The Life Model of Social Work Practice 43 3.1 Worker-client-environment paradigm Client Environment Worker environment. They can introduce students to the idea that worker-client trans- actions are designed to enhance clients’ ability to negotiate their environments and obtain needed resources. Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 13 focus directly on the professional methods and skills needed to do this. Instructors also can point out that chapters 10 and 11 identify worker efforts to address and improve maladaptive dynamics between clients in families and groups, and chapter 12 examines methods and skills needed to address maladaptive interactions between worker and client. Chapters 14 through 16 identify the professional methods and skills associated with enhancing environmental responsiveness to client needs (represented on the diagram by the bidirectional line between worker and environment). The instructor can move away from a purely conceptual discussion of the life model into its practical application by asking students to apply the model to their role and responsibilities in the field practicum. Building upon material presented in chapters 1 and 2 and in this chapter, they also can be asked to identify the factors that influence—in both positive and negative ways—their practice of social work. This discussion can be developed diagrammatically as shown in figure 3.2. We depicted the direction of influence as one-directional. But students can be helped to identify situations in which workers may be able to influence a factor. For example, as we discuss in chapter 15, workers have an obligation to improve their organization’s responsiveness to the needs of its clients.
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