Types of Social Case Work


  1. Introduction
  2. Nature of Social Case Work
  3. Types of Social Case Work
  4. Summary


The goal of social case work is to address the needs of people in various situations and to bring about the desired change in the person's life and social environment. The profession of case work is valued because it directly and methodically addresses the difficulties of individuals and families. The goal of case work practise is to help individuals make positive adjustments in their lives that will have a positive impact on society. Initially, the services were focused on the welfare of individuals, subsequently expanding to include families and groups. One of the oldest and most efficient kinds of social work is social case work.

The primary objective of this module is to give a glimpse of the various types of social case work practices. This unit will help the reader to understand the following: - 
  • Types of problems or issues faced by the client 
  • Magnitude & dynamics of the problem  
  • Different types of interventions that address the problems/issues

Nature of Social Case Work

The profession of social work is unique in that it is neither developed from nor a handmaid of any other subject. It has evolved into a helping profession that combines theory and practise over time. One of the most common methods of social work is social case work. The emergence of case work began to rule the social work notion in society from the inception of the profession. Since the beginning of missionaries' involvement in charity-based activities, case work has been one of the most primitive ways used. The goal of social case work is to improve an individual's social functioning through one-on-one engagement utilising case work approaches. It places a high value on an individual's problems that are related to his or her social functioning. It deals with circumstances involving misalignment of social roles and its harmful consequences.

Development of Different Types of Case Work

Humanitarian values form the core of social work. In this profession, human welfare and well-being are of paramount importance. Furthermore, social work theories consider the psycho-social issues that individuals confront and provide guidance on how to deal with them. In light of this perspective, case work practise has evolved into specific types of intervention based on factors such as the nature of the problem, the urgency of the problem situation, the individual's personality, rapid environmental changes, the inner dynamics of the individual's family, and so on.

Process and Purpose of Interventions

In the process of case work practice, the case worker
  • makes use of professional skills such as observation, description, appraisal, and interpretation of the person in need of assistance's problem scenario,
  • plans the interventions that will be used, and
  • allows the person/client to go through a procedure that will assist them in changing their behaviour and making the necessary modifications. He or she uses generally accepted professional social work concepts, methods, and procedures to prevent, cure, or eradicate emotional, mental, or social disorder in individuals.

Nature of Individuals and their Problems

When people's basic requirements aren't addressed, they develop variations or abnormalities in their behaviour that disrupt their normal functioning. When working with individuals, it is important to consider not just their physical growth and development, but also their emotional and intellectual growth and development. Individuals in society have various responsibilities to play, and in doing so, they face a variety of issues that obstruct their ability to function as social beings. Individuals differ, as do the nature of their problems; they differ from one individual to the next, therefore therapeutic strategies cannot be the same. They should be specifically tailored to the individual's needs and challenges.

Types of Social Case Work

The type of the person with a problem, the severity of the problem, the required duration of the intervention, the expected outcome, the availability of resources, and other considerations all influence the typology of social case work. All forms of problems and difficulties can be examined on three levels: micro, mezzo, and macro. This perspective would aid in the conceptualization of relevant intervention approaches for any issue or problem. As a result, there are various sorts of social casework practises.

Long-Term Case Work

As the name implies, this form of case work takes a long time and gives support for a long time. Even in the course of long-term case work, a lack of insight into the problem might cause a lot of problems for the client. Long-term case work entails working with clients for an extended period of time, during which the case worker maintains a contractual working relationship with the client. The client meets with their case worker on a regular basis, and they make progress through scheduled interventions. Working with drug addicts, alcoholics, and those with behavioural issues is an example of long-term case work.
  • Intervention Process
    The nature of problems handled in long-term case work usually necessitates a more systematic and durable intervention which requires regular meetings with the person/client over a period of time. Intervention techniques such as behaviour modification and psychotherapy necessitate a long time-frame to achieve the intended outcomes.
  • Short-Term Case Work
    Brief case work practise is another name for short-term case work. It's a novel method to casework that responds to evolving social demands and commitments by rethinking our underlying assumptions, conceptual models, and operating principles used in traditional practise. The very structure of case work theory has built in it some sense of defined goal and limit, which has resulted in brief case work therapy.
    > Utility of Short-term Case Work:
    Short-term case work assists clients in solving challenges in a timely manner. It is time-limited, and the focus is mostly on resolving the issue at hand. Short-term case work focuses on family settings more closely. The client may be in a lot of problems due to a lack of understanding and information about the nature of the situation. The importance of continuity in short-term case work is critical to solving the problem. Casework interventions with individuals/families in a sudden stressful situation, such as a life-threatening ailment, terminal sickness, poor scholastic progress, or financial insecurity, for example, require rigorous follow-up.
    >  Intervention Process using Short-term Case Work Approach:
    While working with individuals and families, the case worker can engage in short-term interventions to cater to the immediate need of the individual and the family in accepting the problem at hand. The case worker intervenes immediately to gather necessary information about the situation and its impact. They provide required services in enabling individuals and families to understand and educate realities pertaining to the situation, coordinate and link available services through resource mobilization and home visits and referral services to help them make use of the accessible services. The case worker ensures confidentially by not parting with sensitive information pertaining to the client and the situation without the consent of the client and their family members.
  • Task Centered Case Work Practice (TCC)
    The Task Centered Approach is "atheoretical," meaning that it is not based on a set of top-down theoretical assumptions but rather on real-world application. To put it another way, it addresses concrete and practical aspects of people's life. As a result, it is classified as a bottom-up process based on a cause-and-effect assumption. The Task Centered Approach is "atheoretical," meaning that it is not based on a set of top-down theoretical assumptions but rather on real-world application. To put it another way, it addresses concrete and practical aspects of people's life. As a result, it is classified as a bottom-up process based on a cause-and-effect assumption.
    > Theoretical Base:
    A person with a problem must focus on the issue that needs to be addressed right now. He should not only admit the issue, but also be willing to work on it and remedy it within a reasonable amount of time. Distress, turbulence, unease, malfunction, or a threat to one's aim could be the target problem. As a result, the person is expected to complete the assignment, which is both an immediate goal and a means of resolving his or her problem.
    > Characteristics of TCC:
    1. Task Centered Casework (TCC) is time-bound.
    2. TCC is present-oriented, as it addressing the problem at hand.
    3. Intervention is focused on alleviating a specific problem which both the caseworker and the person/client agree to work on.
    4. The process is highly structured and the procedure for following the model is rather specific.
    5. The focus is on solving the problem as perceived by the person who wants to solve his/her problem.
    6. Client should carry out the tasks agreed upon, and the entire casework revolves around these tasks.
    7. TCC takes to an empirical approach and it develops from research findings about its practice.
    8. TCC model has been built up with concepts that can be researched in an on-going manner.
    > Target Areas for TCC:
    - Children having difficulty in coping with the academic demands
    - Consistent difficulty in completing work at the specified time frame
    - Experiencing Stressful interpersonal relationships
    - Difficulty in performing social role effectively
    > Brief Application of the Model
    TCC works well with practically everyone, including individuals, couples, families, and groups. The earliest sessions are focused on determining the person's problem(s) (s). Identifying, listing, and prioritising problems, as well as agreeing on feasible goals, are all part of this step. These objectives are then subdivided into smaller, more detailed goals. To attain the given aim, appropriate techniques and tasks are devised. As a result, the prioritised issue could be resolved.
    > Usefulness and Limitations of TCC
    1. Task Centered Casework takes to a pragmatic approach. It is able to get a quick and tangible result, provided the person agrees to work on a particular dimension of his/her problem under the expert guidance of the case worker.
    2. TCC can be useful with clients of any number as long as their problems can be identified, prioritized and turned into achievable goals.
    3. Once an easily manageable or achievable goal is obtained and a specific dimension of a problem is solved, it paves the way for the client to get motivated and to work on the other dimensions of his/her problem.
    4. However, TCC has its own limitations. It may not be effective in the life of some persons who have certain cultural mindset that comes in the way of owning responsibility for the problem and willing to work on the solution of the problem. For example, in a culture where every problem is meekly accepted as for part of one‟s fate, and nothing could solve the problem situation, it will be very difficult to apply TCC model effectively.
    5. It may not be helpful to apply TCC in multiple client systems, as it is difficult to negotiate reciprocal goals.
  • Crisis Intervention Case work (CIC)
    A crisis, according to Gerald Caplan (1964), is characterised by a "very brief period of psychological disequilibrium in a person confronted with a hazardous circumstance that for him constitutes an important problem that he can neither flee nor solve using his usual problem-solving skills." Crisis intervention casework is a type of casework intervention that deals with such situations and people.
    Crisis Intervention Case Work is relevant in situations such as the following:
    1. Accident
    2. Death of a loved one
    3. Natural disaster like Tsunami/ Floods/Volcanic eruption/ Famine/ cyclone/rain /fire
    4. Serious Health related issues /illness
    5. Financial crisis 6. Unemployment
    7. Unexpected pregnancy
    > Strategy of application:
    Interventions entail supporting an individual or a family in resolving a present problem by teaching them new and hopefully healthier methods of dealing with a potentially dangerous situation. As a result, crisis intervention focuses on the immediate problem scenario rather than long-term problems or established character traits. In the crisis intervention paradigm, the case worker assists the person in improving their ability to cope with their current living situation. Interpersonal conflict, role dysfunction, and life provisions are addressed through intervention. Work is done on conflicts that are either conscious or close to consciousness. Transference is acknowledged and dealt with. The focus of the assessment is on the client's place in the family and community.
    > Essentials of Crisis-Intervention Model:
    In crisis situations, social workers need to work very fast in responding to the needs of the client involving quick decision-making. Often, the case worker takes up the role of an advocate and activist.
  • Preventive Case Work
    Preventive Case Work is primarily concerned with assisting clients in avoiding unpleasant behaviour or consequences. The term "preventive" refers to the direction in which case work is conducted. To effectively prevent disruptive forms of operation, the case worker is actively involved in delivering knowledge, increasing awareness, enabling clarified thinking, and empowered decision-making among the clients. Clients who are vulnerable and at risk are usually the target population (women, children, aged, disabled, marginalised people). These clients are assisted in avoiding social deterioration and thereby avoiding future difficulties.
    Preventive Case Work practice is concerned with persons addicted to bad/unhealthy habits like
    - Substance abuse
    - Binge Drinking
    - Smoking Suffering from problems due to
    - Unhealthy relationship,
    - Psychological distress, and
    - Domestic Violence.  
    > Essentials of Preventive Case work:
    Preventive Case work can be either long-term method or short-term method depending on the problem but the ultimate goal is to prevent the problem. Environmental modification is important to increase or decrease the existing situation of the client both positively and negatively. Environmental modification is a good technique to solve the problem faced by the client but it takes a lot of time and sufficient follow-up
  • Implementation of the Intervention Plan
    The case worker needs the support of the family members in helping the client. This will help the client to function normally in the society.
  • Social Case Work & Sustainability
    Social work is a helpful profession that takes a professional approach to solving social problems and bringing about social change. This is a profession that focuses on long-term sustainability among its workforce. Individuals with social work training can take charge of their own condition. As social workers encounter a variety of situations, sustainability allows them to be proactive.  


  • Casework is a problem-solving method that is task-oriented and focused on tackling a wide range of challenges and problems using a systematic approach. 
  • It is a useful strategy for assisting clients in comprehending their own difficulties and, as a result, being empowered to tackle them. 
  • Case work is another need-driven strategy that improves with practise. Individuals' demands and the nature of their difficulties have prompted the development of several types of case work practise. 
  • Individuals, families, and groups are the focus of Case Work practise.
  • Case Crisis intervention, problem-solving, intermediate intervention/treatment, and long-term intervention/treatment are all part of the work practise.


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