the therapy.
After the decision on whether to help the client is made, the professional provides the appropriate expert to handle the situation in hand based on the expectations of the client. Therefore, agency and worker services need to be offered to the client in terms of the various services offered by the agency. The relationship between the worker and the agency is such that the worker reflects the services of the agency. Therefore, it is only prudent that the client understands the level of services provided by the worker representing the agency. The engagement process cannot be successful without properly outlining the services to be offered by the worker on behalf of the agency to the client. Therefore, it is imperative that the worker understands effective ways through which to obtain information from the client (De Jong & Berg, 2002).
The other important step in the engagement stage is the orientation of the client to the helping process. In this stage, the professional needs to explain in detail to the client the process to be undertaken towards obtaining a solution to the client’s situation. The professional also needs to prepare the client in advance for the possible questions to be asked. By so doing, the client becomes psychologically aware of the expected questions. At this stage, the necessary paperwork is completed. Here, important details about the client are collected and written for record keeping. Such information includes the personal details of the client as well as the nature of the situation under consideration. Special requests by the client can also be written alongside the personal details.
Assessment
Assessment of the client is an important step in the process of developing an effective therapy for the situation faced by the client. Most importantly, assessment of the client-in-situation from various viewpoints such as micro, mezzo, macro and aspects of diversity is an important step towards the identification of the problem. The identity of the client in this case starts with the age bracket of the client. It is evident that the client is older than the therapist. In such a situation, there is need that the therapist observes important aspects of age difference including respecting the client for his age. The revelation from the personal details of the client also indicates that he has been mourning the death of his wife (Ellen). Consequently, the client has been living alone at his old age. These aspects of the client’s situation need to be put into consideration while undertaking any particular therapy.
The micro aspects of the client’s life need to be put into consideration while developing a solution for the case. The assessment phase needs to put into consideration Allan’s micro, mezzo, and macro aspects of diversity (Harrison & Ruch, 2007). The micro aspects of Allan’s social life involve an exploration into the most critical aspects of his life. The professional has to identify the most critical problems facing Allan as per the situation at hand. The assessment of the micro aspects of Allan needs to identify his strengths and the things he seems to perform well. The biological and psychological aspects of Allan’s situation need to be considered. In consideration of the micro aspects of Allan’s situation, it is evident that the biological aspects pertain to his health problem. The worker realizes that although Allan has health problems, he is managing them reasonably well. Additionally, the worker realizes that Allan is a very lonely man. The death of his wife has left him without a companion yet his children are married and living with their husbands. Nevertheless, Allan’s psychological consideration of his situation is improved by the fact that he is a very spiritual person. This is an indication that Allan is spiritually stable in spite of his challenging situation.
Mezzo aspects of the assessment stage seek to identify the prevailing situation of the family. Questions pertaining to the client’s family are addressed. The worker realizes that Allan is in a foreign country and therefore the only members of his family are his two daughters (Lymbery & Butler, 2004). Alan’s wife having died suddenly has thrown him and his daughters into a state of crisis and confusion. They all do not seem to have any means of moving on after the death of their mother. The daughters are all married meaning that Alan has to live alone. This loneliness is especially intense as Alan and his wife had been childhood sweethearts. Other mezzo aspects of Alan’s situation are also considered. For instance, the worker seeks to identify whether Allan has friends who can offer comfort pertaining to his situation. It is also imperative to consider the possibility of Allan to get out of his loneliness and socialize with friends and other people who can offer comfort. The worker realizes that Alan has only a few friends and does not have any particular social outlets apart from the men’s group from the church. The men’s group meetings are held monthly and Alan attends them.
The macro aspects of the client’s life involve the available services. Such services are important in helping the client manage the situation effectively. The macro aspects of the client’s situation involve the assessment of the prevailing situation. Alan is such that he lives alone in the family home with very large garden and a few main rooms. The worker needs to determine whether such important services as meals-on-wheels are available to the Alan. These services are especially important as they provide regular hot meals to older adults not in a position to regularly prepare their meals. From the information given, there is no clue as to whether Alan has a regular source of hot meals. This is inappropriate as it may have negative implications on his health. Therefore, such issue may require consideration and immediate attention to prevent the health of Alan from deteriorating any further. The fact that Alan is mourning his wife’s death may mean poor appetite for him and unwillingness to prepare his meals.
The other important assessment aspect for the client’s situation is on diversity. This fourth dimension is very important for consideration pertaining to the situation of Alan. The significant aspects of diversity in the life of Alan need to be considered throughout the process of assessment. The first realization is that Alan is of Asian origin (Chinese) and therefore very diverse in comparison to the Australian people he lives with. It is also evident that Alan had a very close relationship with his late wife especially due to the fact the two had been childhood sweethearts. It therefore clearly indicates that Alan had been impacted greatly by the situation and was emotionally devastated. Perhaps the spiritual commitment of Alan towards in the local Methodist Church every Sunday is a good indication of his diversity aspects in terms of religion. At this stage, there is need for the worker to also evaluate their perception about the situation of Alan. To this extent, the feelings of the worker towards the situation of Alan are important to be considered effectively. For instance, the worker needs to evaluate whether they have certain stereotypes about Alan’s background as a Chinese. Additionally, there is need for evaluation of possible sexism feelings by the worker. Such feelings could highly influence the outcome of the therapy process as it may be inclined towards sexism.
Planning
The completion of the stage on the assessment of the client is immediately followed by the planning. The assessment phase is meant to reassess the situation of the client. Therefore, the worker and the client have to develop a plan on how to effectively deal with the situation (Harrison & Ruch, 2007). In this case, Alan and the worker have to come up with the appropriate plan on how the situation can be addressed. According to the assessment of the micro, mezzo, macro and diversity aspects of Alan, it is clear that the client requires appropriate intervention from the mezzo level. At the same time, the worker and Alan have to agree to meet with his family members to enhance effective solution. Clearly, Alan and his two daughters require supportive care to overcome the prevailing situation particularly the moaning. Macro interventions are also required for the client such as provision important services such as provision of meals. The plan between the worker and Alan is therefore to meet with the rest of the family members to deliberate on the appropriate mechanisms through which the macro issues can be tackled effectively. Macro intervention in terms of the support from the members of the Methodist church is required for the Alan.
It is also imperative to investigate whether there are other members of the Methodist church facing a similar situation as Alan. The importance of such an investigation is to facilitate a common solution to be developed together for all the people facing similar of closely related circumstances. The important aspects of the generalist practice can be discussed in this case to enable immediate articulation of the issues under consideration effectively (Hugman, 2005). The worker needs to address the loneliness issues facing Alan by developing a plan with the client on effective means of tackling the situation. At this stage, it is imperative that the way forward is developed outlining the activities to be undertaken. The worker in collaboration with the client has to develop a plan on how the situation in hand can be effectively addressed.
There are different steps involved in the planning phase. Firstly, the professional needs to work with the client (Kirst & Hull, 2011). Working with the client involves the definition of the problem through the assistance of the client. In this case, the worker is assisted by Alan in determining the problems that require urgent attention than others. The strengths of the client are also put into consideration while planning the way forward. In this case, the worker needs to consider the fact that Alan is a very strong person and also very religious. Therefore, the planning should entail the details related to the management of the problem at hand. Most importantly, there is need for the professional to prioritize the problems. The client’s involvement also comes in handy at this stage. Therefore, Alan is the most suitable person to provide details about the most important problems that need to be addressed first.
The next stage is to translate the problems into needs (Brew & Kottler, 2007). The professional has to translate the problems brought by Alan into needs so that the problem can be solved. This is important as it enables the problem to be translated at a relatively quick pace. The step therefore undertakes to restructure the manner in which the professional looks at the problem at hand in an attempt to attain an effective solution for the client. Levels of intervention are also identified for the client (Kadushin & Kadushin, 1997). In regard to Alan, the worker has to establish the extent to which other interventions have been applied in resolving the problem. Therefore, the micro, mezzo as well as macro levels of intervention need to be addressed effectively. The needs of Alan are thus grouped in terms of priority.
Goal establishment is an important factor to be considered while planning the way forward (De Jong & Berg, 2002). In particular, Alan is interested in obtaining a solution to his loneliness and the psychological trauma he is going through after the sudden death of his wife. Alan also is unhappy with the kind of relationship his daughter is in. Similarly, he has to find a solution for his daughter who suffers bi-polar disorder. In consideration of the way forward, it is important to specify the objectives through effective consideration of the various problems facing Alan’s family. It is often not easy for clients to be specific in the manner in which they state their objectives. Therefore, Alan’s case is not different. The consideration of the issues facing Alan creates an opportunity for the worker to identify the prevailing.
Specification of action steps is another important consideration in the planning phase (Kirst & Hull, 2011). The various tasks to be accomplished in different stages need to be put into consideration while determining the appropriate steps to be followed in the attainment of the objectives. Alan’s situation is such that he will need to adopt certain lifestyle that will help prevent the loneliness he suffers. For instance, he can allow one of his married daughters to live with him and her husband to ease the feeling of loneliness. Similarly, Alan can hire a domestic worker to keep him company and prepare meals for him. The implementation of the plans developed for Alan involves adherence to the issues set aside. Implementation of the issues developed in the planning stage is dependent on the extent of collaboration between the worker and the client (Ivey, 2003).
Alan’s situation clearly requires proper attention and devotion towards diverse aspects of the problem issues. It is important that Alan maintains a close relationship with the professional in order to ensure successful implementation of the process. The phase of implementation of the planned actions requires careful consideration of the diverse aspects of the issue under consideration. It therefore requires the professional to reach out to the people required and agree on the appropriate mechanisms through which the problems can be addressed effectively. The implementation of the plans makes it possible to attain the expectations. Finally, it is important that the professional evaluates the success of the intervention. This is based on reviewing the extent to which goals have been achieved. Based on the findings, the professional may decide to terminate the goal or undertake a reassessment.
References
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