Critical Reflection

 Contrasting a Problem Solving and Strengths-Based Approach

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The problem-solving approach differs from the strength-based approach on the foundational aspect that informs social work practice. The problem-solving approach identifies the client’s problems and formulates a framework for addressing or improving the situation. While social workers tend to guide the clients on the possible available options, it is their responsibility to make their personal choices. Therefore, applying a problem-based approach rests on setting goals, crafting intervention mechanisms, and arriving at the solution.

The strengths-based approach is a conceptual framework that supplements the problem-solving paradigm in social work practice. The method uses trials and problems that the client faces, giving the social worker the ability to acknowledge the gravity of the situation without underestimating it. Therefore, social workers building on the strength-based approach made considerable efforts to change the outlook of the conditions and encourage the clients to address the problems. The approach emphasizes on combining fundamental and intrinsic principles of social work service (Tong 2011). The social worker utilizes client-centered initiatives that integrate their strengths. They do so by focusing on their achievements, skills, strengths, and qualities.

The primary goal of the strength-based approach is empowering the clients based on their past successes. The social workers using the strength-based approach tend to aid clients in using their strengths to progress positively. According to Tong (2011), the strength-based approach is practical because it can yield positive outcomes by recognizing the capacity of the client to determine what bests suit them. The approach focuses on the sustainable solution and helps the clients recover by interacting with their social environment. Therefore, the client works with the social workers in a manner that empowers them and avoids self-blame.

5.2 Practicing from a Strengths-Based Perspective

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The case of Sherry shows resilience. Karen, as a social worker, makes moral choices in her daily work. Therefore, the case manifests that Karen experienced hardships and workers until 1:30 Am on almost 30 cases. The dynamics of Karen’s routine indicate her resilience and the ability to appreciate hard work. Sherry displaced resilience because her life indicates the struggle desire to move on irrespective of the challenges. She has five children with three different men. Furthermore, her current boyfriend abuses her. Irrespective of all these challenges, he faces a financial problem. Also, one of her children tends to be stagnant in grade one.

Karen uses the strengths of Sherry to stress the need for resilience. The case maps out how stresses and the hardships that people go through become their foundations. As a result, Karen encourages her to have a positive attitude and take charge of her situation to plan on escaping from the abusive boyfriend (Unfried 2010). Therefore, Karen utilized her resources and gave her the contact of other social workers who would accommodate her after she escaped. Also, Karen manifests friendly cooperation with Sherry to help her find solutions. Most importantly, Karen boosts Sherry’s self-confidence. The tactics inform the effective approach in social work practice to build on the strength of the clients without compromising their situations. The issue of diversity between Karen and Sherry manifested when Karen used Sherry’s strengths, making sure that she did not suspect any attempt by the social worker to encourage her and give her hope. If I were Karen, I would focus on using the same approach without affecting the diversity of the client and the situation at hand.

Identifying Helping Skills in Involuntary Client Relationships

A social worker utilizes relational strategies to encourage engagement with involuntary clients. As such, interviewing techniques, motivational skills, and client-centered approaches are helping skills in the involuntary client relationship. From the case, the 17-year-old client is Katty. She recently gave birth leading to her dropping out from school because of the challenging experiences. Initially, Karen’s response was formal but engaged in interviewing skills to ask Katty encouraging and engaging questions. Therefore, Karen emerged as a supportive social worker that built a positive relationship between the client and her.

The humanistic attitude and down-to-earth conservations are more effective than the standard and professional approach that Karen had previously taken. Social workers tend to effectively and substantively prepare for action with clients through empathy and interpersonal skills (De Boer and Cody 2007). Therefore, Karen needed to develop a mutually agreed-on approach that focused on the desired work and would make the client more at ease. For this reason, it is imperative that the social worker decreases the reliance on a professional approach and engage in informal engagement that would communicate empathy. As a result, Karen would show positive emotions and build trust with the client.

The case of Larry Jared embodies violence that led to legal actions against Lorry. The context indicates reduced enmity from Jared’s father through a warning against violent behaviors. Legal systems are critical in social work practice but cause more undesired actions on the clients (De Boar and Cody 2007). Involving sustainable social work services is more effective because it would address the cause of violence and help the family manage the solutions.

In Donna’s case, there is a need for mixing a humanistic approach and a strength-based approach to address the issues. The basis of this choice is that Donna is a mother of two children who dropped out of school and is now addicted to alcohol. Her resilience is critical in underscoring the need to focus on her strength to solve her problems. Karen, as a social worker, needs to emphasize empathy and building trust with the client. The approach would help Donna find long-lasting solutions to her problems.

Child Protection in Practice

In Canada, perspectives of child neglect, poverty, and domestic violence are correlated. Households with low socioeconomic capacity tend to experience cases of child neglect. Most children in poverty-stricken families tend to be victims of neglect because of the inability of their families to provide for them (John Howard Society of Alberta 2010). Therefore, child neglect is a form of mistreatment that correlates with poverty. A case in point is that single mothers are considerably more likely to neglect their children because they will spend most of the time fending for their basic needs. Although anti-poverty policies have taken an institutional approach, the legal provisions require social workers to deliberate efforts to address the problems. Since the community understands that child neglect often involves the failure of the parents or caregivers to provide children with basic supervision, food, shelter, and other necessities. Therefore, families involved in poverty would hardly look for social services (Schreiber et al., 2013). If children experience neglect due to poverty, they can suffer grave and untold consequences if they are not the intended targets.

Social work should have the legal mandate to protect and rescue children from neglect due to their families experiencing poverty. The legal provisions indicate that a child should access protection services if the family does not care for the welfare of their children (Kufeldt 2010). For these reasons, the link between poverty and child maltreatment is exceedingly dangerous. The intervention mechanism under social work practice involves educating the families on the child welfare agencies about the effect of poverty and child neglect on the child’s growth. It is imperative to apply the community in the multidisciplinary approach and offer intention that presents the impacts and protects children against neglect.


 Anti-Oppressive Practice

Sherry’s situation highlights the structural social work approach. Various issues emerge that characterize the problems that she should solve. Sherry suffers from stigma, husband abuse, fanatical challenges, and marginalization. The structural social work approach tenets indicate that all oppressive structures consist of the problems that Sherry faces. From the case, it emerges that Sherry may not have accessed maternal care during childhood. Thus, the events that emerged characterized discrimination and called for the intervention of social workers. For this reason, a social worker should utilize interviewing skills, relational strategies and emphasize empathy to build trust with her. All these skills are vital in establishing a sustainable recovery journey.

As a social worker, I would utilize the benchmarks of the strength-based approach. Drawing from the client-centered model, I would integrate the strengths of Sherry and help her identify her problems and map out solutions (Tong 2011). A strengths-based approach is critical in understanding the client and modifying her strengths to realize solutions. Therefore, service efficacy in social work needs trust between the client and the social worker. As a result, I would emphasize empathy and initiate conversations informally to ensure that Sherry is comfortable. The approach will help me become more reliable and sincere in helping her overcome her problems.

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