Social Work — Theoretical approaches Essay Example

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The following paper is an investigation of the approach task- centered system, which social workers commonly use in their work to solve a number of cases. To comprehensively investigation this model, the paper will discuss and describe the approach briefly, give a brief discussion as to why the theory should be appealing, a short critical analysis of the approach, in addition to a short discussion, of the relevance of this approach to the case study.

Key words; social work, task- centered approach


Task- centered approach to social work has been shown to be one of the most influential and compelling models in social work (Coady and Lehmann 2008). Emerging on the horizon of social work practice in a period that social work was often criticized for being flamboyant with its goals and for being haphazard in its practices, the approach has had a significant effect on social work (Coady and Lehmann 2008). Besides aiding social workers defend their work and efforts, this model have also helped various social practitioners in focusing their attention on those living in complex environments and situations (Coady and Lehmann 2008). Additionally, the approach invites clients to be more involved in the implementation as well as planning of their cases, thereby increasing the chances of success (Turner 1996).

The first of the many theoretical approaches in social care intervention is the task- centered approach. Two social workers, Laura Epstein and William Reid, designed the approach. It focuses on challenges facing t clients and puts more emphasis on collaboration and tasks between the social worker and the client. This social work theoretical approach shows the attainment of goals as something that can be done efficiently and systematically. Client resistance and the social work model adopted, which was open-ended, led to the popularity of the model (Turner 1996).

There is one main reason why this approach appeals to social worker and this is its goal- oriented nature. The essence of the task- centered approach includes such aspects as pointing out and defining what the problem is (Coady and Lehmann 2008). This also includes coming up with goals that will be used in attaining each of the set goals. Another factor that appeals to social workers about the task- centered approach is that the approach puts a lot of emphasis on the collaboration of social workers and clients in attaining these goals (Coady and Lehmann 2008). It is therefore the best approach in dealing with clients who are seemingly difficult, or those who live in complex environments (Turner 1996).

The utility of this approach is largely varied. For instance, the model attempts to reduce the challenges individuals are facing (Coady and Lehmann 2008). The problems related to interpersonal conflict, role performance, social relations, emotional stress and inadequate resources are particularly as it follows, the approach only deals with the issues that the client feels are most essential.

One of the many advantages of this approach is that it empowers the client in a manner that is collaborative (Coady and Lehmann 2008). This is the same approach commonly adopted in task- centered practice. The approach was meant to be adopted as activity- focused and to provide frameworks for solving problems occurring within a limited period. As the approach has been used in a lot of social work subjects and populations, it has been indicated to be highly effective in solving problems involving minors inclusive of residential and schools facilities (Turner 1996).

This approach can be relevant to Honey’s case. For instance, Honey can be encouraged to assume responsibility for identification of her problems and the identification of which problems are priorities. After identification of these problems, goals can be set, and agreed upon, and tasks can be developed for the purposes of attaining the goals (Turner 1996). Honey can be persuaded to work with a social worker for a specific period of time in which tasks are completed, and progress is monitored. Honey needs a stable home to stay where her behavior and education can be monitored. Some goals might include improving behavior and eliminating aggressive behavior, improving her relationship with her family, and improving her grades at school. The task- centered approach can be used to set tasks for attaining these goals like; find a school program that Honey finds enjoyable, encourage Honey and her mother to spend some time together so as to develop a good relationship, to find Honey and her mother a family counselor. During all this, it is essential to let Honey participate in decision making, setting goals, and developing tasks (Turner 1996).


The task- centered approach can be extremely useful in dealing with difficult clients or those clients living in a complex environment. It has been found to be extremely effective.


Coady, N., & Lehmann, P. (2008). Theoretical perspectives for direct social work practice: a generalist-eclectic approach. New York, Springer

Turner, F.J. 1996, Social work treatment: interlocking theoretical approaches, Simon and Schuster, New York.