Theoretical Application to a Culturally Sensitive Practice Situation

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Theoretical Application to a Culturally Sensitive Practice Situation Theoretical Application to a Culturally Sensitive Practice Situation

“Social workers help people deal with problems ranging from personal relationships to lack of resources to blatant discrimination” (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2009, p. 29). Using the scenario involving Soledad and her family I will conduct a theoretical application to her culturally sensitive situation. I will complete this application by conducting a self reflection including my awareness of the situation as well as the sensitive issues, and my values and beliefs that may challenged by this case. I will also discuss the systems and ecological theories and how they are illustrated in the case. This will be followed by my empowerment approach and client engagement.

Self Reflection


After reviewing the case I understood the client, Soledad, is a homosexual woman, recently divorced with two children, and living with her domestic partner, Cecile. She has just been seriously injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, and is currently in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). She is in and out of consciousness and calling for Cecile to be by her side. Soledad’s sister and parents have come to the hospital after learning of the accident. Her relationship with her sister is stable however; her relationship with her parents has been estranged for some time as a result of their feeling about her homosexuality and her African American partner. Soledad and her domestic partner Cecile has been in a stable committed relationship and identifies themselves as having a legal domestic partnership.

Hospital policy prevents Soledad’s partner and children from visiting her in her room. This policy also prevents nurses and other medical staff from reporting any medical information regarding Soledad to her partner because the health care system does not legally recognize Cecile as Soledad’s family member. However, Soledad’ medical information and any medical decisions will be reviewed by her parents and sister. Cecile strongly believes that her legal domestic partnership with Soledad should allow her to visit her and ask questions about her current status and should also allow her to make medical decisions on her behalf. As a result of the distant relationship between Soledad and her parents it could be assumed that they may not share Soledad’s medical information with Cecile, leaving her in the dark about a person she cares deeply for. I believe that many organizational policies may not have caught up with our society’s current way of life. This causes serious situations, such as this one, to become more complicated and traumatic for the client.

Values and Beliefs

Social workers have to be consciously aware of their personal values and beliefs that may not agree with client’s choices in order to better assist them. As a result of my religious background I believe that marriage should take place between a man and women. With this union two people possess rights and privileges that unmarried people do not have. One example would be for one spouse to make medical decisions on behalf of the other. However, in this situation Cecile and Soledad’s domestic partnership is not a legal “marriage” therefore according to my personal beliefs Cecile should not be able to be involved in medical decisions for Soledad.

However, as a social worker my interest is in helping Soledad and her family gets through this situation, by providing them with the support and resources they may need to move forward. I am conscious of my beliefs but I am going to do what is necessary so that this family receives the help they need. Although my personal values may be challenged by this case I must uphold my responsibility for social justice. In this situation I will evaluate what is good and desirable for Soledad by listening to her wants and needs and working from there. I must remember...
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