Principles of Case work

Last Updated on July 17, 2024 by Muzammil Ijaz

Principles of the Case Work

The principles of social casework are applied in establishing close relationship between social caseworker and the client. Relationship is the medium through which changes are brought in the behavior and personality of the client. The term relationship in social casework was used for the first time by Miss Virginia Robinson in her book, “A Changing Psychology in Social Case Work” in 1939. Thus the purpose of establishing relationship is to help the client with his/her psycho-social needs and problems. The relationship between caseworker and client may be more strengthened by using certain principles.

1. Principle of individualization

No two persons are alike in all qualities and traits. Their problems may be the same but the cause of the problem, the perception towards the problem and ego strength differs in every individual. Therefore, each individual client should be treated as a separate entity and complete information is required to establish close relations in order to solve his/her problem from root.

2. Principle of meaningful relationship

The purpose of establishing relationship in social casework is to change the behavior of the client or to achieve adjustment in maladjusted situation. Meaningful relationship is developed in social casework by demonstrating the interests in client. He/she is convinced of the caseworker’s warmth as an individual and conveys respect and caring for him/her. In return, the caseworker helps the client to trust in his/her objectivity and feel secured as worthwhile individual.

3. Principle of acceptance

Social caseworker accepts the client as he is and with all his/her limitations. He/she believes that acceptance is the crux of all help. It embraces two basic ideas — one negative and one positive. He/she does not condemn or feel hostile towards a client because his/her behavior differs from the approved one. Later on, he/she tries to modify his/her behavior step by step.

4. Principle of communication

Communication is a two-way process. There must be proper communication between caseworker and the client, which helps, in proper understanding of each other. It is the road to the identification of the client’s problem. The function of social caseworker is primarily to create an environment in which the client will feel comfortable in giving expression to his/her feelings. It depends on a proper communication.

5. Principle of expression of feelings

Purposeful expression of feelings is the recognition of the client’s need to express his/her feelings freely, especially his/her negative feelings. The caseworker listens purposefully, neither discouraging nor condemning the expression of those feelings. Sometimes he/she even stimulates and encourages them when the expression is of therapeutic nature.

6. Principle of controlled emotional involvement

The social caseworker tries to understand the client’s feelings and emotions but he/she himself/herself does not involve emotionally in his/her problems.

7. Principle of non-judgmental attitude

The non-judgmental attitude is a quality of the casework relationship. The caseworker does not blame the client for his/her problem nor does he assign any responsibility for his/her miseries. He/she only evaluates the attitudes, standards or action of the client.

8. Principle of client self-determination

The client’s self-determination is the practical recognition of the right and need of clients to freedom in making his/her own choices and decisions. But this right is limited by the client’s capacity for positive and constructive decision making.

9. Principle of self-awareness

It means that caseworker should know his/her own strengths and limitations in dealing with client’s problems. If he/she feels that the problems of the client are beyond his/her capacity, the client should be transferred to the appropriate authority.

10. Principle of social functioning

Social functioning means the functioning of the individual in his/her social roles and relationships, with emphasis on his/her relation to the environment. The caseworker tries to assess the roles of the client and his/her capacity to perform these roles.

11. Principle of tuning behavior

Man has body, mind and intellect as three instruments of experiences through which life constantly pulsates. These three instruments have their own distinct characteristics in each person. Hence each person has unique personality. There is need of tuning three instruments for right perception and thinking. The social caseworker does it.

12. Principle of social learning

Social learning is a pre-requisite to the changes that are inevitably involved in problem- solving. The social learning processes involve:

1. Arousing and focusing attention and concern.

2. Organizing and evaluating the problem and planning future action.

3. Searching for and acquiring new information.

4. Providing opportunities to the client for new experience.

13. Principle of confidentiality

Confidentiality is the preservation of the secret information concerning the client, which is disclosed in the professional relationship only. In the process of social case work, the client discloses many of his secret facts to the social case worker which help for the treatment. Similarly, the case worker gets many information of client in his home visit or in interview. All these facts must be kept secret. In other words, the client must have total faith regarding his secret disclosed by him will remain confidential. Confidentiality in case work is taken as professional code of ethics. There is little reason that leads for the confidentiality.