The first step in the problem-solving process is intake and engagement of the client, which was conducted about eight months ago as a result of the needed group home placement. I went to her home where, at that time, she was still living with her parents. Through several meetings I obtained a full and lengthy social history of the client. It was agreed upon by all that Jane be placed in the group home because her parents are getting older, and becoming unable to fully take of her needs or supervise her. We came to the second step in the problem-solving process, which is data collection and assessment. I have made several visits to the group home to assess her behavior and see if there are any needs that are not being met. We have identified her need to work on appropriate socialization skills with other members in the group home. Part of this process is to identify client strengths and areas for improvement. Jane excels in her ability to take care of her personal belongings, keep her room clean, be aware of the importance of personal hygiene, doing dishes, working on puzzles, coloring, and drawing. As Jane noted, she cannot cook very well, do laundry, manage money, and she needs to work on her reading and writing ability. I have observed how she likes to hug people or hold on to their hand when she talks to them. I feel that is because she has lacked socializing with people in the community, but its something she enjoys although her behavior may not be appropriate for those who are not aware of her condition. Also, she tends to ask the same questions as if she has forgot what happened two days ago. I see a slight short-term memory loss, yet her long-term memory is accurate. I have seen improvement in many social skills and daily skills. The third step in the problem solving process is planning and contracting. Planning is the stage between assessment and intervention where we must develop a contract of goals and expectations. At this time, it seems appropriate that Jane be given the chance to work. She and I felt that it would help broaden her socialization and gain more independence. She feels confident and is supported by her family, as well as by her friends from the group home. I then found a job for her at a local shelter workshop where she carries supplies from the back to the front of the department, helps customers find supplies, and other odd jobs.
Jane has been at the workshop for three weeks now and enjoys her job. She has mentioned hopes of moving from the group home to a supervised living program. The workshop supervisor just informed me of an incident at work involving Jane. Jane was apprehensive in discussing the situation at work. She repeated, “he was mean and I hate him.” I told Jane kindly that her was inappropriate because she could have hurt the customer and she could lose her job. I also stated how well she was doing in reaching her goals and that it is important for her to maintain her job if she wants to move into the supervised living complex. After my discussion with Jane, I went to the workshop supervisor to discuss what happened in detail. She did not see the incident, but a co-worker did. I expressed interest in keeping Jane at the workshop and I will be assisting her in getting her through this so it doesn’t happen again. The supervisor agreed, but we needed to speak to the co-worker who was the incident take place. The co-worker said Jane was bringing out some supplies, tripped over the rug, and fell. She became nervous and frustrated, and she went after the man that was laughing at her. The co-worker then went over to remove Jane from the situation. I informed Jane’s parents of the situation and her mother mentioned that that happened when she went to school, which was the reason they removed her from the school system. I explained that I needed her cooperation in this matter. With this information in mind, I met with Jane to formulate other goals and objectives. Our first goal was to have Jane apologize to her supervisor, accept responsibility for her actions, and ask to keep her job while still working with her social worker. Other goals include working on anger management and coping mechanisms. Jane agreed to meet with me twice a week and learn to calm herself, be more expressive and talk about her feelings, learn how to deal with conflict, and learn to be more confident and assertive. Jane also wanted to build her self-concept. During our sessions we will be working on confidence and assertiveness through role plays, pointing to positive attributes of self and recognize her strengths daily, and contributing something positive to others that make her feel good for saying or doing it. She expressed interest in have her parents present at some meetings for support. Our goal to accomplish most of these goals was three months. The fourth step in the problem-solving process is intervention and monitoring. Intervention is intended to help the client change their current situation. Jane and I have developed a trusting relationship and she understands my concern in the matter. I have given Jane options of paths she wants to take. I respect her decisions. I also continue to point out her strengths and encourage her to keep working toward her goals. As my duty, I must monitor or keep track and evaluate the client’s progress. Monitoring is a constant in a social worker’s role in order to keep in touch with the client’s needs and assessing the next step. The last step in the problem-solving process is evaluate and termination. After identifying Jane’s accomplishments over the course of several months, it is important for me to terminate this case appropriately. I have discussed with Jane how well she has done for herself and she will be moving into the supervised apartment. Jane seems to understand that there will be four more meetings to see if she has adjusted to the move. In our last meeting I will ask Jane to fill out an evaluation form in order to gain insight as to how well our social worker and services were utilized, and if their performance was appropriate and useful.
3. After the first week, I recommended that Jane be able to live in a supervised apartment if she is able to work with me to gain employment. Jane has a great personality and is willing to work toward her goals. Jane would like to apologize for her behavior and we would both appreciate some time to work on the current issue.
4. Active listening is an important aspect of the social work profession because it enables us to understand thoughts, feelings, values, behaviors, and other ideas. There are two types of active listening; content and feeling. Content listening is the subject matter of the conversation and listening for feeling deals with emotional aspect of the conversation. Active listening includes non-verbal gestures, such as nodding or shaking your head, body posture, eye contact, and meta-language. For example, if I were doing an intake of a woman who came into a domestic abuse shelter, I would want to listen to her story and interject with some questions. I would want to get concrete information about the incidents and what causes the outburst, but I would also want to listen for how she’s feeling. I believe active listening is a very useful tool and it’s comforting to have someone listen without making judgments. I would also want to reframe what the women are saying. Reframing is finding a positive in a negative situation and finding strengths or underlying problems. In this case, I might tell her that she is not alone in this matter and she shouldn’t have to fear her decision to come for help. Actually it is a courageous step in stopping the violence cycle and we are here to guide in her decision-making. I see that as a way to empower and enhance her self-determination in taking this first step.
5. Although I am uncomfortable in role-plays, I think it is useful for when we encounter it. I wish I had this class before my 215 because I worked in Winnebago where I interviewed about four teenagers for social histories. I interviewed one young male in the Youth Facility who was uncooperative and refused to answer my questions, so we ended the interview. He was a challenge and I start to feel intimidated by those clients instead of confidant. Next semester I would like to work on my confidence and assertiveness. I know I would be more comfortable if I didn’t have someone watching me, so I’m not so concerned with that. I also want to get a variety of situations because there are certain populations and problems that make me uncomfortable and fearful that I wont handle it correctly. I do feel that I am an active listener because I’ve had numerous tell me that and come to me with problems. I hate giving advice, so I feel more comfortable with giving options and information. I like to build relationships and trust, so I can really get into my client’s situation. When I am engaged in their struggle I think I can be a more effective social worker. The biggest thing I fear is not being able to apply what I’ve learned and not being able to help my clients. I really want to work on my confidence, assertiveness, and participation in the role-plays next semester.