The Task Centred Book - Social Work Practice - Click HERE
Theories of Social Work Practice: The Task-Centred Model - Click HERE
task-centered model is a short-term, problem-solving approach to social work
practice. It is a major approach in clinical social work
model consists of three phases.
initial phase normally takes from one to two interviews although some
cases may require more. It ends with setting up initial tasks.
middle phase starts with the next session. Changes in the problems and
the outcome of the tasks are reviewed at the beginning of the interview. If
tasks have been accomplished, new tasks are developed. If tasks have not been
attained, an effort is made to identify obstacles to task accomplishment. Some
obstacles may be resolved in the session, others may require tasks in their own
right. Still others might prove insurmountable, in which case a different task
strategy may be adopted.
only one session (the final one) is devoted to termination, the process
of terminating is actually begun in the initial phase when the duration of
treatment is set. Reminders of number of sessions left as well as discussion of
modifications of the original limits keep termination alive throughout the
course of service. The final session is designed to emphasize what clients have
learned and accomplished.
The task-centered approach is addressed
to the resolution of psychosocial problems.
These are problems that arise in people's interactions with their environments.
They are defined by people's internal discomforts that relate to events in their
begins with an explanation of role, purpose, and treatment procedures that will
be used. An explanation of the treatment approach is given as a basis for
involving the client as a collaborator. Part of explaining the treatment
approach includes providing the client with an overview of the phases of the
model and of the activities that are central to the treatment process.
task-centered model uses a time limits of 6 to 12
the problem is brought up in an initial interview or further along in the case,
practitioners attempt to determine how clients perceive their difficulties, to
elicit relevant information about them, and to formulate problems in a way that
clients find understandable and acceptable. There are basically three routes for
The most common is through client initiation. Clients express complaints which
are then explored. A second route is interactive. Problems emerge through a
dialogue between the practitioner and client in which neither is a clear
initiator. In the third route to problem identification the practitioner is
clearly the initiator.
problems are imbedded in a context
that influences and is influenced by the problem. Although the primary purpose
of the model is to resolve target problems, significant and enduring change in
these problems is usually not possible unless accompanied by some degree of
contextual change. An important secondary purpose of the model is to bring about
contextual change as a means of preventing recurrence of problems and of
strengthening the functioning of the client system.
exploration covers certain essentials: a factual description of typical
occurrences of the problem; frequency of occurrence; the seriousness with which
the client views it; its apparent origins; what clients have done to alleviate
it, and how well these efforts have worked.
target problems are
selected. Target Problems are those concerns that the practitioner and client
explicitly agree will become the focus of their work together. These problems
are based on what the client wants as these are examined and expressed in the
initial encounters with the practitioner
the client's problems are identified, they are ranked in order of importance to
the client. This ranking is usually the basis for deciding in which order the
target problems will be addressed.
problem identification and initial exploration, the practitioner attempts to formulating
the problem. Usually practitioners initiate the process by stating the
central concerns clients have expressed. This formulation is not a simple
summary, however. Practitioners attempt to frame the problem in a way most
likely to foster constructive problem-solving actions on the client's part while
still reflecting the client's own concerns. To set the stage for client tasks,
the problem statement should reflect how clients might act differently to obtain
what they want.
goals may be included as part of the problem formulation, depending on the
nature of the problem and the client's readiness to engage in a goal-setting
process. In general, the purpose of the problem formulation is to capture the
clients' major concerns in a way to set the stage for them to begin to take
client's acceptance of the final
problem statement leads to a contract that will guide subsequent
work. Both practitioner and client agree to work toward solution of the
problem(s) as formulated.
involve the client in self-directed problem solving activity. Even if
tasks are structured by the practitioner, clients should have some
decision-making role in carrying them out or the tasks should lead, as in
learning skills, to progressively greater client control over their
implementation. At the very least, clients should be aware of the purpose of the
task and how it will supposedly affect the problem to prepare the way for their
doing it on their own. An ultimate goal in the use of tasks is client
empowerment--to enable clients to design and effect their own problem-solving
in the task-centered model begins in the first session, when client and
practitioner set time limits for the intervention. Throughout the treatment
process the practitioners regularly reminds the client of the time limits and
the number of sessions left additional progress. If an extension is made,
practitioner and client contract on a small number of additional sessions,
usually no more than four interviews. It should also be noted that such
extensions occur in less than one fifth of the cases in most settings.
accomplishments made by the client are particularly stressed in the termination
session. This emphasizing of the client's accomplishment serves as a reinforcer.
In another final termination session activity, the practitioner assists the
clients in identifying the problem-solving skills they have acquired during the
treatment process. An effort is made to help clients generalize these
problem-solving skills, so they can apply them to future problems they may
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