Assessment, Evidence-Guided Practice, and Practice Evaluation 67 strengths (strong relationships), needs (weak or nonexistent relationships) and sources of stress (stressful relationships). Using the following key, ask students to indicate the quality of the client’s transactions with the environment : ___________ Strong relationship - - - - - - - - - Weak/nonexistent relationship _.._.._.._.._.. Stressful relationship As we did with the Rivera case, ask for cases that are very different in terms of clients’ strengths, needs, and stressors so that students can clearly see the importance of this type of assessment. 2. Beginning with a lecture format, introduce students to solution-focused questions and their implications for identifying client strengths.1 Students—and many social work educators and practitioners—are unfamiliar with or misun- derstand this perspective. Life-modeled assessment includes solution-focused questions but is not a solution-focused approach to helping. It is likely that instructors will have to help students develop questions that ask about exceptions. Start by presenting students with a hypothetical sce- nario, such as the following: Samantha Jones is required to see the social worker as a condition of main- taining custody of her children. An investigation by Child Protective Services (CPS) found that she had abused her children on several occasions. She was to work with the social worker on anger management, as well as learning new ways of disciplining her children. Ask students what they would want to ask Ms. Jones and find out about her situation. Typically, students will respond with some variation of wanting to know what makes her angry, when does she get angry, and why. Then ask students to consider the following: Ms. Jones may get angry and strike her children, but there are times when she gets angry and doesn’t do that (or else they probably would be dead or in the hospital). Somehow she maintains her composure and doesn’t abuse her children. Or, perhaps Ms. Jones doesn’t beat them as hard, or for as long. How does she do that? We find that students often experience this realization almost as an “Aha” moment. Like their clients, they are primed to focus on problems, not on cli- ents’ attempts at resolving them. We reiterate a point made in the textbook: it is likely that Ms. Jones will have a difficult time identifying exceptions and what
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