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Name: tafadzwa

Surname: dhenya
Reg number: r158915c
Programme: hsw
Course: social work with individuals
Lecturer: Mr Matsika
Due Date: 13 sept 2016
Question: case work has always been a treatment
method which recognizes both intrapersonal
(psychological) and external (social) causes of
dysfunctions (hollis 1964).discuss

Casework is a phenomenon at one complex ,dynamic and in evolution .It is complex by virtue
of the varied knowledge which feed it ,the ethical commitments which infuse it and the

objectives and ends which guide it and the skills which empower it .as it is experienced
,practiced or thought about ,the social case work situation is a living event and as such it almost
becomes impossible to give it a single definition .Different authors have put forward different
definitions as to what social case work is .Hollis .F (1954) defined social casework as a method
employed by social workers to help individuals find solution to problems of social adjustment
which they are unable to handle in a satisfactory way by their own efforts. Richmond .M (1917)
defines social casework as the art of doing different things with different people, co-operating
with them to achieve some of their own and societies betterment. A method is well understood
to be an orderly way of procedure and therefore it is always carried out towards achievement of a
specific aim. Case work is the oldest and most developed method of solving individuals
problems and improving his social relations .According to Witmer (1942) the chief aim of social
case work is to help individuals mobilize their capacities for the solution of their problems,
Moffet and Hollis have emphasized that one of the main objective of social case work is to bring
about an adjustment between the individual client and his situation or environment. In general
the purpose of social case work is to help an individual client to solve his psycho-social problems
in such a way so that he finds himself capable of dealing with these problems at present and also
may solve in future if such problems arise. However there are other treatment methods that are
employed by social workers to help individuals such as social group work and community
organization though to a lesser extent.
Case work has always been used as a treatment method by social workers to solve problems that
affect human beings. Different methods are employed in order to have a full understanding of the
root causes of the problem that an individual or client is facing. In order for a social worker to
fully gain knowledge of the problem he or she has to do a background check of that client , for

instance how was that individual raised ,when growing up did that client have problems
adjusting to his or her environment .Interviews are also used as a way of gaining information
about clients, a social worker can interview close relatives about the upbringing of his client
.Mostly social workers when carrying out a casework take into consideration the role that the
environment plays in influencing our behavior and personalities and also take into consideration
the fact that individuals and their environment are interdependent and therefore one cannot be
treated fully when these two factors are not taken into consideration since they depend on each
Case work has always been a treatment method which recognizes both intrapersonal and external
causes of dysfunction as the individual and society in which one lives are interdependent and
complimentary to each other .Man is a bio-psycho-social being who is in constant interaction
with his environment .All problems in social functioning are psycho-social in nature and most
are interpersonal as well .According to Perlman (1957) the person operates as a physical
,psycho-social entity whether on the problem of his neurotic anxieties or of his inadequate
income, he is in product ,in process so to speak of his constitutional makeup ,his physical and
social environment ,his past experience ,his present perceptions and reactions and even his
future aspirations .It is this physical-psycho-social- past-present future configuration that he
brings to every life situation he encounters. The importance of social case work help is that it
aims to facilitate the individuals social adaptation to restore, reshape or reinforce his functioning
as a social being. All human beings are part of society and everyone has different social roles and
duties. While performing his /her duties and roles, individual faces many problems in one form
or the other .Every individual reacts differently to his/her social, physical and economic
environment. In other words the problems with similar nature affect different individuals
differently. Some people are able to manage these problems by their own efforts, while others
need external intervention .Social work has developed a method to help individuals with psychosocial problems, in order to enable them to cope more effectively with their problems and to have
a better social adjustment with the environment. Hollis warns against efforts to explain human
behavior primarily in interpersonal terms, which she equates with omitting the contributions of

the Freudian school of thought concerning intrapsychic phenomena. Thus case work has been a
treatment method which recognizes both intrapersonal and external causes of dysfunction.
Case work has always been a treatment method which recognizes both intrapersonal and external
causes of dysfunctions since the individual does not live in a vacuum, the content of much of his
inner experience is psycho-social.An individual might be having a problem adjusting to his
environment or relating to other individuals in a society . Problems may arise due to
discrepancies between environmental demands and personal needs. For example, a teenage girl
whose mother is ill is expected to care for younger siblings, but she needs time for completing
her education and for socialization with her peers. In order for a social case worker to assist the
client he /she must grasp the nature of the person who is a client, the nature of his /her problem
and the nature of the place which contains the problem solving means. A case worker may help a
client by making resources accessible to that particular client and help that client develop coping
skills so that they may be able to assist themselves is such problem arise in the future. Thus case
work is a treatment method which recognizes both intrapersonal and external causes of
On the other hand, social group work and social welfare administration are also other treatment
methods that are employed by social workers to assist people. According to Reid (1997) the
purpose of group work is to help improve the well- being of the members and relieve personal
suffering. This is accomplished because groups have the power to enhance problem-solving
capacity, prevent the development of serious social problems, and restore and maintain the social
functioning of members. According to H. B. Trecker the purpose of social group work is to
bring about the highest development of human personality. A group worker employs different
techniques to help clients like growth groups, task groups, and therapeutic groups. A social group
also teaches the individuals to live and work together and to participate in a group for their
intellectual, emotional and physical growth. The fact that social group work deals with the
development of human personality points to the fact that social group work is also another
treatment method which recognizes intrapersonal and external causes of dysfunction.

Community organization is another treatment method used by social workers to solve human
problems communally. It is used for empowering people for their development and community
organization means helping the society to solve its problems .Murray .G.R (1967) , defines
community organization as a process by which a community identifies its needs or objectives ,
gives priority to them ,develops confidence and will to work at them ,find resources (internal and
external) to deal with them and in doing so ,extends and develops cooperative and collaborative
attitudes and practices in the community .In community organization the community is the
client .In problem solving there are three basic aspects and these are :study , diagnosis and
treatment .First the problem has to be studied and this can be done through collection of
information regarding the problem and from the information collected the professional worker
has to identify the main causes and this is called diagnosis. Based on the findings or diagnosis a
solution is evolved, that is called treatment. For example a certain community has water
problems a social worker can work together with the community to dig wells or to have
boreholes placed in that area, thus community organization is a treatment method.
In conclusion, one can conclude that casework has always been treatment method which
recognizes both intrapersonal and external causes of dysfunction as casework is a primary
method employed by social workers to deal with personal and environmental problems of
individuals. On the other hand, group work and community organization are other treatment
methods used by social workers to solve communal problems as well as internal problems of


Hollis .F (1954) Casework Diagnosis What and Why?. Smith College Studies in Social Work
24(3) pp., 1-8
Murray, G.R (1967) Community Organization, Theory, Principles and Practice .Harper and row
Perlman .H.H (1957), Social Casework: A Problem Solving Process .The University of Chicago
Press, Chicago
Richmond .M (1917), Social Diagnosis, Russel Sage Foundation, New York
Trecker, H.B (1970) Social Group Work Principles and Practices, Associate Press: New York
Witmer, H.L (1942) Some Principles of Research in Social Casework .Smith College Studies in
Social Work 13 (1), pp1-12