Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Last chapter summary

Thank God. This book is a hard read.

H. Wayne Johnson
Human Diversity and Empowerment
Chapter Twenty Two
N. Yolanda Burwell

In “Human Diversity and Empowerment”, N. Yolanda Burwell discusses the the history of diversity in American culture and way it has been handled. She covers the forms of resistance to diversity and the backlash from them in the first half of the article. In the second, she gives the blocks and the enhancers to cross-cultural empowerment.

The four major categories of resistance to diversity are as follows. Extermination is when individuals of the diverse group is systematically killed. Expulsion is when s group of people are forced to move from the main population into an area specifically for them. Exclusion and segregation is when members of a population are denied privileges and rights based solely on being part of a certain group and forced to use separate facilities. And assimilation is when the diverse group is educated and made to fit into the social norms. (p. 389 - 390)

When this resistance to diversity becomes great enough, social movements are born. People do fight back. Some through the legal system. Others through riots and protests. No one likes being powerless. (p. 391)

There are also four specific blocks to empowerment within the society. One is “missing the consumer's view of service”. When the helper doesn't understand how their help is being view, they often can cause more harm than good. Another is “dominance thinking”, where someone thinks because they have a position of power that their way is the only way. Thirdly is “marginalizing or homogenizing groups”, when one person or trait is considered to represented the whole or lumping everyone of a certain group together. Fourth is “privilege”, where one group has unearned advantages over another. (p. 392 - 394)

There are also four things that enhance cross-cultural empowerment. “Lived experiences” is where personal stories are shared, allowing people of diverse groups to see each other as human. “Consumer and personal rights” are rights that apply to everyone. “Multiculturalism” helps to enlarge the understanding and acceptance of other cultures. And finally, “tapping into energies for change” is the active process of bringing forth change. (p. 394 - 395)

As informative as this article was, it suffered from two very distractive elements. First was the writer's implied message that all social workers should be political activists. While every social worker does have a duty to provide care and empowerment to their clients, I don't believe that having all social workers become activists is a good thing. Those who are more comfortable providing and fighting for individuals are more likely to see their clients as individuals and not a cause. The second distraction was that while she presented three of her topics in sets of four, she didn't do the same for what fights against the resistance to diversity. It left a very unbalanced presentation.

Summary #3 from my social services text

H. Wayne Johnson
Working with Individuals and Families
Chapter Seventeen
Janet Johnson Laube

In “Working with Individuals and Families”, Janet Johnson Laube covers the multiple needs approach to family social work. She shows how today's social worker tries to focus on the strengths and not the flaws of the people involved, as was done prior to the 1960s (p 305). She also discusses the primary theoretic orientations social workers can work from.

In casework the aim of any social worker is to achieve a working balance between the conflicting needs of individuals and family units. This requires balancing the needs of self and others, aloneness and connectedness and the demands of personal expression and social survival (p. 304). To achieve this, coping must happen on many levels. The physical needs such as food, clothing, sleep, medical care, housing, etc. must be tended to first. For these needs to continue to be met, the economic needs and coping skills must be strengthen, including educational well-being. Then there is social coping skills that need to be addressed, along with the psychological coping skills. When the physical, economic, social and psychological needs are balanced, then the social worker has achieved their goal (p.306 - 308).

The theoretic orientations a social worker may take towards achieving their goal can be one or more of the following approaches. The psychodynamic approach where therapists help individuals modify their personality structures and strengthen ego functioning. The cognitive-behavioral approach where irrational thinking patterns and maladaptive behaviors are identified and altered. The interactional approach where individuals develop authentic relationships in which their self-concepts are strengthened by clear communication. The ecological systems approach which focuses on the relationships among biological, social, psychological and cultural factors that lead to the problem. The costructivist approach is an interactive relationship between social worker and client to find solutions.And lastly, the feminist approach which requires the social worker to recognize and respond to the effects of nonequal power distributions (p.310).

This article gives the reader a useful structure for dealing with the needs of those with serious problems that require the assistance of a social worker. It also gives a good matrix for the approaches a social can take to meeting some of those needs. While some people may rely heavily on one approach, it might be useful to remember all of the approaches and modify which is used based on the situation.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A plaid for Mexi's "clan". Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Erikson's 8 stages of Psychosocial Development

Basically I'm tired of picking them out of my text book and want to have them where I can look them over at a glance. I will probably go ahead and do this for a few other developmental theories too.

Stage 1: Infancy -- Age 0 to 1
Crisis: Trust vs. Mistrust
Description: In the first year of life, infants depend on others for food, warmth, and affection, and therefore must be able to blindly trust the parents (or caregivers) for providing those.
Positive outcome: If their needs are met consistently and responsively by the parents, infants not only will develop a secure attachment with the parents, but will learn to trust their environment in general as well.
Negative outcome: If not, infant will develop mistrust towards people and things in their environment, even towards themselves.

Stage 2: Toddler -- Age 1 to 2
Crisis: Autonomy (Independence) vs. Doubt (or Shame)
Description: Toddlers learn to walk, talk, use toilets, and do things for themselves. Their self-control and self-confidence begin to develop at this stage.
Positive outcome: If parents encourage their child's use of initiative and reassure her when she makes mistakes, the child will develop the confidence needed to cope with future situations that require choice, control, and independence.
Negative outcome: If parents are overprotective, or disapproving of the child's acts of independence, she may begin to feel ashamed of her behavior, or have too much doubt of her abilities.

Stage 3: Early Childhood -- Age 2 to 6
Crisis: Initiative vs. Guilt
Description: Children have newfound power at this stage as they have developed motor skills and become more and more engaged in social interaction with people around them. They now must learn to achieve a balance between eagerness for more adventure and more responsibility, and learning to control impulses and childish fantasies.
Positive outcome: If parents are encouraging, but consistent in discipline, children will learn to accept without guilt, that certain things are not allowed, but at the same time will not feel shame when using their imagination and engaging in make-believe role plays.
Negative outcome: If not, children may develop a sense of guilt and may come to believe that it is wrong to be independent.

Stage 4: Elementary and Middle School Years -- Age 6 to 12
Crisis: Competence (aka. "Industry") vs. Inferiority
Description: School is the important event at this stage. Children learn to make things, use tools, and acquire the skills to be a worker and a potential provider. And they do all these while making the transition from the world of home into the world of peers.
Positive outcome: If children can discover pleasure in intellectual stimulation, being productive, seeking success, they will develop a sense of competence.
Negative outcome: If not, they will develop a sense of inferiority.

Stage 5: Adolescence -- Age 12 to 18
Crisis: Identity vs. Role Confusion
Description: This is the time when we ask the question "Who am I?" To successfully answer this question, Erikson suggests, the adolescent must integrate the healthy resolution of all earlier conflicts. Did we develop the basic sense of trust? Do we have a strong sense of independence, competence, and feel in control of our lives? Adolescents who have successfully dealt with earlier conflicts are ready for the "Identity Crisis", which is considered by Erikson as the single most significant conflict a person must face.
Positive outcome: If the adolescent solves this conflict successfully, he will come out of this stage with a strong identity, and ready to plan for the future.
Negative outcome: If not, the adolescent will sink into confusion, unable to make decisions and choices, especially about vocation, sexual orientation, and his role in life in general.

Stage 6: Young Adulthood -- Age 19 to 40
Crisis: Intimacy vs. Isolation
Description: In this stage, the most important events are love relationships. No matter how successful you are with your work, said Erikson, you are not developmentally complete until you are capable of intimacy. An individual who has not developed a sense of identity usually will fear a committed relationship and may retreat into isolation.
Positive outcome: Adult individuals can form close relationships and share with others if they have achieved a sense of identity.
Negative outcome: If not, they will fear commitment, feel isolated and unable to depend on anybody in the world.

Stage 7: Middle Adulthood -- Age 40 to 65
Crisis: Generativity vs. Stagnation
Description: By "generativity" Erikson refers to the adult's ability to look outside oneself and care for others, through parenting, for instance. Erikson suggested that adults need children as much as children need adults, and that this stage reflects the need to create a living legacy.
Positive outcome: People can solve this crisis by having and nurturing children, or helping the next generation in other ways.
Negative outcome: If this crisis is not successfully resolved, the person will remain self-centered and experience stagnation later in life.

Stage 8: Late Adulthood -- Age 65 to death
Crisis: Integrity vs. Despair Important
Description: Old age is a time for reflecting upon one's own life and its role in the big scheme of things, and seeing it filled with pleasure and satisfaction or disappointments and failures.
Positive outcome: If the adult has achieved a sense of fulfillment about life and a sense of unity within himself and with others, he will accept death with a sense of integrity. Just as the healthy child will not fear life, said Erikson, the healthy adult will not fear death.
Negative outcome: If not, the individual will despair and fear death.

Copied from About.Com.

Another chapter summary from my social services text.

H. Wayne Johnson
Mental Health and Social Work
Chapter Nine
Verne R. Kelley

In Mental Health and Social Work, Verne R. Kelley gives a brief history of the treatment of mental disorders and current role of social health today. From the earliest of recorded history, through several major turning points in mental health treatment, he points out what worked and what didn't. Then he describes the challenges currently facing mental health social work today, as well as the trends in the field of mental health.

From the very start, Kelley tackles the very definitions of “mental disorder” (p. 157) and “mental health” (p. 158). He explains that because of the complexity of emotional disturbances, the term “mental disorder”is not defined. In fact, he notes that the DSM-IV says there is no definition that can adequately specify the boundaries of mental disorders (p. 157). Instead the DSM-IV deals with the classifications of disorders people can have. Rather than labeling a person a “schizophrenic”, it uses the more accurate term “person with Schizophrenia” (p. 171). For “mental health”, Kelley draws on Robert White's definition of an “organism's capacity to interact effectively with its environment“ and ”one's confidence of being able, when necessary, to have desired effects“ (p.158).

Summarizing the history of mental health, Kelley focuses on the ambivalence of Western society in its diametric approaches of compassion and intolerance (p. 159). The first hospital exclusively for the mentally ill was created in A.D. 490 (ibid.), based on the concept of compassion. It was not until the Middle Ages that mental illness was linked to witchcraft by two Dominican monks (ibid.). As mental health facilities where introduced in the New World, the concept of “moral treatment” was a strong one versus the old treatment of just locking these people away in places like “Bedam” in London and Bicôtre in Paris. With “moral treatment” recovery rates as high as 72 percent, it is no wonder it is still practiced today in concert with other treatments (ibid).

Yet, history has shown a cycle of humane versus inhuman treatments for the mentally ill. Some of that can be attributed to the success of the earlier hospitals, causing them to be over-utilized and leading to the “snake pit” conditions in the early twentieth century (p. 160 - 161). Funding, skilled staff and available facilities limit the amount of people that can be helped and in what capacity. Many institutions have found alternate ways over the years to overcome these obstacles (p. 162).

Other turning points in mental health history are the works of Sigmund Freud and the concept of community mental health care. Freud proved that there were systems and patterns to mental disorders and the National Mental Health Act of 1946 helped states to create a network of community services, as well as fund the research and education of mental health professionals (ibid). In addition to community mental health centers, this also led to the development and increase of: university training and research facilities; military social work; private practices; and alcoholism and drug abuse services (p. 164-165).

Somewhere along the line, the idea of preventing emotional disorders came into being. Prevention “assumes that the best way to ward off maladaptive problems is to equip people with the personal and environmental resources for successful coping“ (p. 166). An offshoot of this belief has lead to the development of many early childhood programs and is currently behind the idea of giving training and support to parents to be (p. 167). Still, some traumas cannot be foreseen. This fact has lead to the increase of emergency and short-term assistance programs like telephone and walk-in crisis centers (p. 167).

The roles of social work in mental health ranges from client advocacy between organizations and family to coordinating community services for the client. The demands of funding and need, as well as overseeing agencies and “care for profit” management present many challenges to today's clinical social worker and other mental health professionals and many are resorting to creative ways to meet these demands(p 173).

This insightful chapter gives a very good overview of successful mental health care. It is sad that many policymakers are unaware of the successful trends or choose to ignore them based on the mind set of intolerance towards those with these difficulties. Still, this challenges those working in this field to work harder to find better solutions.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005