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SWSP2033 Social Work Theory and Practice: Readings Summary Assessment 1 Answer

SWSP2033: Social Work Theory and Practice (Individuals, Children and Families)

Discipline of Social Work

Assessment 1

Assessment Type
Readings Summary

Aligned Learning Outcomes

  1. Explore critical, strength-based and anti-oppressive theory to practice with individuals and families.
  2. Locate individual and family issues within social, cultural and political conditions
  3. Critically explore the values, assumptions and challenges in working with families that present with complex/ multiple issues in the community, and range of social work responses.
  4. Demonstrate a critical understanding of ethical challenges relating to culture, gender, age and power and strategies to work in an anti-oppressive, strengths-based manner.
  5. Apply practice skills, assessment skills, resource & networking skills to working with individuals and families.
  6. Consider the challenge of working critically within the current socio-political culture of managerialism and neo-liberalism.
2000 words

Assessment 1 Details and Instructions

Each week you will write 400 words summarising the key points from the two weekly readings. You will explain how the ideas can inform and be used in practice, giving examples from classroom activities. You can choose five weeks’ readings from the first six weeks. Each summary is worth 10% of the course mark ie 5% per reading summary. This will be marked according to the following assessment criteria:

You will be assessed on:

  1. Demonstrated ability to understand, summarise the key points from two readings from the week
  2. Ability to integrate and relate the key points to the week’s topic.
  3. Capacity to describe how the readings relate to practice using classroom examples.
  4. Clear written communication skills, accurate referencing and reference to 10 set readings – journal article or book chapters

How to do well in Assessment 1

  • Read the set readings
  • Attend all classes with active participation in class discussions and roleplays
  • Use resources from this unit including books and journal articles


Readings Summary

Week 1 

           The Australian Bureau of Statistics states that a family is a one where parents live with their children (any age), lone parents live with children (any age) and family comprising of adult sisters and brothers living together (Camberis & McMahon, 2017). Also, families can be formed by couples of different gender, couples of the same gender, single parent or stepfamily.  Family functioning refers to the capability of a family to interact, engage, make making decisions and solving issues, and develop and sustain stable relationships of support. Mothers have historically been seen as young children's primary caregivers and most ideas and parenting studies indirectly apply to mothers. However, the involvement of relatives apart from mothers (generally fathers or grandparents), as well as relationships with relatives, and the effect of separation, re-partnering and divorce on families should also be considered. The association with their primary carer is the most proximal effect on the growing infant in the paradigm of Bronfenbrenner (1979) (Camberis & McMahon, 2017).

            Studies have shown that the relationship of attachment among children and their caregivers is a key determinant of subsequent social-emotional adaptation and, in general, the potential to establish interpersonal relationships that accommodate and sustain each other. In contrast to this, of the child faces violence and are from the separated family they are more likely to have mental health issues, are indulged in drug abuse and face abuse and neglect. The determinants of the parenting quality include psychological resources, the mental health of the parents, economic sources and parent's education (Camberis & McMahon, 2017).  This information will help in identifying the association between child development and parental and family influences on development.  

          The next reading by Crichton (2016) aims at showcasing the necessary skills for the social worker to work families and children who have faced abuse and violence. Family violence is the enforcement of psychological, sexual and physical actions used in personal relationships, including types of violence like child abuse, violence towards intimate partners, abuse of elderly persons, violence towards children, and violence towards grandparents (Sukkar et al., 2016). Further, the chapter demonstrates the engagement of the worker with an abused child. The key factors for engagement include skills, knowledge and attitude of the worker. Critical social work encompasses a variety of ways to practise, including anti-discriminatory approaches, anti-oppressive, systemic social work and responses to human rights. In general, these methods concentrate on modifying social systems that have a detrimental influence on well-being. 

           Also, critical approaches to social work understand that certain individuals are privileged over others and that the vocabulary we use will either preserve or question ties of influence. Moreover, critical philosophies promote a holistic approach to the interpretation of family issues; thus, the priorities of critical social work are a powerful interweaving of personal and social interests (Crichton, 2016). The reading informs that it is essential to work for the benefit for abused children. This can be done through efficient skills and knowledge and the best approach is the holistic approach as it helps in identifying the social, physical and psychological needs of the child.  

Week 2

          The reading by Lundy (2011), demonstrates the ethical and legal standards of practice for social workers. The given situations highlight the ethical dilemmas faced by social workers. Lack of ethical and legal decision making results in malpractice which affects the actions, behaviours and obligations to be followed by a social worker. Further, for ethical decision making an efficient social worker must carefully integrate principles of legal and ethical practice also with considering the cultural and social preferences of an individual. The ethical practices are divided into 6 norms namely confidentiality, a duty to report, record keeping, informed consent, duty to warn and boundary issues and dual relationships. The first ethical principle of duty to warn states that the social worker should protect others for potential harm (Lundy, 2011). As per the class teaching, it can be concluded that the duty of warn can be taken above confidentiality as it ensures the protection of individuals from potential harm such as in case of HIV positive female. Hence, in such case of the infected individual is not willing to tell their partner about the chronic condition saving their life it is social workers responsibility to notify the other individual for their safety (Reamer, 2017)

          The next principle is informed consent. It is both legally and ethically applicable to take consent of the person before taking any proceedings during casework (Lundy, 2011). If the client is a child the ethical consent should also be taken from their parents. Next, the principle of confidentiality shows that it is of prime importance to keep the client information confidential.  It is the ethical responsibility of the social worker to report the issue regarding the safety of any individual or child to a regulatory body as per the duty to report. The boundary issue contends that relationship other than professional with the client can be detrimental. Further, as per record keeping, it is the legal and ethical duty of social workers is to keep a precise record of their interaction with clients (Lundy, 2011).

         The next chosen reading by Segal et al. (2017) states that empathy is the ability to comprehend another person’s emotions. In addition to this, Greeno et al. (2017) state that empathy is important in all major aspects of social work. Empathy can be used in social work for better engagement and fostering mutual understanding for working with an individual client or with families. Also, empathy will help in increased trust with the client and enables positive outcomes. Empathy promotes self-other awareness and responsiveness which in turn helps in creating strong boundaries. 

Week 3 

            In week 3 reading by Bacon (2013), it has been found that narrative therapy is a central approach for working with aboriginals. This informs that narrative technique offers Aboriginal people a comfortable place to stand without required to re-tell the trauma incident to discuss their perspective. Narrative practise is interested in connecting the individual to the shared experience; rather, the individual concerns are interpreted as social issues (Smith et al., 2017). Narrative therapy tends to be a supportive, non-blaming approach for treatment and community service that relies on participants with their own lives as experts. Bacon (2013) also shows that stories are the basis of the narrative therapy and social workers listens to such storytelling to shape people lives and understand the theme. In addition to finding their voice, narrative therapy helps individuals to use their voice for good, encouraging them to be experts in their own lives and to act in a manner that represents their interests and beliefs (Pease et al., 2017). Aboriginals have more strength for growth and transformation, particularly when they own our voice and their own story. This approach can be implemented in two ways, the social worker can either externalize the problems or re-tell the same stories this helps the client in knowing the approaches for their self and empowers them (Bacon, 2013). 

           Next, in the reading by Green et al. (2016) critical social practise seeks to analyse and undermine the mechanisms in a culture that generate inequality and disparities within society towards powerless classes of citizens. To highlight the value of culturally responsive practice, the social work discipline is seen as it seeks to ensure that the practice of Native and Torres Strait Islander cultures and societies is culturally healthy. This informs that cultural responsiveness involves being knowledgeable of and reacting acceptably to cultural influences. Social workers who are cultural competent use culture as an aspect of their biopsychosocial assessments. Also, to take the culture of the client into account, it is important to adopt this approach. Moreover, culture responsiveness entails the principles of holistic care approach which includes counselling the individual in respect to their tradition, belief systems and customary practices (Bennett et al., 2018). This has a positive impact on their social-emotional, physiological and spiritual well-being. While working with the aboriginals and considering the culture of the aboriginal clients it is a major importance to consider the non-verbal communication cues as man acts of body language and eye movements are considered non-acceptable in aboriginal culture and are not considered respectful (Green, 2019).  

Week 4

           As per the first reading of week 4 by Maidment (2016) assessment is an information-gathering process and includes factors such as family, organization, community, person and group. This informs and helps in the identification of strengths and weakness of the client and enables the formation of a mutually agreed intervention plan. There are some broad types of knowledge for dealing with people and families that are typically part of an evaluation process. These may involve learning out about key help persons in the life of the client; resources being used; the essence of family relationships; appropriateness of existing accommodation; travel availability; financial position; health considerations, like particular health-related conditions, sleep, appetite, inspiration, levels of physical activity etc. (Milner et al., 2020). For example, family relationships can be identified by using genograms. Genograms are also designed for a customer or family as part of the induction evaluation. Genograms are like a family tree and give the social worker and the client with a visual, chronological image of a family (Maidment, 2016). Constructing a genogram is a valuable method to help the client clarify interactions between family members, demonstrate family actions, profession or health habits, and identify new areas to be discussed through evaluation. 

            Maidment (2016) states that collaborative framework is an essential assessment tool used by social workers to analyse the internal and external resources of the client and his/her socioeconomic status. Brausch et al. (2020) contend that collaborative framework is used to collect data to interpret the nature of challenges, to measure progression and performance, and to determine interventions and programs' efficacy. As per the classroom activity assessment includes information gathering, assessment, case planning, monitoring and intervention, evaluation, referral and closure. The three major types of assessment models used are procedural, exchange and questioning model. 

           The next reading by Lundy (2011) put forth that for assessment and practice the setting context chosen for the client must ensure his/her privacy and confidentiality. It is also necessary to maintain an inclusive atmosphere to attain mutual trust (Kelly, 2017).  Also, the social worker can make use of the turning-in approach. Tuning-in is a method of learning through which the worker comes in contact with personal biases, emotions and fears about the condition of the individual(s) and problem. Next, the importance of the therapeutic relationship is very evident. As per Lundy (2011), therapeutic relationship ensures that professional relationship is positive in terms of respect, understanding, support, comfort, empathy, compassion and acceptance towards the client.  

Week 6

          According to Taylor (2004), the theory of child development comes to be seen as fundamental insight underlying social work practise, a belief strengthened by the new research-minded agenda. This informs that the types of developmental psychology are the foundation of all professional communication about families, parenting style and approaches, as well as commitment, bonding and patterns of violence. Also, this development theory becomes important in future practice since to consider normative trends of growth and be responsive to concerns of interest, social workers must have a clear knowledge about child development. Parental factors such as domestic violence, drug abuse and mental ill-health will affect all facets of the growth of children (Carlyle, 2018). Moreover, development is seen as the result of a mechanism that includes multiple factors: genetic makeup, some of which is similar to the population and some unique to the person; the atmosphere in which development takes place, which is dynamic and multi-layered in itself; and the adaptive ability of the individual itself. Children are reluctant to act on their behalf, so adults are expected to act for them. Thus, the propensity within the criticisms to break down the main distinction among adult/child and to apply some skills as adults to children is considered extremely alarming. In comparison, the relativistic trends of these approaches are treated with intense scepticism by those within social work who argue that it is difficult to set expectations and make decisions on topics such as parenting without absolutes. 

            Next, reading by Sroufe (2016), the theory of attachment is a psychological model that explains the phases of attachment in early childhood to the close relations that are established. The conceptual achievements of the theory showed the importance of relational psychology and exemplified the basic nature of development. The theory of attachment sets forth the child development valuable aspects of psychoanalysis: the formative effect of initial childhood, the significance of affective existence, the vital value of interpersonal relationships, and the fact that much of psychological processing resides beyond awareness.                                              Further, the empirical achievement of this theory shows that differences of child attachment are embedded like initial parent-infant engagement, which these discrepancies of attachment are the basis for identity development, and that the mechanisms by which lived experience is taken out are "internal working models" or depictions of interactive culture. The work on consistency, transition and "resilience" is illustrated. This approach has been used widely. The vulnerabilities of the attachment theory include that it is only phenomenal, not real. It also results in illogical deductions, proposal incoherence and forecasts that are not identifiable. 

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