In the needs of the family and result in

In this essay I will look at the first case study and I will give a
detailed account of what assessments and interventions I would use. I will then
critically comment on the interventions, giving both their strengths and
weaknesses.

When
it comes to working with people, especially families, it is important to
respect their interpretation and learn what they understand of the experience.
This puts service users at the centre of practice, empowering them too initiate
change (Payne, 1997).  An assessment is
the starting process in which a social worker identifies the areas of growth
and change; “the beginning of helping
another person” (Walker and Beckett, 2011, pg.19).  In relation to this case,
an assessment would help me to identify the needs of the family and result in
knowing the best intervention available to effectively deal with the case.

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An
assessment helps to identify the needs of the service user (Taylor and Devine,
1993), while the intervention has a clear and open purpose which has already
been agreed with those involved (Walker and Beckett, 2011).  Assessments should be child-centered and
should be based around the needs and development of the child. As social
workers we are called into a situation because there are issues and needs
within a family, therefore, to best assess the needs of Halil and his family,
Walker and Beckett (2011) suggest that there are three most common and
effective assessments to do when working with issues relating to child care.
The first, an initial assessment looks at identifying the level of need quickly
using short term planning. In this case, it would identify some key issues,
such as immigration, isolation and emotional abuse, and being a young carer.
The second, comprehensive assessment looks into more detailed assessments. This
occurs when an already known service user’s situation progresses and more
complex needs have been identified that need more definition and information
(Walker and Beckett, 2011). The third and final assessment available is called
a core assessment. This is an in-depth assessment that looks into finding more
information, usually over 35-days (Holland, 2011).

Within
analysis, social workers are required to gather particular information
regarding the children’s developmental needs, the adults parenting capacity and
family and environmental factors and in this case our main concerns would be
Halil missing school, the housing change, the mother’s withdrawn care and the
affect the transition of moving from Syria could have on the family.

Whilst
also valuing and recognising the family’s problems, it is important not to get
distracted by their flaws (The Department of Health, 2000) and instead, one
should remember to recognise their positives and strengths, for example the
family have come through a great deal to get to this country and obviously have
plans for financial stability as seen in the uncle’s business prospects. 

These
assessments would identify problems and subsequently lead to interventions; the
approach a social worker chooses to use to deal with the identified issues.
Interventions are an “opportunity to gain
a greater understanding of people and their situations” (Walker and
Beckett, 2011, pg. 18). Trevithick (2008) suggests that intervention is the
basis for initiating change, i.e. intervention is the approach and action taken
to attempt to solve the needs of the service user. It is important, before
carrying out this process, that a social worker assess a family, finding: the
child’s development needs; the carers ability to respond appropriately and
factor in the effects from the wider family and environment (The Department of
Health, 2000).

Task
centered practice was developed by Reid and Epstein (1977) and it encourages
the social worker to look beyond the individual, considering outside factors
that may affect them. The approach aims to move from problem to goal (Walker
and Beckett, 2011), it uses goals as a way of measuring its successes and
assessing the progress of the service user. This intervention works effectively
to promote anti-oppressive practice as everyone is treated fairly and
their strengths are valued (Walker and Beckett, 2011). In this case it would be
important not to assume and make judgements on the family due to their
background and the fact that they are refugees. However, due to this, it would
also be important to make sure they are aware of the resources available to
them and the support they are able to get. Task-centered intervention highlights
the importance for the family to ‘take the wheel’ and direct the help that they
want and need (Holland, 2011).

The
task centred approach is separated into 5 stages. The first is preparation of
entry, this refers to determining a mandate, meaning establishing a clear
reason behind intervention and actual recognition of why you are there. It then
includes engaging with the service user and developing a partnership (Marsh and
Doel, 2005), leading to the second step. This includes exploring/brainstorming
problems and prioritising them, this is done in partnership with the service
user, enabling them to feel empowered and listened to (Healy, 2012).  The third step looks at setting goals and
time limits; these must be motivating and based on the service users wishes,
achievable and not impractical and, finally, desirable and appropriate for what
the service user needs, rather than wants (Tolson, Reid and Garvin, 2003). Having
time goals allows the service user to know the parameters of what is expected and
feel included when making the decisions. It enables them to feel in control of
their own situation, they have made the goals and time limits, therefore if
they don’t meet the time goal set they know it is because of their own short
comings. 

Planning
and specifying tasks is the fourth step (Reid and Epstein, 1977) and this looks
at the individual and social worker working as a team to organise how the
service user is going to meet the task set and within the time limit. It looks
at the roles the service user wants the social worker to perform to support and
help the process (HCPC, 2016, 4.6). The fifth and final step is to finalise the
intervention (Marsh and Doel, 2005). This consists of ending the work and
evaluating its success. Have the goals been achieved and if not, were there any
strengths to the intervention to use for future development. This helps one to
learn from mistakes made during the intervention and improve it before using it
again (PCF 4, Basw, 2017).

Healy
(2014) suggests that the task centred approach is mainly aimed at problems with
living, he states these include, for example, difficulty in role performance
and problems with social transition. These are both present in the case study,
seen in the mother being unable to perform her role as care giver and difficulty
to transition could be linked to Halil missing school.  Another example of transitional problems can
be seen in the mother’s desire to return home, as this is a judgement made
irrespective of the risk they would be at and it is made due to missing their
family members and a life they were settled and accustomed to. This irrational
desire could, however, effect the use of task-centered intervention, as her
ability to make reasonable judgements and decisions could be compromised.

On
the other hand, using this technique allows the social worker to respect the
service user’s values, beliefs and perceptions, giving them a voice and
allowing them to feel heard (Walker and Beckett, 2011). It attempts to solve
problems that the service user themselves identifies and permits them to be
responsible for their own care plans. The use of task reviews enables the
service user to clearly see their development and a time limit enables them to
feel motivated to do so. However, in order for this intervention to be
effective, it requires cognitive ability from the individual in question
(Walker and Beckett, 2011).

For
this case, a task-centered approach would allow the family to realise their
need to be more integrated into a community, enabling them with the tools and
organisations to make this happen. It would also help the family to identify
what changes they have encountered through moving to a new house in the last
few weeks and how the social worker can support and ease this. Having moved houses
a lot as a child, I understand the stress the family could be experiencing. I
am able to empathise with Halil, because as a child I remember feeling anxious
and uncomfortable from simply moving a few villages away and can only imagine
the pain moving to a new country could have. This ability to empathise with
service users is outlined in the PCF, domain 7 as being crucial when engaging
with people (Basw, 2017).

This links to the second approach one could adopt
when working with this family, as due to the family experiencing loss and
grief, their ability to assess their own situation rationally could be
compromised. This inability highlights one of the criticisms of the task centred
approach, as it assumes that service users have a rational ability to assess
their own situation and critically recognise where their lives need drastic
change (Walker and Beckett, 2011). In this case study, due to the family having
picked up and moved their lives; leaving family and friends behind, they could
be said to be experiencing grief and a sense of loss. The word grief has been
suggested to be difficult to define due to people’s experiences being
immeasurable, however, Raphael suggests that it is “a reaction to loss… that includes a complex amalgam of pain effects” (1984, pg. 33), simply meaning a combination of
emotions, feelings and effects (crying, screaming, sobbing, whining etc.) in
response to someone being physically or psychologically absent.

Greif
is a hard word to define due to the fact that it describes an intrinsic
experience and can differ from person to person (Gross, 2016). However, people
like Stoebe, Hansson & Schut (2001) suggest grief to incorporate diverse
psychological and physical manifestations, meaning a cognitive or physical
display in reaction to a loss. In its clearest form, grief occurs due to a “Physical, social, emotional, psychological
response to loss” (Gross, 2016, pg. 19). Therefore, if grief occurs as a
consequence of loss, what defines loss? Loss occurs when there has been a
long-term change to ones “social
situations, relationships or cognitions” (Murray, 2005, pg. 2), usually the death of a family member,
friend or important factor in that persons’ life.

Using
this information, it is clear that grief can, as before mentioned, be difficult
to define due to it describing a personal response to loss, something that is
vast and unparalleled between people. Grief is different from one person to
another and therefore there is no recognisable right or wrong way to mourn.
This could cause social workers to wrongly identify the mothers’ grief due to
the expression being different from their own and this could in turn cause
problems. For example, if I were to work on this case, I could misjudge the
mothers retracted behaviour as simply being uninterested in the children due to
this being different from how I would express loss.

The
theory of grief/loss was developed by Freud with the principle task of
separating people from the deceased. He suggests that mourning should be brief
and pathologized its necessity suggests that one must ‘de-cathexis’ (Pomeroy
and Garcia, 2009) meaning to withdraw one’s feelings of attachment to the
departed. However, as seen in this case study, often people need time and
support through getting over the loss of loved ones.

Pomeroy
and Garcia (2009) critiques Freuds finding, suggesting him to focus too much on
the intrapsychic, ignoring possible environmental factors that may affect the
mourner’s ability to move on. This is particularly relevant in this case due to
the transitioning of the family moving to a new country; this new environment
could “impact the mourner’s coping
capacities” (Pomeroy and Garcia, 2009, pg. 2) and make it harder for them
to deal with the loss. Bowlby also suggested Freud to dismiss the ability for
the ‘attachment’ to have cognitive and behavioural factors (Bowlby, 1980). In
this Bowlby highlights the importance past relationships have in an
individuals’ life, for example in this case study the parents’ inability to
care for the child and make them feel safe could affect the child’s capability
to form secure attachments in the future (Teater, 2010).

In
this case dealing with loss could be difficult to measure, due to them not
having a definitive answer about the fathers’ whereabouts. Pauline Boss has
suggested this be called ambiguous loss (Walter & McCoyd, 2009), the idea
that the father is psychologically present, but not physically. This could
affect and prevent a person’s ability to accept the loss of someone; keeping
them in mind allows time to seek information and prepare for any outcomes (Kubler-Ross
& Kessler, 2005). Another way to explain this mothers’ expression of grief,
could be through Ken Doka’s theory of disenfranchised grief. He suggests this
to be when a griever is not entitled to be grieving (Currer, 2007), in this
case due to the uncertainty. Ambiguous loss can also be seen to play a part in
this case study through the physical presence of the mother to the children,
but lack of psychological presence; they have little communication with her.
This could cause them to retract and isolate themselves (Pomeroy & Garcia,
2009). This would also be the reason for Halil taking on the ‘carer’ role for
his younger sisters.

Leidemann
suggests there to usually be 5 steps involved in coping with grief and this is
reciprocated in Kübler-Ross’s 5 stages. However, due
to the fathers’ fate being unknown, Ironside (1996) suggests that transitioning
through the stages could be hard due to the fact that it assumes all people
handle loss in the same way (Currer, 2007).  It also assumes that all people have a natural
ability to get themselves out of grief, however, often people need the support
and aid of other family or friends. From experience, I know how hard it is to
find strength to continue when you have lost someone who is present every day. Therefore,
I can empathise with the mother and her inability to continue when there is no
one there to help and support her.

The
first stage looks at somatic distress, Kübler-Ross calls
this the ‘Denial’ and it sees the individual trying to come to terms with the
loss. Somatic refers to the physical loss of another (Walter & McCoyd, 2009)
and can be seen in this case due to the physical absence of the father. The
second stage is preoccupation of deceased, ‘anger’, and it suggests that the
person in mourning becomes distracted through thought of the absentee and why
they had to die (Currer, 2007).

Within
the case study, I believe the mother to be between this stage and the 3rd
stage, guilt or Kübler-Ross’s stage
‘bargaining’. It is within the 3rd stage that the individual begins
to feel culpability towards the loss in a ‘should have been me’ manner and in
this case, it could be expressed as ‘we shouldn’t have left him’ (Kubler-Ross
& Kessler, 2005). In his 4th step people become hostile and
anxious in the prospect of moving on and continuing life, but being faced with
a fight of whether it is right or wrong. This often ‘depressive stage’ (Kubler-Ross
& Kessler, 2005) feels as if it will last forever.  Finally, stage 5 recognises a normalisation, or
as Kübler-Ross
puts it ‘acceptance’.  This does not mean
the individual is happy, or content with the loss, it simply means they have
come to terms with it (Currer, 2007).

Therefore,
using this grief and loss assessment, it is clear that the mother would need
support to effectively move on. In order to help the mother, we would need to
promote change and attempt to redirect her focus onto new relationships. This
could be done through interviews. It has been suggested that having 8-10 interviews
over 4-6 weeks should ‘mend’ the service user and help them to deal with the
loss effectively (Pomeroy & Garcia, 2009). Support could also be offered in
the form of childcare, that is that a support worker could be offered to help
the mother in taking the children to child centres. Here, the mother can get
support and feel more integrated into the community. This would allow her time
away from the children, but also allow her to meet other people within the
community who may be going through the same situation.

In conclusion, both of these interventions could prove as effective when
working with the family. Both have their drawbacks, however, together they
could effectively work to help the problems being encountered by this family. The
Task centered approach would only be effective once the Grief and Loss of the
family had been dealt with, as this would allow for the mother to be able to
make responsible and clear observations about her own and the family’s
problems. There are many other possible ways a social worker could approach
this case, but because of the obvious grief being experienced by the mother,
this one seemed a clear necessity and need for the family. Due to the problems
also not being life-threatening or overly serious yet, the task-centered
approach would allow the family to help themselves and not loose all sense of
power and control.