4 Components of Social case work


The main practice method for social workers is social case work. In social case work, a social worker assists a person who is having difficulty getting by on a daily basis. This approach takes into account both the social and psychological facets of a person's existence. The terms "social" and "psychological" refer to how an individual interacts with other people and his or her environment, respectively, while "social" refers to how that individual feels about himself or herself. As a result, the psychological aspects focus on a person's inner feelings while the social aspects deal with their interpersonal encounters.

Understanding the many social case work components and their significance in addressing the issues of the individual is essential to comprehending the unique person.

Described by Mary Richmond in 1915 as "the art of doing diverse things for and with different individuals by partnering with them to attain at one and the same time their own and society's welfare," social case work is the practice of helping others.

According to H.H. Perlman, the fundamental tenet of social case work is that "a person with a problem comes to a place where a professional representative supports him by a given process." The majority of the time when someone is seeking information, they use this entire phenomenon, commonly known as the 4Ps.

There are four components of casework known as the 4 P’s:

  1. The person. 
  2. The problem.
  3. The place. 
  4. The process. 

Let us now explain each one of them. 


Any person who is stressed out or dealing with problems in their life qualifies as the person. The individual may be a man, woman, or young child. In the language of social work, the subject is referred to as the "client." The individual may experience issues as a result of their incapacity to adapt to the current A predicament that was brought about by uncontrollable causes. The nature of this issue may be social, economic, or psychological. An individual typically uses solutions from his or her prior experiences to try to tackle a problem when it arises.

However, if the issue does not seem to be resolved, outside assistance is required, at which point the person seeks out expert assistance. Once a person begins to pursue a career, they are considered a "client."

The person or customer has a number of unmet requirements, worries, and issues. These issues are specific to his or her circumstance. Because each person is different and has a certain set of social and cultural circumstances in which to exist, each person has different social experiences. In addition, the individual participates in social interactions, shares human traits, and engages in a variety of interactions with other individuals. The individual stands out from all other members of his or her family or culture.

There are various categories of clients:

1. Those who look for assistance on their own.

2. People who look for assistance for someone else.

3. Individuals who restrict or jeopardize another person's ability to interact socially (such as a parent who is unfaithful in a child protection situation).

4. People who ask for assistance for improper purposes.

5. People who ask for assistance in order to further their own objectives.

The sort of client and the issue he or she is trying to solve will determine the nature of the social casework.

Felix Biestik (1957) outlined seven needs that clients have while seeking assistance:

1) To not be treated as a kind or category, but as an individual.

2) To express emotions, both good and bad.

3. To be acknowledged as a valuable individual with inherent dignity.

4) Understanding and responding to conveyed feelings with empathy.

5) Not to be criticized or judged for the difficulty the clients are experiencing.

6) To make decisions about one's own life on one's own.

7) To assist in maintaining the secrecy of any information about oneself.

To understand a person, it is essential to understand the personality of the person. The personality structure plays an important role in determining how the behaviour of the person is affecting the social functioning of the person. According to Freud, a person’s behaviour is governed by three forces of personality structure, viz. id (life forces of the individual), ego (which is conscious and drives our personality forces) and super ego (which is unconscious and consists of ethical values and principles.


A issue is an impediment to someone's ability to conduct themselves normally. Unmet needs, poor adaptations, and disappointments are typically the causes of problems. Unmet needs or frustrations take on the form of difficulties when they persist for an extended length of time and begin to affect how an individual interacts with others. Intrapersonal issues consequently result from unfulfilled wants and desires of the person, which have an impact on their quality of life or the success of their efforts to address it.

1) Intrapersonal problem: When difficulties and annoyances stem from a person's personal problems and obstruct their social functioning, these issues are intrapersonal in nature. These issues only have an impact on the affected person and their immediate surroundings.

2) Interpersonal problem: Problems are interpersonal in nature when they occur as a result of an external cause, circumstance, or an individual's surroundings and cause him or her to feel uncomfortable. People in our immediate vicinity, such as family and friends, are similarly impacted by interpersonal issues.

3) Physiological problems: Physiological issues are brought on by bodily illness or disorders in a certain body component. It is crucial to address a person's mental health when they have a chronic illness since this starts to have an impact.

4) Economic problems: Every human being must have their basic necessities met.

Poverty-related issues are one of the fundamental issues. The global economic crisis is affecting people everywhere. The upper, medium and bottom classes of society are separated.

The highest class can nearly always afford luxuries, the middle class can at least meet all of their basic needs, but the lower class constantly struggles to get by.

5) Psychological problems: Psychological difficulties typically have to do with a person's behaviour and mind. Extreme psychological issues like anxiety, depression, paranoia, etc. are the results of a persistent psychological issue.


The location where the client seeks assistance with their issue is a social service organisation or department. A larger institution (like the local government) or a smaller social work microcosm (like the psychiatric social work department in a mental hospital) can both be seen as places. The institutions where caseworkers work (such as schools, child guidance clinics, children's departments of hospitals and courts, etc.) may also be considered as a place.

Agency classifications for social casework

The following three criteria may be used to categorise social casework organisations:

1) Source of support- These are the organisations that receive funding from voluntary contributions or public taxes (e.g., child welfare, physical and mental health programmes).

2) Source of professional authority - While some agencies are secondary, deriving their authority and responsibility from the host agency, others are primary, carrying entire authority and responsibility for their social functions.

3) Special role and focus - Primary organisations may be both public and private.

These organisations make the decision to operate in a certain location where they provide services. Secondary organizations, which support the work of other professions like law, health, or education,

1) Assist the society: A social agency works to safeguard its constituents by assisting people and groups in preventing social breakdowns, avoiding misadjustments, and fostering the growth of better or higher levels of human functioning.

2) Creates a suitable programme: A social agency creates specific programmes and activities based on the needs of the community, funding availability, staff knowledge and skills, and community interest, resources, and support.

3) Has an organisational structure: The social agency has a structure and is made up of numerous individuals with various goals and authority levels, all of whom are interdependent for the agency's overall operation. Each agency employee is given a unique set of duties and obligations.

4) Has qualified staff: The organisation has caseworkers that have received training and possess the specialised knowledge and abilities to address people's issues in order to help them improve their social functioning.

5) The agency acts as a point of contact between the client and the social worker, allowing them to communicate professionally. Most of the time, it serves as the client and social worker's point of contact.

Social professionals must comprehend the organisation where they work. They must also be able to comprehend how other social organisations operating in related fields function. Setting clear boundaries for an agency is the first step in understanding it.


A procedure is a series of phases or actions that the caseworker takes to assist the client. A professional worker must adhere to specific procedures in order to assist the client. Throughout the process, the employee must maintain a positive working relationship with the client. In a challenging scenario, the worker supports the client in strengthening his or her coping skills.

The professional social worker accepts the client, builds a strong rapport with the client, and makes an effort to uncover the truth. The client's facts are accurately diagnosed, and the worker assists the client in finding the answer while assuring complete client involvement in the process.

Problem-Solving Process Stages

The steps involved in problem-solving in social case work are described in the stages below:

1) An first statement of the issue: This calls for a precise, accurate, and clear presentation of the issue. The problem statement is frequently imprecise, general, and vague.

2) A statement of initial hypotheses regarding the nature of the issue: After articulating the issue clearly, assumptions are made about its nature and root cause. This demonstrates the need to address the issue and the obstacles that must be overcome to do so.

3) Information selection and gathering: A number of sources, such as historical, sociological, psychological, biological, economic, political, religious, and ethical understandings, may be used to gather information. 

4) Analysis of the information at hand: The information obtained about the issue is analyzed in order to identify workable objectives, likely results, potential courses of action, interpretation of the information's significance, and evaluation.

5) Formulation of a plan: Information gathering and analysis help people understand what can be done to get rid of barriers that prevent needs from being met. A strategy for the potential solutions is created while taking into account different tactics and strategies.

6) Plan implementation: The plan is carried out in order to address the person's issue.

7) Constant monitoring and evaluation: The plan is continuously evaluated while it is in operation. Constant evaluation during implementation must include information collecting. 


  1. Hamilton, Gordon (1956), Theory and Practice of Social Casework; Columbia University Press, New York. 
  2. Perlman, H.H (1957), Social Case Work: A Problem-Solving Process, Chicago. Biestek, Felic P (1957), The Case Work Relationship; Loyola University Press, Chicago, Illinois. 
  3. Matthew, Grace (1991), Theory and Practice of Social Casework; Columbia University Press, New York. 


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