5 phases of Social Case Work Process


You have studied the primary concept of social casework meaning and definition, let's learn the phases of the social casework process. The primary sections of the social casework process are study, assessment, intervention, termination, and evaluation. They are the process threads that will be woven together during the social casework process. We would logically organize research, assessment, intervention, termination, and evaluation as social workers. Actually, these phases aren't done in order; rather, they're weaved in and out, one process paralleling another, as Gordon Hamilton put it. She went on to say that at first, we made a tentative or interim diagnosis and even devised a treatment plan. However, our minds continue to draw assumptions and we continue to prepare the study in order to better comprehend the client. The initial point of contact is when intervention or therapy begins. According to Skidmore, the research process is treatment when it assists the client in identifying the problem and making changes in his or her life.

Social casework is a type of social work that focuses on both the individual and the environment, assisting in the improvement of the balance between the person's coping efforts and the demands of the environment. It is a strategy in which a social caseworker assists persons in coping more effectively with their social functioning issues. Individuals are sometimes unable to solve their problems or access existing resources due to internal or external factors. In this situation, a social caseworker uses various methods, techniques, and skills of social casework practice to assist the client in solving his or her psycho-social problems.
According to Mary Richmond (1917) there are three phases of social case work practice: social investigation or psycho-social study, diagnosis and treatment or management. In contemporary social case work practice these three phases have been divided into five divisions namely

5 Phase of the Social Casework Process 

  1. Social investigation or study, 
  2. Assessment,
  3. Intervention, 
  4. Termination and
  5. Evaluation 

Phase-1-Social investigation or study, 

A systematic study of the client and his or her circumstances in relation to his or her condition is known as a social investigation or study. According to Mary Richmond, in social studies, the caseworker must obtain all facts using logical and inferential reasoning, as this will expose the client's personality and situation, allowing for proper action (treatment). 
The goal of assessment is to get as close to a precise picture of a client's social position and personality as feasible. It is the client's search for the source of the problem that takes them to the worker for assistance. Its goal is to find answers to three key questions: What exactly is the issue? What caused that to happen? What can be done to resolve the situation? The goal of a social caseworker intervention is to relieve a client's suffering and restore, maintain, or improve their social functioning. This may necessitate improving the ego's adaptive abilities as well as the functioning of the person-situation system. Termination refers to the end of a procedure that began when the client consented to participate in a social casework intervention. With each other's cooperation, the worker and customer decide on the termination process. Termination occurs when the worker has faith in the client's ability to deal with current and future difficulties. The process of determining the effectiveness and success of a process is known as evaluation. It is the activity that determines whether the social casework procedure has met the case's objectives. Practice evaluation in social casework gives critical feedback to the caseworker and the client on whether the intervention program is succeeding as intended.

Some professionals refer to the social investigation as social evidence, seeking social inquiry, intake, and orientation, or the start of the process. The numerous helping processes, activities, and intervention techniques are founded on the foundation of social investigation.
Social investigation is required for any social work activities, whether at the individual, family, community, or societal level. Social investigations aid in determining the clients' and their families' social realities, identifying the issue area, and formulating intervention, rehabilitation, and aftercare plans.

A a-The following are parts of the social case work-study at the first phase, according to Perlman:

  1. The type of the presenting problem,
  2. The significance of the problem,
  3. The problem's cause(s), onset, and precipitants
  4.  Efforts made to deal with problem-solving situations
  5. The nature of the solution or goals sought from the casework agency, and 6. The agency's actual character and problem-solving methods in connection to the client and his situation.

Perlman has proposed four operational methods for the initial phase.
1. Having something to do with the client
2. Assisting the customer in discussing his or her problems
3. Partializing and focusing
4. Assisting the client in interacting with the agency.
In the beginning, both substance and manner are beneficial to all processes.

Tools and techniques in the case study process

1. Conduct an interview
2. Observation that is objective
3. Document and record the examination
4. Information gathered from secondary sources
5. Information gathered from family members
6. A special test or assessment

Through the interview procedure, the process of social investigation is launched and carried out. Professional skill in this area necessitates not only academic knowledge of human behavior psychology but also extensive casework experience in which the worker's technique is scrutinized on a regular basis. The purpose of the interview is to obtain information about the client, as well as his difficulties and social relationships. The caseworker uses the interview to train and lead both the client and others who play a vital part in his life, as well as to control the environment for the client's benefit.

It's critical to get enough accurate information about a customer so that the worker can grasp the current situation and what needs to be done in the future.
How did his or her problem begin, and what was the source of the condition's onset and progression? How has the client handled his problem in the past, and who is the person who is concerned about the situation? It is critical to investigate how the client's environment affects him or her, as well as how he or she affects the surroundings. Only by studying the client's and family's socioeconomic, psychological, and cultural aspects in the context of their interpersonal connections can a clear and successful diagnosis be made. In a nutshell, the most crucial parts of a sociological case study are as follows:

  1. Current problem and its origins (when, how, and where the problem began, interventions made, and current state, i.e. problem management)
  2. Information on the client (birth, weaning, eating habits, mobility, potty training, measure incidents, and experiences, aggressiveness, fear, school progress, learning challenges, and replies). Traumatic events, accidents, handicaps, family profile, cultural and economic status, significant family relationships, marital life, recreational activities, interests, and abilities).

Phase-2-Social Diagnosis (Assessment)

It is the casework evaluation phase that provides a true basis for differentiation - individualized knowledge about the individual in their social situation. The goal of social diagnostic (evaluation) is to get as close to an exact definition of a client's social position and personality as feasible. It is the client's search for the source of the problem that takes them to the worker for assistance. It is an attempt to deduce from the available information, in light of the worker's knowledge of human behavior and social realities, what the client's problem is, what factors contribute to its alleviation, what changes can be made to reduce or eliminate the problem, and what steps the caseworker can take to achieve these goals.

  1. An explanation based on facts that are already known (both tangible facts and psychological facts)
  2. An explanation is given in the knowledge of other plausible explanations and is susceptible to change or revision as new information becomes available.
Type of Diagnosis 
  • Dynamic diagnosis- Dynamic diagnosis elucidates the client's current problem and the forces at work within the client, his social context, and between his surroundings. It answers the inquiry, "What is the problem?" What psychological, physical, and societal aspects play a role? What is the desired outcome? What resources are available to the client, in his or her environment? What are the organized services and resources that may be used to address a problem? Because this is the initial phase of social casework practice, the nature of such diagnosis is subject to change.
  • Clinical diagnosis:- Clinical diagnosis is the process through which the caseworker seeks to categorize the client according to the nature of his illness/condition. He identifies certain aspects and characteristics of the client's personality as well as dysfunctional aspects of his behavior. Clinical diagnosis encompasses both the nature of the problem and its relationship to the client, as well as the means and objectives of the intervention. This form of diagnosis is effective only when it becomes clear that a personality illness coexists with the social condition, contributing to and exacerbating it.
  • Etiological diagnosis is focused on elucidating the origins of the client's problem, which is essentially a problem with the client's personality make-up or functioning. The history of his development as a problem-solving human being may help the caseworker comprehend what his client is going through and the extent to which he is likely to be able to cope. A more helpful etiological diagnosis is one that explains or rigid responses. When, despite the client's current problem being the focus of attention, the client's response is inconsistent, the client's past history and its assessment in light of the client's current capacities, goals, and difficulties are used to guide the intervention. This form of diagnostic aids in comprehending the nature of the problem at hand, the individual who is experiencing it, and the possible solutions.
When diagnosing an issue, the following steps are taken:
  1. The worker's attention is drawn to undesirable behaviors. He begins by doing a survey of his environment's functional and dysfunctional behaviors. He quantifies numerous grievances and issues in terms of excesses and deficiencies. He assesses both the client's inherent qualities and his environment.
  2.  He focuses on the behaviors that are defined. This entails attempting to deconstruct complex behaviors into their constituent pieces.
  3. Baseline data are gathered to identify the events that appear to be controlling the troublesome behaviors at the moment.
  4. The obtained data is analyzed in an attempt to anticipate major problems during the intervention and to begin establishing intervention objectives.

Phase-3-Intervention (Treatment )

The goal of social casework intervention is to alleviate the client's distress while repairing, maintaining, or strengthening an individual's social functioning. Its purpose is to increase the client's comfort, satisfaction, and self-awareness. This may entail strengthening the ego's adaptive abilities and the functioning of the person-situation system. Hamilton defines treatment as the collection of all actions and services aimed at assisting an individual with a problem. The emphasis is on resolving the immediate problem and, if possible, modifying any underlying difficulties that contributed to it. The process of social casework begins with the initial interaction with the client. The intervention process is multi-phased.
  1. initial phase,
  2. Motivation and role induction, 
  3. The primary contract, 
  4. Diagnosis and assessment, 
  5. Setting intervention goals, 
  6. Developing an intervention plan, 
  7. Preparing for actual intervention, 
  8. Intervention in practice 
  9. Monitoring and evaluating intervention effects, and 
  10. Planning follow-up and termination of the therapeutic relationship.

Application of Intervention Methods 

Direct method - The direct method of intervention refers to the various strategies employed by the worker to encourage a particular type of behavior on the part of the client. Direct intervention, according to Pearlman, is the providing of a structured but flexible framework within which the client can work through his or her problem, their relationship to it, and alternative solutions. Here, the caseworker exerts direct influence over the client. Direct intervention strategies are utilized when a client needs direction as a result of his or her ignorance, anxiety, or deficits in their ego strengths. The extent to which the caseworker can exert influence may be contingent upon his or her relationship with the client.
    • Counseling, therapeutic interviewing, clarification, and interpretation all contribute to the development of insight. Through guiding, externalization of interests, reassurance, suggestion, persuasion, and advice, supportive intervention is provided for the client's immediate benefit.
    • Counseling is a form of personal assistance directed toward the resolution of a problem that a person discovers he or she is unable to resolve on his or her own and for which he or she seeks the assistance of a skilled person whose knowledge, experience, and general orientation can be applied in an attempt to resolve the problem. It is a sort of psychological assistance in which information and explanation are utilized to bring the client's attention to the issue. It is never utilized for anything other than a specific purpose, such as marriage counseling, occupational counseling, family counseling, or school counseling. 
    • Therapeutic interviewing is employed when the environment contains intrapsychic conflict or when neuroses or behavioral disorders are acted out. The purpose of such interviews is psychotherapy, which focuses on personality, competence, and self-actualization. To analyze the unconscious, the social caseworker employs techniques such as free association, dream interpretation, resistance analysis, and transference analysis. The social caseworker employs positive enforcement, negative enforcement, positive punishment, negative punishment, systematic desensitization, and covert desensitization to modify behavior. Occasionally, poor interactions have a critical role in the development of maladaptive behavior. To strengthen interpersonal relationships and communication skills, the social caseworker employs marriage and family counseling techniques, as well as transactional analysis. It is a process by which the client's identity, his/her environment, and the public with whom he/she is associated are clarified. A social caseworker must have an understanding of the individual, his or her environment, and social network. Clarification may take the shape of information provided to the client in order for him/her to develop a knowledge of himself/herself, his/her environment, and social network, which he/she currently lacks and without which he/she cannot see clearly what actions to follow. 
    • Occasionally, contradictory emotions and powerful emotions cause an individual to substantially distort reality or react inappropriately to it, rendering comprehension impossible without deeper perception. The social caseworker assesses the problem's components, pertinent facts, the client's attitudes, and unconscious sentiments in relation to the real scenario.
    •  He or she assists the client in becoming aware of his or her powerful projection of inner wants and subjective responses to the external world. Every stage of insight development requires some degree of clarification and psychological help. Psychological support is beneficial in reducing tension and guilt, boosting self-esteem, promoting healthy functioning or a method of functioning that maintains the client's equilibrium, and assisting the client in developing compensatory strengths and satisfaction. 
    • The caseworker acknowledges him/her and his/her feelings and demonstrates genuine concern for him/her. He/she clarifies the situation and encourages the individual to make his/her own choice. Through advice, reassurance, suggestion, persuasion, and psychological support, the social caseworker assists him/her in strengthening his/her client's ego.
     Environmental modification -
    • Environmental modification entails altering the client's social and physical circumstances in order to relieve him or her of excessive stressors and strains. The caseworker makes recommendations regarding which steps may or may not assist the client in coping better with his or her challenges. He/she co-plans his/her emotional, professional, and recreational activities with him/her. He/she counsels members of his/her environment appropriately and influences their attitudes positively. 
    • While an interview is employed in this method, the primary focus is on the subject's changing circumstances. When social resources and institutionalized social circumstances are used as the primary means of resolving an issue, this is referred to as social intervention. Such programs include home services, camps, group experience activities, training and jobs for self-sufficiency, and other adjustment activities. The objective of such activities is always to alleviate the client's tension.
    •  The social caseworker organizes activities that aid in the development and adjustment of the client's personality in society. While actual services are made available, the emphasis is always on changing circumstances. Additionally, efforts are made to influence and adjust the attitudes of parents, instructors, spouses, employers, friends, and relatives to meet the client's needs. In general, caseworkers engage in environmental modification (manipulation) only when environmental pressures on the client are uncontrollable by the client but can be controlled by the caseworker.
    Administration of practical service 
    • People who work in practical service are those who help a person choose and use a social resource that is available in their community. Hamilton says that the administration of practical services is the oldest and most well-known way to help people in a case. Porter Lee was the first social worker to emphasize and classify these kinds of resources, and he did this for the first time. The administration of practical services means that the client will be helped so that he can choose and use the resources in the community that he needs. 
    • The social caseworker helps the client get enough information about available resources by talking, giving information, clarifying things, and giving them a direction. When a person has a problem, they need to use services to help them solve it. If the problem is of a social nature, then it is even more important for the worker to help the client in this way. 
    • These services are called interventions because they meet his or her needs and make him or her happy. The client knows what kind of service they want. It is the job of a caseworker to get the client the resources that they need. In order to solve a problem in your daily life, you might need money, medical care, nursery schools, scholarships, foster homes, legal aid, recreational facilities, and so on. These are all types of services that you might need.

    Phase-4-Termination and Follow-up 

    As soon as a client agreed to have social casework help, the process began. Termination means ending the process. After talking with each other, the worker and the client decide how the job will be terminated. During this time, the worker is sure that the client can handle both present and future situations. Not only is it not wise, but it is also not necessary for the end to be abrupt.

    Getting rid of a worker should be done in stages so that their dependence on the company is almost over. Gradually, the number and frequency of contacts should be cut back over time. It's especially important to plan the follow-up on a gradually decreasing basis, starting with two weeks, then a month, then three months, six months, and a year.


    Evaluation Evaluating is the process in which the worker tries to figure out how well and how well the process worked. As part of social casework, this is the part that checks to see if the process has reached its goals in a given case A critical part of social casework is evaluation. It gives important information about whether the intervention program is working as planned if the goals have been met, and if changes need to be made to the program. It also gives information about whether the client is actually getting help. A social caseworker looks at the content of the program and how well it works, as well as how strong the client has become and how well the caseworker did in helping the client. 


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