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Throughout this course, you have explored an array of theories and models and the ways in which theories provide a framework to view and conceptualize the problem, the therapeutic change process, your role within this change process, and assessment and interventions.
By now, you may be asking what your own theoretical orientation is. Before you determine your theoretical orientation, you should be aware that your personal values, worldviews, life experiences, spiritual or religious perspectives, personality, and biases influence your choice of theoretical orientations. At the same time, remember that your choice of a theoretical orientation is not static. It can change and evolve as you continue your professional and personal life journey. And, if you choose to conduct research and pursue doctoral education, you may even contribute to the body of knowledge upon which theories are built.
Reflecting on Your Theoretical Orientation
Pruitt, N.T. (2014). From dodo bird to mindfulness: The effect of theoretical orientation on work and self. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70(8), 753–759. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22110
Coleman, D. (2008). Theoretical evaluation self-test: an interactive test of theoretical orientation for mental health clinicians or graduate students. Retrieved from http://web.pdx.edu/~dcoleman/test.html where to go to do the test
Developing self-awareness starts with taking time to reflect on your own strengths and weaknesses, what distresses you, and what you find most comfortable in social work practice with your clients and colleagues. You have read about many theories and models at this point. There may have been theories and models that you were more inclined to use. Or there may have been theories and models you were not comfortable using.
The Theoretical Evaluation Self-Test (TEST) was developed by Daniel Coleman. It is a quantitative instrument that measures a therapist’s theoretical orientation. It consists of 30 close-ended statements with a 7-point Likert scale, asking the extent of agreement about “psychotherapy, the human psyche, and the therapeutic process” (Coleman, 2003, p. 74). The seven theoretical orientations that are measured are psychodynamic, biological, family systems, ecosystems, cognitive, pragmatic, and humanistic.
Coleman (2003) cautions that the TEST is not meant to give therapists a conclusive and definitive sense of their theoretical orientation. Rather, the goal is to promote self-reflection about their personal tendencies toward approaching therapy.
For this Discussion, you take the TEST to stimulate self-reflection. You will also take some time to reflect on all the different theories and models covered in this course.
To prepare: Take the TEST. There is both a web-based version, noted in the Learning Resources, and a paper version of the TEST.
· After taking the TEST, post your results. I have posted my test results
In this course, you were asked to select one case study to use throughout the entire course. Describe this experience—for example, the degree to which it was helpful to focus on one case, what you learned, what could perhaps be done differently. The case study I have picked was Tiffani Bradley
INTERPRETING YOUR RESULTS
SUBSCALE YOUR SCORE SAMPLE OF 130 mean (SD)
Psychodynamic 26 26.2 (5.2)
Biological 19 14.6 (4.0)
Family 18 18.2 (4.0)
Ecosystems 20 24.2 (2.6)
Cognitive 25 25 (4.5)
Pragmatic 27 20.1 (5.7)
Humanistic 17 10.4 (2.4)
Worksheet: Dissecting a Theory and Its Application to a Case Study
Most theories can be dissected and analyzed. All theories will tell you something about their focus or unit of analysis. A theory will identify its major or key concepts. It will also point to the definition of the problem and its cause. This then guides how the social worker assesses and intervenes, because the theory will also articulate the role of the social worker and how change occurs.
Basic Assumptions of the Theory
Directions: For each section, respond in 2 to 3 sentences to the following prompts. Where relevant, provide citations to support your claims.
Name of theory
The theory that will be used is system theory.
Name of theorist
In 1940, Ludwig von Bertalanffy proposed this system is 1940 and later by Ross Ashby. Therefore, it was introduced by L. von Bertalanffy.
What are the major assumptions of the theory?
The first major assumption is that groups can use resources and processes so as to provide the desired output. It provides guidelines, concepts, principles, and models that can be applied in all the systems and social sciences. Additionally, interactions make the parts meaningful.
What are the theory’s key concepts?
The key concepts are; adaptation, system, boundaries, microsystem, mesosystem, macrosystem, and feedback loop.
What is the theory’s focus or unit of analysis?
The theory’s focuses on the introduction of basic concepts and applications of system thinking. Its focus is also on the interactions and relationships between parts.
What is the theory’s overall explanation for the cause of problems?
According to the theory, problems are usually are an indication of a malfunctioning process. The theory suggests that the whole system has a problem if one component of the system is not functioning properly.
Application to a Case Study Tiffani Bradley
Directions: For each section, respond to the following prompts. Where relevant, provide citations to support your claims.
In 1 to 2 sentences, how does the theory define the client’s presenting problem?
System theory defines Tiffani’s problem as a behavior that is caused by a malfunction of the system. For this case, the system is Tiffani’s family.
In 1 to 2 sentences, how does the theory explain the cause of the client’s presenting problem?
For this case study, Tiffani’s family which is a system is not functioning well because her parents are abusing drugs.
In 1 to 2 sentences, how does the theory explain the role of the social worker for this client?
The theory explains the role of a social worker as one who gives the client emotional and mental strength to ensure the client copes up with problems in the society or family.
In 1 to 2 sentences, what does the theory say about how this client will improve or how change will occur?
According to the theory, the steps to be taken in forming a solution are; recognizing an opportunity or a problem, developing an alternative system solution, selecting system solution. Designing the selected system solution and evaluating the success.
Using the theory, list 2 to 3 assessment questions to ask this client to explore the client’s goals and how they will get there.
1. What aspects of your life are affected by the absence of any member of your family?
2. Is there any external assistance that ensures your family is functioning as one system?
According to the theory, identify 2 to 3 specific practice intervention strategies for the client relative to the presenting problem. For each, explain in 1 sentence how it will help meet the client’s goals.
1. Networking and referrals
Tiffani can be referred to specialists or to connect them with resources that can help with her situation.
This is a diagram that will help Tiffani in understanding a family’s and community’s interrelated progression.
Based on the theory, list 2 to 3 outcomes when evaluating whether an intervention is effective.
1. View of the client towards her family
2. Behavioral change
What is one strength and one limitation in using this theory for this client?
1. It will help in the coordination of specialized activities that will help Tiffani.
2. It cannot be directly or easily applied to practical problems.
Turner, F. J. (Ed.). (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches (6th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Questions to Consider When Evaluating the Theory
You are not required to answer these questions for this assignment. However, these questions could help stimulate thinking whenever you are asked to evaluate a theory.
To what extent does the theory apply widely to diverse situations? Or does it apply narrowly to particular situations?
Is the theory ethical? Is it consistent with the NASW Code of Ethics?
Is the theory congruent with the professional value base of the social work field?
How cost effective would it be to implement interventions based on the theory?
To what extent does the theory fit within the organization’s or agency’s philosophy?
What do research studies say about how effective the interventions are?
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