Task Centered Approach in Social Work

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The purpose for this assignment is to highlight the main features of one social worker method. Within this essay, I will include social work intervention prior to the introduction of task-centred practice. This will provide an insight in to why task-centred methods were introduced. I will also portray the strengths and weaknesses of task-centred practice. The essay will also depict the underlying theory that underpins task-centred practice in relation to social work. I will endeavour to critically analyse the effectiveness of this approach. I will then compare this approach with crisis intervention and provide an analysis of the similarities between them. Throughout this assignment I will incorporate anti-discriminative and anti-oppressive practice (ADP, AOP) not only within the model of task-centred and crisis work but with an overall view to social work practice and how oppression can be addressed. I will strive to provide a brief policy context of AOP and ADP. Due to the word limitation I have attached an appendix of a case study based upon task-centred, person-centred and crisis intervention. Task-centred practice is a relatively new concept, in comparison to some social work methods, emerging in the 1960s. Prior to the implementation of task-centred practice, many clients received long-term intervention. Social workers focused on feelings rather than action. Buckle, (1981) in Coulshed & Orme (1998) state that: “ some clients received help for years and compulsive care-giving by helpers often resulted in the difficulties of becoming the responsibility and ‘property’ of the worker.” I would suggest that this form of intervention could possibly lead to ‘learned-helplessness’. This is when the client becomes dependant on the worker and rejects the notion that they can fend for themselves. M, Payne (1997) refers to an experiment conducted by Seligman (1975). Seligman’s theory of ‘learned helplessness’ came about through experimentation of animals and humans. He discovered that people with little expectations produced little results. He states: “ their capacity to learn useful behaviour in other situations becomes impaired. People lose motivation, become anxious and depressed and poor at thinking.” The concept of task-centred practice originated in the USA by Reid and Shyne (1969). Task-centred intervention came about through psychodynamic theories and the response opposed to them, as this method was time consuming, which may lead to dependency. I would therefore, suspect that the introduction of task-centred intervention would have been welcome one. Like crisis intervention, task-centred can be perceived as predictable and planned. Task-centred work was initially applied to group and family casework. In the early 1990s, Marsh and Doel wrote further on this subject. This intervention was further developed within social work practice. Task-centred models can be utilized in conjunction with a variety of settings such as counselling and education (Stepney and Ford (2000). Couldshed and Orme (1998, pg 115) state ‘ task-centred practice, also known as brief therapy, short-term or contract work has had a significant impact on both social work practice and the organisation of services’. The fact that this method has been updated, by continues research provides evidence of its use in Social Work. Stepney and Ford (1998, pg 52) argue how it ‘not only derives from research, but lends itself to research, insofar as it embodies the setting of goals whose achievement is easily measured. Consequently, the model has been developed and refined through numerous empirical studies in the past thirty years’. This type of research evidence provides social workers with a sound base and model of intervention, which is long standing and appropriate to use with most client groups. M. Payne (1997) explains that: “ task-centred work claims to be primarily a model, drawing on learning and cognitive ‘ theories’ validates its effectiveness. He...
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