Evidence Based Social Work Practice in Mental Health

3768 Words Dec 23rd, 2011 16 Pages
Social Work practitioners every day interact with individuals who are challenged by personal, societal, environmental barriers to life, and in amidst this face inequities and injustice as part of life (Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers, 2011). It is the role of the social worker to use their therapeutic and facilitation skills to assess the clients risk and then work with the appropriate interventions in order to help promote social change for the individual and their family.
Within social work practice a single definition for the term assessment is not clearly available given different perspectives and ideologies undergirding different social work disciplines (Crisp, Anderson, Orme, & Lister, 2005). The literature
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Ideally assessment should be undertaken in collaboration with the whole family system including the action plan, unless of course a person is suffering or being caused harm by those within the family system.
Assessment can be seen as part of the therapeutic process and part of the services offered. The National Occupational Standards in United Kingdom identified six key roles for social work practitioners with the top key role being one of assessment, in order to recommend a course of action (Walker & Beckett, 2011). Social workers daily work through an assessment to "reach an understanding of the factors and forces within the person-in-environment that affect and maintain the issue of concern; and you identify strengths, competencies, and resources that could help in resolution”(Cournoyer, 2000, p. 234). This then allows for a rigorous working stage addressing support systems, areas for change, obstacles, the cost of change, assessment of risk and an exploration of strategies and interventions in order to achieve the goals according to an agreed time line.
The use of assessment in social work practice is to enable the social worker to reach an early understanding that can “describe, explain, predict, evaluate, and prescribe or suggest interventive methods” (Parker & Bradley, 2003, p. 12). In the early stages of working with a client the social worker will use their interpersonal communication skills of building

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