Methods used in Social Development activities

  1. Case work (individual work)

According to Mary Richard social case work is a process which develops personality through adjustments or through consciously being affected by another individual.

Others have defined case work as a method of measuring against reality, the client’s capacity to deal with a problem.

Generally social case work involves the restoration of impaired capacity, provision of individual and social resources and prevention of dysfunction.

Social case work does not give license to interfere with other people’s affairs and instead, it sanctions those activities which are directed by specific purposes and guided by values, knowledge and techniques.

Characteristics of Social Case Work

  1. It has to do with an individual who has a problem, wants or needs and is seeking for help or assistance
  2. It aims at being helpful and not to hurt or harm
  3. The help arises partially from the helping agency and from resources of case worker (skills and knowledge)

Assumptions of the Case Work process

  • Human and social conditions are responsible to social interventions
  • Problems may arise from environmental changes, individual inadequacy or from both
  • The society and the context in which social case work is practiced affects definition, goal setting and strategy development.
  • His / her attitude to change
  • Termination – a decision by a case worker to accept to provide help to a client has within it the assumption that at some point the process of intervention will end. Termination as used in social work means the ending of a process that was commenced at the beginning of the intervention process.

The process of study, assessment, intervention and termination never continue forever.

A termination plan therefore needs to be considered by the social worker after consultation with the client.


Principles of Social Case Work

  1. Individualization

This is the recognition of every human being‘s quality and is based on the rights of the human being to be.

  1. Acceptability

Ideally the client should accept the worker and if client acceptance will not be in line with social work code of ethics, the worker should tell the truth.

  1. Non-judgemental

This discourages the idea of condemning the characters of a person on prejudice.

  1. Purposeful expression of feelings

This is the recognition of the need by the client to express his / her feeling especially the negative feelings

  1. Controlled emotional involvement

The case worker should be sensitive to the client feelings, but the empathy must be controlled to avoid the social worker getting involved in an unprofessional relationship.

  1. Confidentiality

This refers to the preservation of secret information concerning the client which is disclosed in the course of professional relationships.


Essential skills and techniques in Social Case Work

  1. Engagement

This is the initial planned person to person contact between the client and the case worker. It involves seeking information form the client on the needs which are to be addressed.

The social worker must therefore have tact and insight and also possess observation skills.

  1. Intake

The client may be requested for or identified the service from the case worker. The social worker may also request the client to take up the service.

The registration of the case is done and the determination is made whether the service is to be provided or not.

The most important skills and attributes here are making assumptions, reasoning, bridging the gap and forecasting.

  1. Assessment or diagnosis

This enables the case worker to understand and analyze the client’s skills. Good assessment must tell what the problem is, how it came about and its possible solutions.

Diagnosis on the other hand is an attempt to arrive at an exact definition as possible of a social situation and personality of the person in need.


Methods or Models of Social Case Work

  1. Psycho-social model
  2. Problem solving model
  3. Behaviour modification model
  4. Family or group treatment model
  5. Crisis oriented r grief treatment model
  6. Adult socialization model

The Psycho-social model

This was one of the first models to be used in social work. It was initially developed by Paulo Fare. In Kenya, it was first used by the Catholic Church. Its application is based on identifying the cause and effect relationships between individuals and their environments. It is about how the social environment influences an individual’s psychological status.

  1. The problem solving model

Is the simplest model whose main feature is the identification of the problem by the affected person (client) and the case worker and searching for solutions and making decisions.

  1. The Behaviour modification model

The model mainly applies research to identify symptoms. Its proponents agree that symptoms may be the same as responses and that behaviour is mainly a result of response. That people behave the way they do because they are responding to stimuli.

Behaviorists are also of the view that human behaviour is learned through the process of conditioning and can therefore be changed. The behaviour modification model seeks to modify (change) observable behaviour. The modification or change is what takes place through learning.

  1. Family or group treatment model

This involves solving problems in small groups. It may be used when a client has a problem whose solutions may only be found when family, relatives or friends are involved.

The family or small group is made aware of the problem and possible solutions and are then involved in making decisions regarding the best course of action.

  1. Crisis oriented or grief treatment model

The model is best used to treat clients who have lost close relatives or friends. It’s most commonly used in counseling.

  1. Adult socialization model

To socialize means to integrate into the society through the acquisition of values, norms etc.

This model is also referred to as social integration and is mostly used with client’s whose ways are contrary to the norms or morals of society e.g. criminals, prostitutes, vagrants, drug addicts etc.

Social group work method

This is about solving people’s problems within the group level and involves working with them in groups. It is based on the knowledge of people’s need for each other and their independence.

A group is made up of two or more individuals who are conscious of one another and of their psychic relationship.

(1) Formation of social groups

Groups come into being in a variety of ways.

The existence of social problems or needs will often result in group forming simultaneously to solve them.

Regardless of the reason for a group, the mechanics of bringing people together, the group members’, the agency’s and the social worker’s goals are at the heart of the process.

(2) Selection of group members

In selecting group members several factors may be considered.

Chronological age

This seems to be less important than the maturity of an individual. However, in adolescence where age enjoys additional status, freedom and privileges, it may be important to strive for homogeneity of age in a group.

In adult groups, age is less important than other social or economic factors.

Value system

Some differences in values may be tolerated as long as it stimulates discussion. However, when the differences are too great, they may cause social problems such as lack of social cohesion or group cohesion.

Common problems

People who have problems can be easily grouped together and can be more united.

Enjoyment patterns

Common interest will be always great importance in bringing about group cohesion. Groups with common interests in an activity may have that base of interest broadened and used to solve social problem especially in peer groups.


Intellectual differences, although not of prime importance, may pose problems in groups if the differences are so great.

Tolerance of structures

Sometimes groups are not cohesive just because some members do not accept the structure or leadership.


The sex of the members is not always important in younger age groups. However, as has been seen in co-educational groups, mixed-sex groups are more successful when working with adolescents.

  1. Community social work method

There are various classifications and descriptions regarding the processes used in community social work.

However, the most commonly used is:-

Project work

Projects are unique endevour to produce sets of the desirables within specific time, cost and quality constraints.

Most project are carried out through steps such as; Research, Planning, Coordinating, Organizing, Financing, Administration, Coordinating committee operation, Advocacy and Social action.

Planning involves stating clearly what to be done, how it is to be done, who is to do it and when it is to be done.

Coordination entails joining members of the community with agencies and other forces for support and strength to promote social service provision.

Financing process in community work involves collecting, budgeting and spending funds in relation to community needs and projects.

Administration is about transforming social policies into social services where plans are implemented.

Committee operation is about working through committees to achieve project goals

Social action

Social work can also be carried out through social action where the social worker involves two or more members of a community in an attempt to solve their common social problems.

Social action is about collective action and can be either induced or spontaneous.

It is induced where social worker introduces himself to the community and offers solutions to their problems.

It is spontaneous when action springs out within members of the community. It may begin with an individual member who forms a basis for action. From the individual, the information may spread to other members of the community who then act to solve their problems.

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