Reflective Practice in Social Work Working with a Student

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The term transition may be defined as ‘a short term life change characterized by a sharp discontinuity with the past’. (M L Mullins). The way each individual responds to these changes has been the debate of many psychologists, however for the purpose of this essay I shall be referring to the theories of Nancy Schlossberg.

Schlossberg identifies four kinds of transitions, which may occur, and unlike Erikson’s theories she maintains that it is the life event, coupled with the resources available, rather than age that determines which issues will be important to an individual at any given time. The transitions, which Schlossberg refers to, are:

1. Anticipated transitions. (Events which we plan for and rehearse) 2. Unanticipated transitions (Events which happen unexpectedly, with no preparation) 3. Non-event transitions (Events you expect to happen but don’t) 4. Chronic hassle transitions (Events which may require you to change but often persist for some time before any action is taken)

Schlossbergs work suggests that while we should recognise each type of transition, it must also be noted that the way we react to each transition is unique to ourselves, and what is anticipated for one individual may be unanticipated for another. This is evident among students at Ogmore School. For one student, going to college may be an anticipated transition but for another it may be unanticipated. Research suggests that the student who anticipates himself or herself as a college student will adapt to this role far easier than a student who does not. This may be because the student who anticipates the event is able to plan ahead and recognise any necessary resources beforehand.

However, transitions may be of a positive or negative nature and not all transitions create a crisis. Much of how we respond to any transition will depend on our own level of self-esteem and self-concept. Even when other resources are absent, a student with high self-esteem...
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