Introduction to social work
Compare, contrast and critically evaluate Crisis Intervention and Task-Centred Practice. Debate what you see as their effectiveness by outlining potential advantages and disadvantages and with reference to research regarding their effectiveness. The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) Code of Ethics (2002:1) states that; "The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environment." In order to promote such social change and provide high quality professional practice, social workers utilise various theoretical frameworks and apply them appropriately in order to help service users in the best way they can. The intention of this essay is to discus the key features of the task-centred practice and crisis intervention approaches, both of which are widely used methods of social work practice. With reference to research, the effectiveness and limitations of these approaches will be analyzed by outlining potential advantages and disadvantages, and by demonstrating that although these approaches have different origins, they do have some common features. McColgan (2009:60) states that task-centred practice is;
"...a popular method of intervention in social work practice. It does not depend on any complex theory, is down to earth, makes sense and is easy to understand in its application." Coulshed & Orme (2006:156) believe that the task-centred approach, also known as "brief therapy, short term or contract work" is probably one of the most researched and commonly used approaches to problem solving in social work practice. Task-centred practice was developed out of research into effective social work practice by Reid and Shyne in 1969, who found that planned, short term intervention, was equally as or more effective than long term treatment. Task-centred practice originates within social work itself, rather than being "borrowed" from disciplines outside of social work, such as psychology and sociology. Indeed, Reid (1992) states that; "...task-centred casework rejects any specific psychological or sociological base for its methods and seeks to be eclectic and integrative" (cited in Payne, 1997:97). At the time task-centred practice challenged the long-term psychodynamic theory behind social work which, according to Woods and Hollis (1990, cited in Cree and Myers 2008:90) expected problems to be "...deep rooted and to require intensive and long-term specialist input to address these difficulties", however Reid and Shyne disputed this approach in favour of "...proposed time-limited, structured and focused interventions to solve problems", which was a direct challenge to the models that encouraged those with problems to move at their own pace. Reid and Epstein (1972) suggest that the task-centred approach is beneficial for a variety of problems, including interpersonal, social relationship, organisational, role performance, decision making, resource based, emotional and psychological. Doel and Marsh (1992) and Reid and Epstein (1972) suggest that in order to apply effective task-centred practice to such problems, a framework should be adopted, which should firstly look at problem exploration. Doel (2002) states that the first phase should consist of problem scanning and identification in order to establish the services users perspective of the seriousness of the issues. The user should then be guided to prioritise the target problems and clarify their significance and define their desired outcomes or goals. Marsh and Doel (2005:72) suggest that the use of "I want" or "we will" is a guarantee of a statement which results in a goal being achieved, rather than using verbs such as "need". Epstein and Brown (2002:155) recommend that a maximum of three problems...
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