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Social work assessment: Case theory construction

by Cynthia Bisman
Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services ()
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To intervene effectively, social workers need to make sense of clients and their situations. A case theory approach to assessment provides a framework to formulate assessments that are clear and directly related to the real-world problems clients present. Explaining the problem situation, case theory forms the foundation for selection of intervention strategies and methods to achieve change. Building case theory requires practitioner abilities to form concepts, relate concepts into propositions, develop hypotheses, and organize these into a coherent whole. Including case background information, observations and relevant professional literature, case theory presents an accurate and cogent comprehension of the client. Two case examples of depression illustrate the important relationship among concepts, empirical referents, propositions, general theories, and intervention, highlighting how case theory guides practice.

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