Assessment Revisited: A Comprehensive Approach to Understanding Family Dynamics

Essay by nappiecat January 2009

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Assessment DefinedAssessment can be conceptualized as both a product and a process.

Product: the initial assessment serves as a working document designed specifically to provide a "road map" for the worker and the client system as they begin heir collaborative work.

Process: the worker collects and synthesizes relevant information about the family system into a working statement of presenting and underlying problems as a basis of planning.

Worker PhilosophyWorker philosophy: a combination of one's practice theory and world and people (worldview).

Practice theory: a working theoretical perspective regarding the nature of people's problems in living and beliefs about how change occurs - what factors facilitate change and the role of the worker in the change process.

Theoretical perspectives translate into practice approaches, which in turn unfold into methods and techniques of intervention.

The two theoretical models that are considered compatible with social work practice1. General Systems Theory2. Ecological Perspective TheoryGeneral Systems Theory: used to direct attention to the "multiplicity of systems at different levels of complexity that influence any particular situation."The

Ecological Perspective: focuses on transactions between people and environments.

The Life Model: (developed from the ecological perspective) suggests that stresses arise in four interrelated areas of living:1. Life transitions involving developmental changes.

2. Status role changes and crisis events.

3. Unresponsiveness of social and physical environments.

4. Communication and relationship difficulties in families and other primary groups.

The ecological approach to practice is more inclusive than exclusive and does not preclude the use of other approaches; it does not rule out other theoretical or practice approaches.

Goals of Family AssessmentThe primary goal of the initial assessment is to explain the nature of the problems presented by families at a particular point in time.

Guide for the Family AssessmentThere are five crucial areas in doing a comprehensive family...