Monday, August 3, 2015

Effect of substance abuse & dependence on individual and family functioning

⋄ Chronic substance abusers tend to be isolated from their families after a long period of damaging relationships.
⋄ Substance abuse affects more than the immediate family.
⋄ Extended family members often report feeling abandoned, embarrassed by, ashamed of, and withdrawn from the substance abusing family member, often choosing to break relational ties.
⋄ Different family structures in which abuse affects the family relationship:
⋄ Client who lives alone or with a partner.
⋄ Both partners need treatment.
⋄ Groups are offered both for addicts and for non-addict partners of addicts.
⋄ The treatment of either partner will affect both.
⋄ Often, codependence is an issue.
⋄ Enabling may have to be explored
        o Client who lives with a spouse (or partner) and minor children.
⋄ Parental substance abuse has a detrimental affect on children.
⋄ There may be triangulation or enmeshment issues if children are either placed in the middle or if non-using parent is overly protective and bonded with children due to the substance abuser’s lack of responsibility.
⋄ Issues of neglect or trauma may be present if both parents are abusing drugs.
        o Client who is part of a blended family.
⋄ Substance abuse can intensify already shaky ground of newly blended families and become an impediment to integration and stability.
        o An older client who has grown children.
⋄ As with child abuse and neglect, elder maltreatment can be subject to statutory reporting requirements for local authorities.
        o Client is an adolescent and lives with family of origin.
⋄ Non-using children may find themselves neglected or ignored emotionally due to the focus of parents on the using child.
⋄ Often, at least one of the parents uses as well..
        o Someone not identified as the client is abusing substances.
⋄ Issues of blame, responsibility, and causation will arise.
⋄ Scapegoating may be an issue.
⋄ Therapist must work towards uncovering the underlying motivations for substance abuse and other behavioral issues that bring the family into counseling. offers online prep for NASW. Unlimited access to practice exams, case studies, simulations, video, audio, and flash cards 24/7.

Monday, July 27, 2015



Consultation and supervision are often used as interchangeable words. However, they are very different processes for key reasons. Consultation is the model or process by which one practitioner seeks out the advice or recommendations of another. While supervision may appear on the surface to be the same, the key difference is that in consultation there is no official sanction to the relationship. In the process of consultation, there is no requirement for the seeker of the information to follow the recommendations or responses given. Additionally, unless otherwise specified, there is no administrative responsibility or accountability compelling the person in receipt of the consultative services to follow the counsel or recommendations set forth by the consultant.

Conversely in the relationship, if problems arise, the recipient of the counsel or recommendation in a consultant-social worker relationship does not follow through on information provided or recommendations made, the consultant has no power in the relationship. A consultant does not have the responsibility, accountability or authority to compel the social worker to change course or to implement a course correction or sanction against the social worker. As a supervisor, whether of a student or employee, that individual would have the responsibility and accountability to do so if the supervisee does not follow the recommendations as set forth.

Consultants are often retained by experienced social workers for their specific expertise in a particular area and develop and ongoing relationship to for case review and consultation. Experienced social workers are expected to know when such services are needed or required on a self-determined or as-needed basis. Federal or state requirements may mandate consultative or supervisory intervention in the social worker's state of practice.

Experienced social workers are also encouraged by the NASW Code of Ethics to mentor and share their expertise to other social workers. Experienced social workers are encouraged to pass on their knowledge and skills to organizations, groups or individual social workers through mentoring and training opportunities. This assists in maintaining the integrity of the profession, while also enriching the fabric of providers.
Connie was hired by The Children's Center to consult with the counseling department. She is an expert in cognitive-behavioral techniques with children, and has pioneered a new protocol for dealing with behavioral problems in the school setting. The counseling staff has experience in a variety of techniques, and appreciates the opportunity to learn different ways to deal with challenging and complex cases. Jennifer presented a case: Sara, age 7, who has difficulty with her schoolwork, following directions at school and at home, violent outbursts with family members, physical altercations with peers and authority figures at school, and great difficulty drawing her out in session. Jennifer is trained in play therapy. Connie made recommendations specific to her new, proven protocol. Jennifer attempted to follow the recommendations, but had little success in the following four sessions. Jennifer returned to her treatment format in which she was comfortable, knowledgeable and accomplished in her interventions, but made some alterations based on the group's consultative feedback.

In this example:
Jennifer sought the consultation of Connie in the departmental group. She did not have success and returned to what was familiar and consistent with her training, but with some of the new ideas integrated into her style. Jennifer is an experienced social worker and is not bound by a consultant to alter her treatment methods. However, she can enrich her practice by learning new techniques and her clients will likely benefit from her expanded knowledge base. offers online prep for NASW. Unlimited access to practice exams, case studies, simulations, video, audio, and flash cards 24/7.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Staff Development

Staff Development

Staff Development within an organization is key to promoting professionalism and keeping current on professional development. It is also another means to provide incentives that are low cost or cost neutral to the organization, aside from time away from work activities, but are meaningful to the social worker, limiting out-of-pocket expenses for maintaining their professional license. Additionally, it is a tool for morale building and to address specific issues as they arise within the organizational culture, both those that directly and indirectly impact client care.

During times of change or noted trends in a community, such as closing of a key industry or factory, development of a major health issue, or an upsurge in violence, staff development could offer the perfect opportunity for a supervisor to develop or bring in an expert on the subject area to provide training and development in the topic area, offering insight on the impact of the issue and specific knowledge, skills and strategies for addressing issues that directly impact the organization and its clients. It may also be a part of long-range planning for bigger issues, such as disaster planning.

Staff development assists the organization in forward planning on multiple levels when change occurs or negative events happen. Attending to professional development of social workers can reduce stress by augmenting skills and resources, as well as creating a greater sense of community and support. When negative environmental impact can be anticipated, professional development can assist in bolstering targeted interventions provide the opportunity to network with others for appropriate referrals and resource building.

A large aerospace engineering company anticipated layoffs in the coming weeks. The sheer numbers anticipated would impact the communityƕs economy on all levels, with layoffs occurring throughout the company, from plant workers to senior executives. The impact would be felt by not only the company, but also supporting industry businesses (i.e. suppliers) and community businesses (e.g. restaurants, grocery stores, retail chains, movie theaters). The Office of Unemployment anticipated an influx of people filing claims, and the local director was concerned about the impact on his caseworkers and front-line staff when the news broke and people began arriving. He met with his management and human resource staff and organized professional development to provide training and development for the staff to deal with what he knew would be a stressful period. Additionally, he networked with the local welfare office and community organizations that provide job-related services to assure his office has the most current information to provide. In the process, he learned about additional resources and was able to streamline referrals for clients in need of retraining and received information for veterans. When the training was offered, he had a plan in place for addressing the influx of new claims, offering support for increased employee stress levels and community professionals who were willing to provide monthly in-services to staff on issues such as stress management, addressing workplace conflicts, anxiety, anger management and related topics.

In the example:
The director took proactive steps to build the staff up and prepare them for a situation that would likely take a toll on them. Even if the incident were avoided, the staff would benefit and the community links made would benefit the overall system. The demonstration of professionalism is entirely consistent with the NASW Code of Ethics, with functional demonstration of role modeling, staff support, collaboration and leadership. offers online prep for NASW. Unlimited access to practice exams, case studies, simulations, video, audio, and flash cards 24/7.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Adlerian Therapy

Adlerian Therapy

Adlerian Concepts

Basic Mistake- faulty, self defeating perceptions attitudes and beliefs, personal myths

Fictional Finalism- imagined central goal that gives direction to behavior and unity

Holism- study of humans as integrated beings

Insight- special form of self awareness

Style of Life- individual’s ways of thinking feeling and acting


  • Inferiority complex- normal feelings of incompetence exaggerated, feeling its impossible and hopeless to reach goals
  • Superiority complex- very high opinion of self, bragging, quick to argues often

Organ Inferiority- everyone is born with some physical weakness, this motivates life choices

Aggression Drive- reaction to perceived helplessness or inferiority, lashing out against the inability to achieve or master

Masculine Protest- kids work to become independent from adults and people in power.

Perfection striving- people who are not neurotically bound to an inferiority complex spend their lives trying to meet fictional goals

  • Elimination of perceived flaws
  • “As if” philosophy
  • Gives motivation and focus

■ Social responsibility and understanding of social issues
o Occupation tasks

  • career
  • self worth

o Societal tasks

  • Creating friendships
  • Social networks

o Love tasks

  • Life partner

■ Positive and Goal Oriented Humanity
o People striving to overcome weakness to function productively
o Urge to contribute to society offers online prep for NASW. Unlimited access to practice exams, case studies, simulations, video, audio, and flash cards 24/7.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Adlerian Therapy

Adlerian Therapy

Adlerian Therapy Process

■ The role of the client
 o Explore private logic- concepts about self, others and life
o Discover purposes of behavior or symptoms of basic mistakes associated with their coping.
o Learn how to correct faulty assumptions and conclusions

■ The Client Therapist Relationship
 o Based on mutual trust, respect, confidence and alignment of goals.
o Collaborative relationship
o Develop a therapeutic contract (goals for therapy)
o Emphasis of responsibility on client for his or her own behaviors


■ Establish a therapeutic relationship
 o Therapists gets to know the client as a person
o Collaborate on goals for therapy
o Supportive therapist creates caring human connection
o Therapist work to make client feel deeply understood and accepted.
o Client focuses on what needs to change in therapy.

■ Explore the psychological dynamic operating in the client
 o Consists of a subjective interview
o Clients tells own story as expert on own life
o Therapists listens for cues to client’s coping and approach to life
o Objective interview ■ Family constellation
■ Early recollections
■ Personal priorities
■ Integration and summary

■ Encourage development of self understanding (insight into purpose)
 o Understanding motivates that operate in client’s life
o Client disclosure and therapist interpretation (open ended manner)
o Make unconscious into conscious
o Confront resistance to help client and therapist align
o Explore purposes of symptoms, feelings, behaviors and human difficulties or block

■ Help client make new choices (reorientation and reeducation)
 o Encouragement process
o Change and search for new possibilities
o Make a difference through change in behavior, attitude and perceptions.