Social Work Interventions: Case Study Essay
Identity crisis is a scenario where one is not sure of what his or her purpose is in life let alone knowing who that person is as put by Erik Erikson (1970).
It is one of the very vital conflicts that an individual goes through during development (Erikson, 1970). Lionel in this case is faced with this problem; he is undergoing an identity crisis a situation that is associated with psychological conflict (Manosevitz & Oshman, 1974). He is staring at depression if he is not given the right guidance, in getting depressed he may engage in activities that may be detrimental to his health as well as his mind and he may eventually breakdown.There is a high likelihood of Lionel resorting to use of drugs to get a feeling that he is secure and identify with peers who are doing drugs. His self esteem could get damaged and may become unable to express himself, too shy to even ask questions in class and this may affect his grades.
He may in the long run become suicidal if not well handled thinking that it would solve all his miseries. What is very likely is that Lionel may decide to run away from his foster parents in search for his real parents and that could put him in danger of being homeless.Violence is an equally possible option that he may resort to, with the anger being directed to both his adopted parents and any other person who is close to him at school and at home. In Lionel’s situation is worth considering the Erikson’s psychosocial development theory. Erikson (1970) appreciates the fact that life is just but a series of lessons as well as challenges that trigger us to grow.
It theory is very helpful in the development of a child since he focuses on how ones personality and behaviour can be influenced as they ascend the growth stages especially during childhood.Basing on the Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial theory, Lionel is at the fifth stage which is a stage involving identity versus role confusion. Postulated to the Freudian psycho-sexual stages, he is experiencing puberty and genitality. This stage is quite challenging, affecting adolescents who very easily yield to peer group influences, if well guided then the outcome will be resolving his identity and his perception of life, and this is what characterizes a grown up.
Another theory that characterizes Lionel’s situation is the Freud’s biological and sexually oriented theory.At this point in time the boy is experiencing hormonal changes which are accompanied by physical changes, it is possible that the boy sees his foster mother as a servant and tries to challenge his father as stated by this Freud’s theory a situation referred to as Freud’s ‘Oedipus’. The boy is probably highly agitated and is dating and fondling, never interested in his class work or sports or anything his teacher is encouraging him to do. This stage usually dictates the social orientation and the perspective in which a person ends up taking in adult stages of life.Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s grief cycles are also theories postulated by Dr Elisabeth which apply in this case.
She does describe five stages in which she calls the grief model. In this model she observes that young people who are Lionel’s age do experience emotions, such as denial, others do feel angered and depressed, some undergo acceptance as well as bargaining, or experience both this emotions in one package. These emotions emanate from other factors other than death. She observes that such emotions can easily deter someone and direct them to criminal activities.She also points out that different people perceive different situations differently, hence the need to approach different people differently depending on how they perceive their situation when guiding them.
She interprets denial as a conscious or unconsciously refusing to accept the reality or fact. She further states that this is just a natural defence mechanism and that depending on the individual and the trauma one can remain locked in denial indefinitely. Anger manifests in different ways as observed by Dr Elisabeth, she states that people who are emotionally upset get angry with themselves as well as other people closer to them.It is therefore important for one to know this so that they become detached as well as non-judgmental if they get to experience anger of someone who is extremely upset.
In bargaining she observes that it involves someone bargaining with what they believe in when going through traumatizing situations like in Lionel’s case. She points out that it is often common to see people who have previously been in a relationship and are breaking up reaching a compromise of continuing to be friends even if they have broken up. More this is aggravated if the matter is very serious, especially if life is to be lost.Depression is one the stages in grief cycle where reality dawns on an individual. It’s frequently characterized by feelings of sadness; regret some individuals become uncertain of what to do next. She describes this stage as a kind of acceptance that is associated with emotional attachment, an aftermath.
Acceptance is the last stage of the cycle and according to Dr Elisabeth Kubler varies from individual to individual and also is dependent on the situation the individual is facing. A person becomes detached emotionally from a particular situation and this detachment is objective (Ross, 1969).Lionel’s scenario does also involves the theory postulated by Abraham Maslow referred to as the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Abraham observed that all individuals are motivated by needs and in which case what Lionel is demanding is motivated by needs.
He states that there is the need to satisfy all our needs beginning with those ones which are required for survival, the obvious ones. If this basic needs are satisfied then an individual becomes more concerned with those needs that are higher in the hierarchy, and it is these needs that dictate ones personal development.In the hierarchy, the needs which seem to be affecting Lionel are esteem needs and self actualization. In the esteem needs, Abraham lists needs such as self esteem, the need for achievement, mastery of a certain subject, the need for independence, status as well as the need to dominate, prestige and being responsible in a managerial position. The self actualization wants from the hierarchy carry more weight in this case study; Abraham points them out to be the need for realizing rather achieving personal potential, the need to fulfilling self as well as seeking growth and experiences.He further encourages individuals to see problems in terms of challenges and observes that these needs can only be resolved in the order in which they appear on his hierarchy list.
He does further observe that the needs are reliant on personal experiences and judgment (Maslow, 1954). Lionel’s case will involve direct practice, in which his needs have to be met and to be able to achieve this, Lionel has to be understood, his background, the circumstances under which his biological mother gave him up and if possible why (AASW, 2003).This has to be done in privacy without the knowledge of Lionel. His main source of depression needs to be clearly sought for, his lifestyle as well as his peers. The cause that triggered the feeling of wanting to know and understand where he is coming from also needs to be understood.
In so doing it is possible to develop Lionel’s potential as well as his control over life (AASW, 2003). In guiding him, mutual engagement will have to be used in order to achieve any meaningful results as stated in the practice manual of Australian Association of Social Workers.It is also paramount to understand how and why Lionel is questioning his sexuality and why he thinks that his biological mother will help him resolve this matter. In essence, the entire background will have to be dug out in a very tactful manner so that no stone is left unturned.
The adoptive parents will at this point in time get involved; honesty will have to be really encouraged so that they give accurate and true information on how they have brought up this young man.This will have to be done in a professional manner adhering to the set guidelines of social workers so that empirical basis and testing can be achieved (Rosen & Enola, 2003). Care needs to be taken so that the inquiry does not turn out to be insulting, to either party instead it should be goal oriented and guided by objectivity (McAuliffe & Chenoweth, 2005). A relationship should be built between the parties involved in this case, a relationship that regards ones worth and dignity in order for effective guiding to take place.In guiding one should be aware of diversity in personality and cultures, as well as applying thinking that is critical in order to make proper judgments (Hepworth et al, 2009).
Lionel will have to be engaged in an interaction that will trigger him to open up and talk. The boy will have to be asked to state some of the things which he likes doing in his day to day life. This should trigger a discussion that will make him free and at home with the social worker. He has to be treated with utmost respect so that he does not jeopardize any headway that could have been made during rapport building.
The social worker in Lionel’s case will have to value his maximum feasible determination in order to empower him so that his voice in decision making increases. The person guiding should ensure he or she controls major decisions. This will ensure access to as much information as possible (Coady & Lehmann, 2008). Also an assessment of the circumstance should be done in a systems perspective where one has to be mindful of the situation at hand, its setting and environment (Allen-Meares & Garvin, 2000). One should play multiple roles using the data sourced and system linkages (Richey & Roffmann, 1999).
In this case the social worker should try to be sensitive to diversity; this should be done by avoiding assumptions and generalization of an outcome of another intervention on this one. This will make one more attentive to the case at hand and will ensure appropriate intervention (Allen-Meares & Garvin, 2000). It is also important to dependent on evidence provided during the intervention as well as other interventions similar to this case that have been dealt with before. The evidence may be obtained through individual studies and collaborative efforts following the ethical guidelines of social workers.One may further ensure proper guidance in this case by critically thinking about the practice, looking for any assumptions as well as obtaining alternatives.
This should be done by avoiding patterns of applying theories (Briggs & Rzepnicki, 2004). In so doing data obtained will be accurate (Maguire, 2002). A lot of care should be taken at every point to ensure free flow of information in the most honest and diligent way, since the outcome of this intervention is wholly dependent on the information that will be obtained from Lionel and his foster parents.Questions that could trigger explosive reactions should be avoided if not they should reframed to sound friendly. In essence everything said and done should be thought through, assessed critically and its outcome be sought out from past experiences of similar case studies in order to make an informed decision (Healy, 2002). This will ensure positive outcomes that are directed towards developing better individuals in this case Lionel’s depression and identity crisis could be resolved in the best possible way if proper interventions and practices are carried out on him.
It should be understood that it is not a unique case parse but it is unique to Lionel and his parents. A social worker’s role is to ensure the well being of humans in our case Lionel, one target is usually to maximize development of the victim’s potential and ensures that his or her needs met (AASW, 1999). This is achieved if ones work is aimed at enabling humans to get the best social well being. One also sees to it that social justice is obtained by enhancing social development as well as social change as stated in the AASW code of ethics.Social work involves the working with the individual in this case Lionel to ensure that his interests are upheld.
In so doing, this individual’s well being will be achieved. It may also involve working to develop theories and skills that can be applied to shape human behaviour like in this case fitting Lionel’s issue in the existing theories that govern human behaviour and coming up with solutions which are aimed at alleviating the problem at hand. This is done by looking at the set models of various theories and coming up with clear solutions from the patterns studied over time (McKinnon, 2005).In Lionel’s case, it is the role of a health worker to look at the various existing theories, interpret them and fit them in this context taking care that no assumptions are made.
The professional will tell the stage at which the client is in the existing model in that particular theory, restructure it in the context and source for solutions both from how the theory interprets them as well as past experiences (Maidment & Egan, 2004). The social worker entrusted with Lionel should ensure that proper guidance is done on the foster parents of the young man.He could be reacting to the way his parents treat him, this could be as a result of frustrations from improper parenting hence the person accorded this responsibility should try to get clear information of this possibility. It is equally important to understand the impact of getting Lionel to his biological mother both on Lionel and his foster parents.
The boy’s needs should be put into consideration, what are his real requirements and if they can be met, it is also worth noting the level of depression the boy has gotten to be able to formulate the perfect approach that could resolve all the woes that Lionel is encountering (AASW, 2003).More information about his peers should be sought, the company he keeps both at school and at home will be important in understanding what the boy is actually experiencing. It is also important to understand the level of interaction that Lionel has gotten to with his peers and if matters of his sexuality are part and parcel of his interaction with his peers. This could go ahead in giving the broader picture of sexuality matters that are affecting Lionel.
In trying to resolve this matter, several other professionals not necessarily social workers may have to be involved. It may require a psychologist to be able to read Lionel’s mind. In this case it is very important for information to be relayed wholly so that it may be resolved amicably. Any bits of information left out would definitely interfere with finding the solution to the problem. Also depending on the level of depression, a psychiatrist may or may not be sought.
If the depression level is high that it is feared that the boy can develop a mental case, it will be important for a psychiatrist to make an assessment and if possible get the boy enrolled on medication first before the issue is resolved. Another very important professional in this case would be his teachers. They are supposed to assess the effect this issue is having on Lionel’s studies and if he can be helped in the best way possible so that he improves his studies.The boy will have to be guided properly by his teachers so that the issue does not take its toll on the performance if his studies are not yet affected, for them to be in picture is equally important since they will handle him carefully taking care of the issues the boy is going through. Basing on the various theories that have been postulated, models that define Lionel’s predicaments will have to be sort for, basing on the postulates an assessment of the situation will have to be made, but care will have to be taken by the social worker not to include any of the assumptions that the set theories have (Maguire, 2002).
Lionel is definitely going through a very difficult time and needs to help in the best way possible. In order to achieve this, no assumptions are supposed to be made (Lehmann & Coady, 2008). Each and every detail should be utilized in resolving this matter. Information will therefore have to be sourced from both his foster parents, Lionel’s friends both at school and at home, his teachers as well as his biological mother if possible.
It is important to interact with Lionel in the most comfortable way to ensure that he feels at ease to relay any information no matter how sensitive and private it may appear to be. It should be made clear to him that it is natural for any human being to have the desire to seek and find his or her true identity and it is not an awkward thing for him to do. His relationship with his adoptive parents should also come out clearly so that it is well understood the exact thing that is triggering his feelings to desire to find his biological mother.His foster parents are also supposed to elaborate on the circumstances under which Lionel’s biological mother gave up his custody and basing on what they say an assessment be made on whether Lionel can handle that information if relayed to him. Lionel’s sexuality will have to be sought out clearly; his friends will come in handy in this issue.
An assessment of his level of interaction with his peers will have to be made. The extent to which his sexuality has gotten to and if it is any way related to his interactions with his peers.It is equally important to resolve the matter in which Lionel thinks that his biological mother will help him resolve his sexuality. An establishment will have to be made on Lionel’s dating, if he has any girlfriends and if he is already dating, his sexual orientation will have to be established in the process in order to make a judgment on his overall sexuality.
It will also be important to assess the effect of making Lionel meet his biological mother on his foster parents as well as Lionel himself, this has to be traded carefully since any misconception could ruin the existing relationship.On the whole the social worker entrusted with Lionel‘s case will have to be very vigilant to ensure that he or she takes charge of the scenario and should not loosen any grip on the interactions because if that happens then the trust and confidence that the parents and Lionel had put in the social worker could be lost, the issue will the therefore be resolved well to ensure that standards have been met and the expected outcomes. In every practice, the worker should ensure full adherence to the codes of ethics in practice so that Lionel’s rights and those of his foster parents are not violated (ASSW, 1999)