week 7

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Week 8: Life Model and Problem-Solving Model

This week, you will move from applying theories and theoretical perspectives to considering and applying models. Watch this video for a brief overview of the difference between the two:

Week 8 Introduction

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 5 minutes.

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Some practitioners and scholars employ the terms “theory” and “model” interchangeably, so remember that a model provides the steps, procedures, or techniques to solve the problem or to set the change in motion. This week, you will look at two social work models: the life model and the problem-solving model.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Apply the life model and problem-solving model to social work practice
  • Evaluate the merits and limitations of the life model and problem-solving model to social work practice
Photo Credit: [Hans Slegers]/[Hemera / Getty Images Plus]/Getty Images

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.
Required Readings
Turner, F. J. (Ed.). (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches (6th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Chapter 18: Life Model and Social Work Practice (pp. 287–301)
Chapter 24: Problem-Solving and Social Work (pp. 387–397)
Piedra, L. M., & Engstrom, D. W. (2009). Segmented assimilation theory and the life model: An integrated approach to understanding immigrants and their children. Social Work, 54(3), 270–277. http://dx.doi.org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/sw/54.3.270

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.
Westefeld, J. S., & Heckman-Stone, C. (2003). The integrated problem-solving model of crisis intervention: overview and application. The Counseling Psychologist, 31(2), 221–239. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1177/0011000002250638

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.
Optional Resources
D’Zurilla, T. J., & Goldfried, M. R. (1971). Problem solving and behavior modification. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 78(1), 107–126. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0031360

Discussion: Gaps in the Life Model

Piedra and Engstrom (2009) noted how the life model “remains general and unspecific regarding factors that affect immigrant families” (p. 272). Recall that there will never be one theory or a model that can fully explain a phenomenon or lay out all the steps and procedures when working with complex issues that clients present to social workers. Recognizing this, Piedra and Engstrom selected another theory in the immigration literature—segmented assimilation theory. They identified concepts from segmented assimilation theory to “fill in” the gaps that the life model does not address.

In this Discussion, you examine gaps in the life model by applying it to your field experience.

To prepare:

  • Review the life model.
  • Review this article in the Learning Resources: Piedra, L. M., & Engstrom, D. W. (2009). Segmented assimilation theory and the life model: An integrated approach to understanding immigrants and their children. Social Work, 54(3), 270–277. http://dx.doi.org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/sw/54.3.270
By Day 3

Post:

Using an example from your fieldwork experience and a diverse population you encountered at the agency (for example, in Piedra and Engstrom’s article, it was immigrant families), respond to the following:

  • Identify and describe the diverse population and the unique characteristics and/or the distinctive needs of the population in 3 to 4 brief sentences.
  • Explain how the life model can be applied for the population.
  • Explain where the gaps are in applying the life model for this population.
  • When looking at the gaps, explain which theory might be helpful in filling the gaps of the life model when working with this population.
By Day 5

Respond to two colleagues:

  • Identify other potential gaps in the life model as applied to the population your colleague identified.
  • Offer another potential theory for filling the gaps of the life model when working with the population identified.

 Seantelle Hill RE: Discussion - Week 8COLLAPSE

Gaps in the Life Model

Diverse Population and the Unique Characteristics

As social workers, we are bound to work with different populations. One of my experience was with a Hispanic American family whose roots are Mexican and still experienced struggles about feeling fully accepted in the country. This population faces racial and cultural biases, social issues, and negative stereotypes such as being lazy and criminal, which pose stressful and traumatizing experiences. These are similar features to other diverse populations like African American and Latin American cases that I have encountered.

Application of Life Model

The life model aims to improve a person-environment fit through effective reduction of stress between systems such as communities, individuals, and  resources (Turner, 2017). It can be used by a social worker to lobby and advocate for this population by promoting an enhanced understanding and diversity acceptance within the societies. The life model can also be used to aid in the formation of multicultural family groups where perspectives, values, and beliefs can be shared across cultures to help eliminate conflict of opinions and perceived stereotypes.

Gaps in the Life Model and Theory to Fill the Gap.

The life model requires supplemental theory, although it is useful in guiding practice (Piedra, & Engstrom, 2009).  Concerning this diverse population, the life model is relevant in identifying factors that can influence the negative stereotypes, racial biases, and other social issues but it is however too general and unspecific concerning how these factors specifically impact on this population. Social workers focus on identifying problems and also bringing desirable change to a population.  A social worker can thus enhance more specificity and effectiveness by integrating the segmented assimilation theory to better understand the gaps in the life model approach to the vulnerability of  Hispanic Americans within the US. As a result, a social worker can facilitate interventions that will strengthen this population in leading positive and productive lives through overcoming social issues and biases (Piedra, & Engstrom, 2009).

References

Piedra, L. M., & Engstrom, D. W. (2009). Segmented assimilation theory and the life model: An integrated approach to understanding immigrants and their children. Social Work, 54(3), 270–277. http://dx.doi.org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/sw/54.3.270

Turner, F. J. (Ed.). (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches (6th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.


 Angelica Wiggins RE: Discussion - Week 8COLLAPSE

Identify and describe the diverse population and the unique characteristics and/or the distinctive needs of the population in 3 to 4 brief sentences.

As previously mentioned, I have not completed my fieldwork experience. I plan to complete it in the Fall. Though I haven’t completed the fieldwork experience for this program, I do have experience working with diverse populations from a previous job as an Options Counselor for the Department of Family and Human Services. The diverse population that I will discuss is the aging population.

As an Options Counselor, I worked with the aging population to help them identify services in the county that were available to them. In most cases, they had to qualify for the services but it was still my job to make them aware of what was available to them and how they could access the services.

The aging population is indeed a unique and diverse population. They come in different ages, races, genders and so on. They also vary based on their needs. Their distinctive needs include services that will help them with their activities of daily living. Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) include hygiene/bathing, eating/food, transportation and companionship, just to name a few.

Explain how the life model can be applied for the population.

Inspired by the idea that social work practice should be modeled on life itself, the life model places particular emphasis on the normal life processes of growth, development, and decline (Piedra & Engstrom, 2009). The life model can be applied to the aging population by helping to identify their place in the life cycle and ensure that this population is not overlooked or treated less than equal.

Explain where the gaps are in applying the life model for this population.

Social work with older people focuses on the preservation or enhancement of functioning and of quality of life of our clients. Social work focuses on what people can do and maximize both opportunities and quality of life in the context of their social system, their needs and their rights (IASW, 2011).

There would be gaps in applying the life cycle to the aging population because of generational gaps in attitudes and values. Age-based roles and activities bring the possibility that, outside the family, age groups are largely separated from one another, which raises concerns about the costs of age segregation and the benefits of age integration for individuals and societies (Settersten, 2017).

When looking at the gaps, explain which theory might be helpful in filling the gaps of the life model when working with this population.

The activity theory might be helpful in filling the gaps of the life model when working with the aging population as it keeps the aging population relevant. The theory proposes that activity is a solution to the well-being of seniors without being able to account for how the distribution of access to these social opportunities and activities reflects broader issues of power and inequality in society (Little & McGivern, n.d.).

Reference

Little, W. & McGivern, R. (n.d.). Introduction to Sociology: Aging and the Elderly. Retrieved online from https://opentextbc.ca/introductiontosociology/chapter/chapter13-aging-and-the-elderly/

Piedra, L. M., & Engstrom, D. W. (2009). Segmented assimilation theory and the life model: An integrated approach to understanding immigrants and their children. Social Work, 54(3), 270–277. http://dx.doi.org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/sw/54.3.270

Settersten, R.A. (2017). Some Things I Have Learned About Aging by Studying the Life Course. Innovation in Aging, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.1093/geroni/igx014

The Irish Association of Social Workers Special Interest Group on Aging. (2011). The Role of the Social Worker with Older Persons. Retrieved online from https://www.iasw.ie.


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