Understanding human behavior and the social environment
Nineteen year old Talia Johnson was the victim of a rape at a fraternity party (Plummer, Makris and Brocksen, 2014). This week’s video depiction highlights Talia’s struggle with navigating her way back into the life she knew prior to the sexual assault (Laureate Education, 2013). The social worker has a glimpse into her daily life, particularly as she struggles with her parent’s understandable discomfort with their daughter remaining on campus (Laureate Education, 2013). Talia views her current situation as stagnant and not easily changeable. During these situations, the professional charged with helping the client achieve the best positive outcomes when pairing their innate resiliency with a Strengths Based Perspective (Zastrow and Kirst- Ashman, 2016). Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman recognize the importance of emphasizing one’s resiliency, particularly when faced with undeniable adversity (Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman, 2016).
While this may be proven as an effective approach, convincing a client who is experiencing consistent feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, is certainly not an easy feat. Therefore, the focus of this approach should remain small, manageable tasks seen through to completion (Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman, 2016). In Talia’s case, perhaps suggesting she schedules agreed upon times to speak with her mother would alleviate the stress she feels by receiving the numerous phone calls (Laureate Education, 2013). The premise behind this suggestion is that when Talia starts seeing small daily success, she may start “buying in” to the fact that she, too, can come back from the trauma that has placed her where she is. Thus, her acceptance of her own resiliency, while her innate strengths are continually highlighted by the social worker, will only add to her achievement of positive outcomes (Zastrow and Kirst – Ashman, 2016).
By applying this concept of resiliency to Talia’s case, it is clear how this would be an effective approach within my own future social work practice. Every client with whom a social worker comes in contact, has some innate level of resiliency. Finding the opportunities to point out resiliency, even in its simplest form, becomes the responsibility of the professional charged with guiding the client toward the desired outcomes. For example, when a client drives a car for the first time after being involved in a car accident, this can be identified as form of resiliency and the first step in achieving their goals. The ultimate goal would be for the client to recognize this resiliency within himself, but until this time the social worker can serve as the client’s “strength identifier.”
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