Advanced Social Work Introduction

Ethical issues are concerns in the society that affect the everyday
running of the society. Ethics are the various behaviors of people in a
society. Sarah has been having a lot of problems with her family and
self. She caused damage to her mother’s car and is now forced to work
to pay for it. In addition, she has had other problems that have forced
her to sign up for counseling. This shows that she has emotional issues
and a low self control of herself. In addition, her mother suspects that
alcohol is part of her problem though this is still suspicion.
Ethical issues and violations in the case study
Ethical violations are acts done by an individual or group of people
that go against the acceptable ethical values. They are like ethical
values that people chose to do and might be acceptable in some societies
but not all. An example is when Sarah speaks of her mother and says,
“Why don’t I have my mom’s figure?” and then quickly adds”
cause she is not my Mom” and giggles. This shows what she views of her
mother in a genuine way. This is because she also considers that she is
not her biological mother but admires her despite the fact that she
despises her at times. Mr. Smith admits he wants to work hard so as to
spoil his kids. This is a poor ethical trend since he should rather view
it as rewarding them for their efforts especially in school. Their
mother however thinks they should work for everything they hope to be
given or rewarded.
Multicultural considerations
Every family has a culture with which they adhere to or act in
accordance with. For some families, like Sarah’s, there is also that
culture. However, people tend t adopt cultures from other people or even
come up with their own new cultures. A good example of culture for this
family is sporting where Mr. Smith takes his son for sporting events.
The family is involved in textile business and thus there economic
activity is part of the culture they nurture.
Multicultural is a condition where there are many cultures that are
integrated together. In this case, cultures from different places
brought into one. Sarah had a life in her orphanage. There, she was able
to be brought up in a way that was a bit different from what she found
at the Smiths. At the smiths, she was encouraged to do sporting and
other activities the family thought would benefit a child more(Burbatti,
1988). Such a family therefore needs to be guarded by their culture. To
do this, it is important to have a culture that easily makes both
parties be more aligned. Sarah thinks she is caring but also hopes she
can change her looks, her athletic ability, and her brains. She knows
she is not perfect but thinks her brother Greg is. Here it is important
to bring in a culture that makes her think more of herself as a winner
in more areas that she is a loser. Such a culture should include a
Christian moral culture and a more social life culture and this can
start with her interacting more with her younger brother. She is a bit
distant from her and so it is normal they have a quiet relationship
without much experience. Another culture that should be introduced in
the family is a family gate away or camping. These are some of the
activities that increase bonding in a family since they have a whole
week or weekend to themselves(Berrens, 2000). This gives them more time
to interact deeply and know more of their strengths and weaknesses as a
family and individually. Another forum for this would be attending the
children’s games and cheering them. This would be a good way of
supporting them and giving them self confidence to do better and even
improve. This makes one appreciate the other more even if they do not
have much interest in their lives
Social life theories
In this family, one of the social life theories that can be put into
practice includes Gestalt which is also a popular movement. It is an
approach to therapy that urges therapists to be free and be themselves,
to be innovative, creative, and imaginative in working with clients
(Wilfrid Laurier University, 2013). It is an approach that is very well
suited to clients interested in a total and integrated sense of self and
use of self. It aims at helping clients achieve close conscious contact
with self and life. This can be a good way of dealing with Sarah. Sarah
is a smart girl but has a few problems. By introducing ideas for
innovation, she might be more interested in things that are new to her
and to her family. She will want to come up with ideas that would change
the way people look at her and she would feel she is becoming better or
equal to her elder brother.
Existential not a system of therapy as such but rather a basis for
understanding oneself, others, and the human condition, and some derived
implications that follow for the therapeutic process. Most people who
wish to be professions are partially influenced by existential thinking
and these influences carry over into our practice(Wilfrid Laurier
University, 2013). To some extent, an existential perspective helps us
to understand clients and to develop a helping perspective. There
appears to be an increasing number of persons whose problems revolve
around questions of their own identity and sense of alienation, for
example Sarah who admits she often feels like an outcast in her family.
She also thinks she is not as smart, or talented, or “socially
acceptable” as her brothers. As a result of these feelings she has had
a difficult time finding her place in the family and often thinks of
herself as a “leftover” which is her term for her place in the
family. For these an existential perspective is indeed helpful for the
family. .
Communication Theory is concerned with the way in which humans transmit
and receive information. It is an essential general knowledge base for
social workers in all areas of practice. This theory has concepts that
can be of particular assistance in keeping the therapeutic process open
and effective. These concepts have had considerable impact on the
treatment of marital pairs and families. In Sarah’s family, she is
more attached to one member than the others. For this case, she was too
attached to her grandmother and found it difficult to cope with her
death. She describes it as her greatest pain. Before one considers
something to be the most painful thing they ever had to go through, it
means it has been a hard thought or feeling to get rid of. She is also
attached to her elder brother more and this makes her criticize her
younger brother. Communication theory will therefore enable her to
easily communicate with each member of the family and to have more time
not to judge others as she does not like it herself. This theory would
therefore be useful in the family.
Problem solving theory would not be useful in dealing with the family.
Like task-centered, this theory emphasizes the use of our own
problem-solving processes in seeking to understand the client and the
reality in which he or she functions and to partialize the situation
into manageable goals related to the nature of the setting involved. It
is a particularly useful framework to help avoid diffuse and unfocussed
intervention goals. This will therefore mean that when dealing with any
member of the family, you put aside the others and their thoughts. In
this family, many things are coordinated and are harmonized. Therefore,
to make the family stronger, it is important for a therapist to know
what the rest of the family thinks or considers the other to be. It is
also important to know what role each plays in the family and have all
the facts before guiding a patient into healing the right way.
Task Centered theory is a system that focuses on brief, time-limited
intervention. It is particularly useful in situations when a wide range
of use of resources is essential. It is also useful in cases where the
goal is to maximize the client`s involvement in the therapeutic process,
and to enhance their autonomy. It requires both practitioners and
clients to focus on the setting of clear, identified, and attainable
goals. This latter quality can be of particular importance to some
clients as an additional learning experience beyond the original
problem. For such a family, it is important to know what they hope to
achieve as a family and what they hope not to ever engage in. this
includes the main objective of the parents in giving them a certain
amount of freedom or why there is a limit in what things are done
sometimes. To do this, it is important that the therapist gets to know
the whole family and carried out set interventions when necessary. It is
also good to have the interventions since it has the involvement of all
family members and they have to have the free will to express
themselves. Since anyone is susceptible to the intervention, it limits
the negative activities one might choose to interact in. a task centered
theory gives the therapist the ease to deal with the Smith’s family
and this purely is to the advantage of the family.
In ego psychology theory, the main focus of the therapy is on both the
conscious and unconscious components of the personality as well as on
the client`s external reality. It is particularly useful in situations
where growth and movement for the client require an understanding of
self, patterns of behavior, and their derivatives. Many clients both
want and need to be understood in developmental terms and can be greatly
helped by a sensitive understanding of their personality and its
developmental history. Sarah had a quick early development but as she
grew, she had one area of her life, her brains grow slower. She
therefore needs to be helped to know how to grasp easily and/or
gradually. The therapist will also study the patterns of behavior of the
family towards all aspects of life and know why some are not in harmony
with the others.
Family theory is useful in understanding and managing individual
problems in clarifying the extent to which such problems are related to
family issues. Family treatment is in great demand in all areas of
practice to respond to the complex and prevalent problems in current
family life. Being a family, it is important t use this theory in
dealing with the family. This will enable a therapist to easily help out
individuals in the family and also help them have more harmony in their
daily activities.
Use of circular questioning in the family
Circular questioning is a therapeutical process that involves asking of
questions to individuals in a group. This includes all members of a
family. In circular questioning, everyone is given a turn to answer
specific questions without having any other member, including the
therapist interrupt them. They are allowed to speak out everything
concerning the question and even go further to explain their answers if
need be. The questions usually come initially from the therapist but as
time goes by, the other patients are allowed to ask questions among
themselves both to the therapist and among themselves.
This family has very common problems. For a family that has had a member
or members adopted, it comes a time when they are told so and given the
opportunity to think for themselves and internalize. To most kids, it is
a breakdown and a time to reflect on every activity that might have gone
on in the family. For the parents, it sometimes creates a distant
relationship with the kids since it is not clear what the child is
thinking of. In the case study, Ms. Smith reports feeling as if Sarah is
always mad at her and describes it as if Sarah “blames” her for
something although she has “no clue” what she did wrong. This is a
normal feeling for the parents. And for Sarah, she asks “Why don’t I
have my mom’s figure?” She quickly adds” cause she is not my
Mom” and giggles. This is because she understands that she is not her
biological mother yet she wishes to be like her.
In circular questioning, such issues are brought up. Ms. Smith is able
to know rightfully what her daughter thinks and is therefore able to
give her all the best treatment she can. She is able to know exactly
what each member of the family thinks about them and why they choose to
behave in a certain way as opposed to another (Grant, 2007). Children in
a family are raised to trust and love one another and this is seen
between Greg and Sarah. The reason behind this can best be explained to
the whole family through such sessions and not private talks. Though it
may be hard to exhibit some real opinions at first, more therapy
sessions will have all members of the family be more open. It is the
role of the therapist to ensure that all members of the family enjoy the
sessions as they get used to them gradually.
Transtheoritical stage
At the beginning of the interview, Sarah is seen to be very presentable
and ready for the interview. Though as it progresses, she becomes
anxious and a bit disturbed. This is due to the reactions to the
questions asked to her by the therapist. She is not very comfortable
with them since she feels that her answers might steer up something.
Though in real sense, she just has past experiences that influence her.
Transtheoritical change is a model that deals more with the seeking to
include and integrate key constructs from other theories into a
comprehensive theory of change that can be applied to a variety of
behaviors, populations, and settings (Berrens, 2000). In this sense, it
includes the theories of social work. These theories have been explained
as to how they affect the family.
Data collection to measure family baseline in the beginning of the
treatment and its progress
To know that the family has had therapy that has helped them, it is
important to do a follow up. This follow up should be done specifically
by the therapist who took care of the family. This is because he/she is
aware of the recommendations they put forward and at what stage what
particulars should have been accomplished. One way of doing this is
through regular visits. These visits can occur at intervals of periods
set by the therapist and the therapist’s expectations. In this manner,
he/she can stay with the family for a period of 24 hours straight. Here,
the therapist is able to personally monitor the progress of the family
at first hand. The family may wish to exhibit changes during this time
so as to impress the therapist. However, this is normal and the
therapist can know when they do this and record them. During this time,
it is also important to have time to speak to all members privately
since they may give very purposeful information about what they want and
Another way is to offer follow up therapy sessions. These sessions will
specifically be for checking the progress of the individual members and
members in pairs and small groups. These sessions are held when the
patient and the family is very much free with the therapist and
considers them their secretive friend. The relationship between the
therapist and the patient should enable the patient feel like the
therapist is more of a friend and close sibling. Here, their
communication will and may include secrets, both related to the
situation and some of which might be irrelevant. The secrets may also
help to know the actual reason for the changes in behavior or reason of
choice of behavior. It may end up giving a different view to the initial
case and therefore offer a new chain of action that will work even
faster and more efficiently.
It is important to measure the family baseline at the beginning of the
treatment. This can be done by interviewing all members of the family
separately and together, or getting firsthand information from the
patient (Campbell, 1991). This may not be reliable all the time. It is
therefore important to carry out one’s personal research on the
family. This can be done by spending more time around them. This does
not necessarily mean being with them, but just having activities that
will put you an eye distance away from them. This may be viewed as
spying but it is actually a distant interaction with them. You can also
use the people around them. This includes their individual friends,
family friends and also neighbors. Neighbors are everywhere, right from
home, to school and work. For children like Sarah and Greg, their
teachers can be very reliable sources of information for them. Teachers
usually detect weaknesses in children that even the parents cannot.
Therefore, the teachers can be a good source since they too are
professionals and keep an extra observant eye on the children.
During the period of treatment, the patient can be used as a source of
data of their progress(Cecchin, 1978). This is done by viewing their
reactions and daily mood changes. If one is happy, it is easy to tell
they had a good day. If one is anxious, it is possible to tell they are
having a hard time or are undergoing stress. Therefore, it is important
to always know what the patient is going through from what they exhibit
through their emotions. Emotions alone may not tell it all. As a
therapist, it is important to let the patient speak about what they are
more willing to speak about in a specific session. When one is ready to
share a very sweet story involving their family, this might be an
indicator of how good it is with their family. The mood of the shared
story depicts what they feel about that topic.
Another way of monitoring the treatment process is through monitoring
their health. Health is a good indicator of the psychological nature of
a patient. Every patient who reacts well to treatments usually more
healthy as the treatment goes by. If their health deteriorates, it
indicates that things are not moving in the right direction. This will
therefore call for drastic measures to be put in place(Boscolo, 1996).
These measures include change of the treatment method and increasing the
esteem of the patient. If the health remains at a constant, i.e. not
improving or going down, it means the treatment has no effect on the
patient. Parameters of gauging the patients’ health include their
feeding methods, their general body and facial appearance and the
response from the patient’s family. This will definitely raise an
alarm or show no cause for alarm.
Impact of data collected in evaluation and treatment
Data collected from the patient and the family is important in the
patents recovery. Once the therapist gets any news from the family, it
is important to take note of it and know what to use it for. In this
case, it is important to liaise with the family and show them how best
to treat the patient during the healing process and the period after.
The recommendations given are important to all parties involved(Brown).
For the patient, the therapist will know what to administer and what to
avoid. In this sense, he will advise the people surrounding the patient
on how to best deal with him/her to avoid future disputes. For the
family and friends of the patient, they will get to know who the patient
really is in a good sense and know what is good for them and the
patient. For the therapist, the information gotten from the whole
experience can be used on other patients and futurereferences. The
therapist can in future easily diagnose problems and help their future
patients better and more efficiently. Experience in a professional field
boosts ones confidence and expands their thinking.
In conclusion, Sarah is living in a family that adopted her at a very
young age. This gave the family the opportunity to raise her as their
own and integrate her into their culture. However, the child had some
problems that led to her behaving in a particular unethical way.
Therefore, a good solution for the problem was counseling by a
professional. Professional councilors give therapy to patients with all
kinds of problems ranging from drug abuse to short temperament. This
leads to them having to deal with a lot of problems at the same time. It
is therefore wise for a therapist to use the correct judgment in dealing
with all these cases(Betrando, 2004). To do this, they have to collect a
lot of data about their patients and form personalrelationship with them
so as to get closer to them. The healing process is long but it is safe
to be patient and monitor the whole progress to full recovery.
Berrens, T. (2000, July 12). The Transtheoritical Model Of Behavioral
Change. Retrieved from The Habits Lab at UMBC:
Betrando, P. (2004). Systems in Evolution: Luigi Boscoloand Gianfranco
Cecchin in conversation with Paolo Betrando and Marco Bianciardi.
Journal of Family Therapy, 213 – 223.
Boscolo, L. &. (1996). Systemic Therapy with Individuals. London:
Brown, J. (n.d.). Circular Questioning: An Introductory Guide.
Australian. New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 2(18), 109 – 114.
Burbatti, G. &. (1988). The Milan approach to Family Therapy. Northvale,
New Jersey: Jason Aronson Inc.
Burbatti, G. C. ( Systemic Psychotherapy with Families, Couples and
Individuals). 1993. Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aaronson Inc.
Campbell, D. D. (1991). Second Thoughts on the Theory and Practice of
the Milan Approach to Family Therapy. London: Karnac.
Cecchin, G. (1978). Family Process. In G. Cecchin, Hypothesizing,
Circularity, and Neutrality Revisited: An invitation to Curiosity (pp.
Grant, C. &. (2007). Couple Therapy: The Self in Relationship.
Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Wilfrid Laurier University. (2013). Social Work Theory Summary.
Retrieved November 13, 2013, from Laurier:
Burnham, J. (1988).Family Therapy: First Steps towards a Systemic
Approach.London: Routledge.

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