A comprehensive family assessment is needed when working with a family. This involves conducting an assessment to understand the family dynamics, such as the history, place of residence, family situation, individual weaknesses, strengths, and interpersonal relations among members in the family setting. Motivational interviewing can also be a critical engagement practice to help families work towards probable changes. This requires exercising empathy and building trust with family members to encourage them to consider any probable changes (Child Welfare, n.d). Through this, the social worker can assess the family’s strengths. These assessments are different from individual settings as they are thorough, attempting to understand individuals’ interactions within their families and assessing their triggers, strengths, manner of communication, and interaction with each other.
Dynamics within the family are likely to help improve interpersonal relations as each member will feel respected, and their concerns and strengths will be recognized. It can also help in increased family buy-in as they will have a higher probability of committing to the set goals. Family dynamics will also help create a sense of belonging and family connectedness and empower every member (Child Welfare, 2021).
In the event of a transference by the social worker into the family’s structure, there is a high probability that they will become overinvolved in the tone and style of the family interaction (Varghese, Kirpekar & Loganathan, 2020). For instance, a depressed family might cause the social worker to relate sadly and seriously, whereas a hostile family might cause them to relate in an attacking way. When the family seems to be anxious, the social worker might also become anxious and seem to blame and accusatory.
Child Welfare. (2021, July). Family Engagement: Partnering With Families to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes. Bulletins for Professionals. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/f_fam_engagement.pdf
Child Welfare. (n.d). The Comprehensive Family Assessment Process https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/family_assessment_23.pdf
Varghese, M., Kirpekar, V., & Loganathan, S. (2020). Family Interventions: Basic Principles and Techniques. Indian journal of psychiatry, 62(Suppl 2), S192.
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After reviewing the readings/video, please consider the following :
• What alternative assessment strategies would you need to consider when working with a family instead of an individual client?
• How do you think dynamics within the family would impact your engagement with them?
• How could a Social Worker’s own family experience influence their work with a family?
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