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WS1006 Self in Professional Helping Guide: Case Study Response

This guide will help WS1006 students complete subject assessment tasks


Writing a case study response follows the same steps as your reflective writing task. Start with planning your assignment and finish with referencing. Make sure you adjust your academic writing style to suit the change in output to case study response.

Warning: This is a past WS1006 case study response essay. Assignment task requirements may have changed since this was written, but it continues to provide a good example of what a case study response could look like.

Instructions: Mouse over the text below to see annotations giving explanations and information on the writing process, parts of a blog post, in-text citations and referencing.

I have chosen to do my Case Study on the Local Council. I see this as a challenge that has the possibility of creating some positive impacts on a community as a whole; however, this would be a long term project.Your intro should clearly let the reader know what you intend to do in the paper. Here you have jumped straight into discussing the material.
Personal pronouns are acceptable for this task, however this opening could be developed by articulating a clear introduction. A clear introduction should introduce the topic and provide a context for the essay. The example below clearly introduces the concept of professional helping, the chosen case study and the specific social theory being used to construct a critically informed analysis. Also notice in the example that the writer indicates the pattern of the case study response and gives a clear outline of what will follow.

Example: In professional helping it is important for the helper to have a strong body of knowledge to be effective and accountable. In this case study, where I have chosen to help Ted and his family, the first tool I will be using is Howe’s taxonomy of social theories (Howe, 2008, p. 45). By placing Ted’s situation into one paradigm of social theory I can make clearer sense of the case study, draw on information and theories applicable to that paradigm, and be aware of the origins of issues that may arise if the clients or other professional helpers disagree with my actions because they are seeing the situation from a different perspective. I will then draw on my knowledge of practical ways I can help Ted and his family, including the model I will use to plan my response and resources I will use. Thirdly, I will focus on my use of self in working with Ted and his family.
My own worldview is sharply set in ‘The Raisers of Consciousness’ paradigm of Howe’s (1992) taxonomy for social work theories.The writer does suggest the social work theory being used, but jumps straight to it in the first body paragraph. Also referred to as the ‘radical humanist’, he describes as being a mixture of humanism and politics (p.110).‘Radical humanist’ does not constitute a direct quote. If it was, the ‘ ‘ and page number in-text citation are not correct. Direct quotes use “ ”, and must have author, date and page number in-text citation, e.g. (Howe, 1992, p. 110) Seeing people in a subjective manner and having the ability to influence their own life on an individual level is an important factor. However also realising that the social construction of society may impact on that ability to take control of one’s life.
Through inequality created by an ever increasing capitalist society, the divide between rich and poor, and the subtle perpetual message fed by media that the socially disadvantaged are a drain on the economy, has the capacity to lead to a disillusioned and dehumanised value to life. Poverty is a political matter that can be influenced by education and a freeing of consciousness to understand the constraints that this political system has on an individual’s life, in order to then collectively do something about it.
When making sense of this situation, I see a community that has been neglected by society.This is an excellent phrase to indicate a critical analysis will follow. With no industry and little business, a large percentage of the population are welfare recipients, which would explain few public amenities, playing fields or social services. The hall was probably built in a bid to win an election, but as government changed hands, the value in utilising the hall was lost. With high unemployment numbers, self-esteem is low, for this reason, youth are spending their weekends racing cars and partying, escaping the reality of a society that holds no regard for their future. This then impacts on the rest of the community, including putting small children at risk of injury. In this paragraph and the paragraph below the writer draws on appropriate and effective material (literature and concepts) from the subject and field of professional helping to explain the case study, role of the professional helper and process they would follow.
The Engagement phase I would expect to take 3-6 months. A humanist perspective is about the inherent dignity of humans and the commitment to equality and self-determination (Chenoweth & McAuliffe, 2015).Definitions from the literature are used to clearly articulate the perspective being utilised Using this approach, my aim would be to get an overall understanding of the dynamics working within the community. To begin this process, I would place an article in the local newspaper explaining that I have been employed to look into the issues facing the community.Great idea With intentions of finding uses for the hall that is currently sitting idle. Through some self-disclosure of past work history, I would want to imply that I was there to work for the community. Welcoming all who had any concerns to ‘pop in’ at the hall, where I would be working, in order to get to know the locals, and hear their needs. I would dress in neat casual clothes in order to come across as genuine and easily approachable. I want to avoid coming across as ‘the expert’, rather as someone who is genuinely concerned with building an atmosphere of community connectedness. Being aware that this would help to create an equal balance of power.Even though it’s obvious to me you are linking this to your paradigm, making it more explicit would be better. I would do XYZ because as a Raisers of Consciousness they believe ABC...etc
Interacting with a diverse range of people means that I will need to show respect, be culturally alert, empathic and authentic. I will need to be flexible in my communication skills and approaches, actively listening and being aware if any of my own values are being challenged. Using a strength based perspective in building rapport, with the aim of reaching an understanding of purpose in order to collaborate a partnership in meeting mutually defined needs (Chenoweth & McAuliffe, 2015) of the community.Here the writer clearly outlines professional helping skills necessary when responding to the case study and then introduces the scholarly perspective (strengths based approach) that would enable such skills to unfold.

The in-text citation should also be placed at the end of the sentence, just before the full-stop.
The assessment phase is a critical part of the process, and could take up to 12 months as appraisals of many facets of the community need to be explored. ‘Holding back and taking time to assess the situation as thoroughly as possible is good practise’ (Chenoweth & McAuliffe, 2015, p.236).Use “ ” around the direct quotes. Great in-text citation The process would need to include myself and other stakeholders such as council and police liaison officers. I would continue to work from the hall, adding posters to promote empowerment and pamphlets with useful information on relevant social issues. The doors would be open at all times, constantly calling for community feedback. A large recent influx of refugees and immigrants has left locals feeling neglected by government, with little services increased in the area. Racial tensions through lack of understanding and fear of difference has left newcomers to the area feeling isolated and alienated from the greater community. Mental health issues are quite prevalent with little support and anyone working in the ‘helping’ field are stretched to their limits and are struggling to cope. Bored youth are ‘getting their kicks’ out of harassing singled out migrants. The need to work from an anti-oppressive approach would be highly suitable.
Through the engagement process, I would plan to select a few people, observing the influence they portrayed, in representing the broader community.The writer develops and builds a highly appropriate plan for helping that is explicitly supported and reinforced with accurate analysis and insightful understanding of the material from the subject. I would deliberately choosing a mix of personalities and races.Explain why Due to this cultural diversity it would be necessary to spend some time individual time with each of selected people in order to explore each of their cultures, and learning to respect them. After considering any ethical or cultural issues, I would ask if these people were willing to participate in a mentoring workshop. With the intentions of them becoming the voices, and vehicles of change within the wider community. I would organise training in William Glassers’ ‘Choice Theory’ (1998).This date should be placed next to the author’s name, e.g. William Glassners’ (1998) Choice Theory I like this theory as it explains how, what he terms, ‘external control psychology’ can have negative impacts on relationships as we try to force people into doing things they don’t want to do (pp. 3-7).‘external control psychology’ does not constitute a direct quote. If it was, the ‘ ‘ and page number in-text citation are not correct. Direct quotes use “ ”, and must have author, date and page number information, e.g. (Glassers, 1998, pp. 3-7) Teaching positive ways of communicating effectively, without coercion, can create empowerment to all involved. Howe (1992) describes this as critical consciousness and refers to challenging the thoughts in the way we see the world, and ourselves in it.
Intervention is crucial to implementing the assessmentLanguage continually hedges towards aspects the professional helping plan in response to the case study. . Chenoweth and McAuliffe (2015) suggest the first step in planning intervention is to map out who will be responsible for taking on particular roles and tasks. This is important when working with a community, as my intention is that the hall will function without me. For these reasons I would be building on the relationships created within the helping process so far. My role would be facilitator, advocator and teacher while nurturing the ones I had selected earlier into their chosen positions to foster a sense of ownership.
 With approval from Council, the community had established five objectives, these were:
  1. A playground built near the Hall, in order to accompany the playgroup established in the Hall. This would give the children a safe place to play, and the opportunity for parents to network. Plans to apply for funding grants to cover costs.
  2. Start a support group for those suffering from mental health issues, with plans to further teach the principles of Choice theory in an effort to encourage personal awareness and a sense of personal control.
  3. Creating a community cultural hub, where everyone is welcome, with promoting cultural differences to breakdown prejudice fears. Running workshops on issues such as self-esteem, anger management and positive parenting.
  4. Collaborating with police to run some sporting programmes to accommodate the bored youth, likening to a PCYC, with the voices of the youth influencing the activities available.
  5. Regular social events to foster a connected community spirit. E.g. Cultural celebrations, fund-raising events or music nights. Reasons for bringing the community together.
Priority would be given to the objectives that could be achieved first, and with careful planning, consistently assessing whether we are working within ethical guidelines to ensure the well-being of all those involved. Throughout this process, I would be continually reflecting on what practises are working, which are not, and why not? Is what we are doing ethical? Are we working with peoples strengths? Have we followed protocol? Do we have appropriately trained staff? Have I maintained a rights-based approach? Am I using anti-oppressive practises appropriately?Notice that questions are not usually acceptable in academic writing, but here in response to the case study and the professional helping plan and process, outlining reflective questions to ask are paramount and are carefully linked to the evaluation stage of the professional helping process.
These questions would also be included in the Evaluation phase. The purpose to this phaseThis sentence beginning clearly articulates the importance of the evaluation phase and links directly to literature to reinforce this notion. is to be accountable for what was done, and improving the quality of how it has been done (Chenoweth & McAuliffe, 2015). In reviewing the project, the process would begin early. I would include monthly staff meetings discussing progress and results. Are expectations being met? Are there areas we can improve on? What has worked well? Are we working in culturally sensitive practises? With critical reflection, each meeting would result in applying appropriate changes where needed.You might have been more clear and active in saying exactly how what you are doing links to your chosen paradigm
I would also be accountable to the Council, providing evidence that building a community spirit would reduce residential complaints. At the end of my contract, review would focus on how the centre is running as a whole. Has togetherness happened? Is the hall still being used by diverse members of the community? Where can improvements be made? Are staff adequately trained and qualified? What learning experiences can I take with me to my next role? What new discoveries have I made about myself? I would anticipate that the time to leave would not be easy, as I would have built many relationships within the community, and would feel a sense of sadness mixed with gratitude and pride in the achievements that had been accomplished.The overall case study response could have been strengthened by including linking sentences from one paragraph to the next.
The ‘use-of-self’ in Social Work practise has been described as a deliberate and conscious use of oneself, becoming the medium through which knowledge, skills and attitudes are conveyed (Reupert, 2006).Notice how the writer explicitly examines the role that your own self would play in both understanding and responding to the specific case study. Notice how this response integrates a sophisticated understanding of the nature of self and clearly articulates the role that self plays in the professional helping process specific to the chosen case study. The role of self section could have been strengthened further by integrating additional evidence (literature) from the subject in to reinforce ideas. The more self-aware, the easier it becomes to use oneself as a tool. The practise knowledge I have accumulated over the years through critically reflective practise, and being open to learning, gives me a large data base to work from. When my whole attention is in the moment, I have the power to draw from the vast pool of information, tucked away to be used in the right place at the right time. I am conscious of my word choices and use language that connect me to others as opposed to controlling them. As long as I know that I have control over my thoughts and actions, I am fundamentally prepared for the unexpected. When faced with confrontation, though it may come as a surprise, I realise that they are not angry at me, which enables me to see past the anger to listen for the frustration. However I would still have my boundaries and would not tolerate physical or verbal abuse.
So I bring all of who I am with me in my role. Language too informal for academic writing. This could have been developed further by exploring academic words for critical analysis/ My warmth, kind, gentle and caring nature. My optimistic attitude allows me to find a positive in any negative. Knowing what it feels like to live in poverty, to be alone, lost, confused and frightened, has given me insight into human suffering. However, also experiencing the other side of suffering, would give me the drive and patience to see the project through. I view difference as another opportunity to learn, not only about another culture, but also more about myself, as I can challenge any pre- conceived ideas that I was unaware were there.


ReferencesSome work needs to be done on the references and in-text citations, but I can see the author has tried hard.

O’Connor, I., Wilson, J., Setterlund, D., & Hughes, M. (2008). Social work and human service practice (5th ed.). Pearson Education.



This is an excellent piece of work which very clearly demonstrates your understanding of the subject material and your ability to apply one of Howe’s paradigms to your chosen case study. The ‘making sense’ section were particularly insightful and sophisticated. While this is excellent work it could easily have been made even stronger. A clearer account of the links between your actions at each stage and the paradigm, would really have helped create a highly integrated flow in the paper. There were also many opportunities to bring in additional literature, which would have strengthened the academic aspects of the work. Well done.


Grade: High Distinction


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