Week 8: Life Model and Problem-Solving Model
This week, you will move from applying theories and theoretical perspectives to considering and applying models. Watch this video for a brief overview of the difference between the two:
Some practitioners and scholars employ the terms “theory” and “model” interchangeably, so remember that a model provides the steps, procedures, or techniques to solve the problem or to set the change in motion. This week, you will look at two social work models: the life model and the problem-solving model. I uploaded the transcript for the video.
• Apply the life model to social work practice
• Apply the problem-solving model to social work practice
• Analyze the effect of defense mechanism on client progression through the problem-solving and life models
• Analyze gaps in the life model for a specific population
Discussion: Use the Problem-Solving Model to Move Through the Life Model
Piedra and Engstrom (2009) noted how the life model “remains general and unspecific regarding factors that affect immigrant families” (p. 272). Recall that there will never be one theory or a model that fully explains a phenomenon or lays out all the steps and procedures when working with complex issues that clients present to social workers. Recognizing this, Piedra and Engstrom selected another theory in the immigration literature—segmented assimilation theory. They identified concepts from segmented assimilation theory to “fill in” the gaps that the life model does not address.
In this Discussion, you examine gaps in the life model by applying it to your field experience.
• Review the life model.
• Review this article in the Learning Resources: Piedra, L. M., & Engstrom, D. W. (2009). Segmented assimilation theory and the life model: An integrated approach to understanding immigrants and their children. Social Work, 54(3), 270–277. https://doi.org/10.1093/sw/54.3.270
Respond to two colleagues:
• Discuss how you would use the data collected by your colleague to guide the next step in the planned change process or to inform future work with clients.
Discussion post from Colleagues 1
One case from my social work experience in which resiliency theory would be beneficial is a client who has been struggling with severe depression ever since the isolation as a result of the pandemic began. This client has had substantially less social engagement during these times. The presenting problem in this case is that they were feeling incredibly depressed and it was starting to interfere with their ability to engage in daily activities and focus on their work. One intervention that has good potential to promote resiliency for this client is to help them gain more experiences of social engagement. For instance, a virtual support group for young adults with depression might be substantially helpful in making the client feel less alone and isolated.
An instrument that I would utilize to assess levels of resiliency for this client would be the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC). This scale would be most appropriate in that it has been utilized among numerous age groups and ethnic backgrounds, and it assesses resiliency from many aspects of the client’s experience (Smith-Osborne & Whitehill Bolton, 2013). When assessing resilience, it is important to keep in mind that outcomes of resilience can look different among different categories of a client’s experience. The CD-RISC aligns with this principle in that it takes into account many aspects of a client’s experience and social environment.
Smith-Osborne, A., & Whitehill Bolton, K. (2013). Assessing resilience: a review of measures across the life course. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work,
10(2), 111–126. https://doi.org/10.1080/15433714.2011.597305
Wk 5 Crisis Theory and Resilience Theory
Social workers often confront crises that are brought to them—like a crisis experienced by a client, a family, a community, or an organization. The goal of crisis theory is to intervene to help restore equilibrium and reduce long-term psychological and social distress. Given the nature of social workers meeting clients at the point of crisis, interventions are short-term with very concrete outcomes.
In times of adversity or crisis, clients, families, communities, or organizations frequently forget they have strengths—both intrapsychic assets and environmental resources—to assist them through the crisis. Resiliency can be viewed as a trait, a process, or the outcome of intervention, which may help a client adapt to a crisis, trauma, or adverse event. Resiliency theory emphasizes the environmental, psychological, social, and individual factors that minimize the risk that stems from problems that arise.
This week, you examine two theories that can be used to complement each other—crisis theory and resiliency theory.
Discussion: Instruments Measuring Resiliency
Social workers strive to make informed decisions about the interventions they implement. These decisions should be driven by what the research data say. As a result, social workers have been called to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions they implement. A common way to evaluate interventions is to use a single-subject design. This involves monitoring an outcome for an intervention implemented for one client. After a social worker works with the client to determine the outcome to be measured, the following steps to the evaluation might look like this:
• Administer the instrument before the intervention is implemented
• Implement the intervention
• Administer the same instrument, after a specified time period
• Monitor to determine if there have been any changes in the outcome
In this Discussion, you use the lens of resiliency theory when reflecting on a case from your fieldwork, and then you consider how to measure the effectiveness of a possible intervention.
• Read this article listed in the Learning Resources:
Smith-Osborne, A., & Whitehill Bolton K. (2013). Assessing resilience: A review of measures across the life course. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 10(2), 111–126. https://doi.org/10.1080/15433714.2011.597305 Turner, F. J. (Ed.). (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches (6th ed.). Oxford University Press.
• Chapter 7, “Social Work Theory and Practice for Crisis, Disaster, and Trauma” (pp. 117–130)
• Chapter 29, “Resiliency Theory and Social Work Practice” (pp. 441–451)
• If you don’t have field experience that applies to this Discussion, you can apply other social work experience, including internships or professional experience, or apply a case study from this course.
• I have apply the case study just incase.
Thank you so much.
Application of Attachment Theory to a Case Study
As you have read, theory guides the conceptualization of the client’s problem and how social workers assess and intervene relative to the problem. However, theory can also shape the self-reflective questions social workers ask themselves. Clients often come to social workers under stress or distress. This then affects how the social worker responds and thus the client-social worker relationship. As a result, Foley, Nash, and Munford (2009) employed attachment theory as a “lens in which to view the reflective process itself and to gain greater understanding and empathy for what each social worker within each unique social work-client relationship can access of that relationship for reflection” (pp. 44).
This week, you will apply attachment theory to the case study you chose in Week 2. In other words, your theoretical orientation—or lens—is attachment theory as you analyze the case study.
Psychoanalytical Theories and Attachment Theory
Psychodynamic theory and its derivatives can be traced to the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. You likely are familiar with the image that Freud often conjures: A client lying on a couch with a therapist sitting nearby, notepad in hand. The psychoanalytic terms “id,” “ego,” “superego,” “repression,” and “unconscious” are deeply embedded in the layperson’s jargon.
Freud’s theories have been challenged over time and are not always as relevant. But theories evolve, and despite “pure” Freudian theory falling out of favor, many theories have sprung from Freud’s psychoanalytical principles. Attachment theory is one example. Its originator, John Bowlby, was directly influenced by Freud, but because of Bowlby’s experiences in working with disturbed children, he believed that a child’s psychosocial development is linked to their attachment to the mother. Because all theories must be tested using empirical research methods, Mary Ainsworth tested John Bowlby’s theory using the Strange Situation experiment, which involved observing children react to caregivers and strangers. The results from her research led to what we now know as attachment styles.