Task Centred Approach in Social Work

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What is task centred approach: definition of the method

In 1960s in North America Reid and Shyne (1969) undertook an extensive four year study to explore an alternative approach to traditional casework and the result was the adoption of a new model named Task centred approach that was also the proposal of a solution to tackle the weaknesses of the short-term psychodynamic model of the early 1960s. The research was an answer to certain problems like the fact that clients were abandoning psychodynamic therapy or receiving the maximum benefit within a few months, with relatively slow improvement. Task centred was then presented as an alternative being described in the following way: “Task centred practice, also
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There’s also a comparison to crisis intervention because both models focus on immediate problems and use specific agreements but the similarity is superficial as its well known that people experiencing a crisis situation often cannot conceptualise their problems and therefore cant establish a plan to tackle problems, as this is an action that requires a systematic and focused task, a rational response on the part of the client (Payne, 2002). For this model to be fully developed it’s necessary to adopt two styles of communication: systematic communication as in keeping the client focused in the problem; responsive communication as in being empathic towards the clients, receptive to what they say (Reid and Epstein, 1972). This all connects with Empowerment and anti discriminatory practice (Doel 1998) Even though the model was based in the white culture (North America and later adapted and revised in the UK), the model in what concerns the black empowerment strategies/theories is welcomed, due to the fact that it gives clients a certain feeling of control over their life’s and it lessens the feeling of powerlessness. (Ahmad, 1990)

Applications to practice and its strength

The model is popular with service users mostly because it respects and has as a base the user’s views, being also easily understood. It has been used in a wide variety of service user groups and social work settings when working with older people,
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