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									                       SADIA KHAN DURRANI
                        ASSIGNMENT NO 1
                            SOWK 625

The constant and continuing theme of social work is the relation of persons and their

environment. Families are the crucial and continuing participants in the social situation. In every

society, the family becomes the basic system of personal development and identity, of mutual

support and distribution. The family is the basic system of social welfare (Constable & Lee,



The family that I was working as a Social worker was family of 6 people. It consisted of father,

mother, 1 son and 3 daughters. It was a Greek family. The presenting problem was addiction to

crack which the son had. There were many ups and down in this family. Everyone had something

to offer and everyone had a lot to say. Overall these four sessions were full of learning.


I am going to look at two social work theories for my family assessment. The first is System

theory and the second one is family communication theory.

System Theory

According to Hall system theory is a way of looking at individuals, families, groups,

organizations and communities with a view to better understanding how each of these units

function and survives. System theory sees the family both as a whole and as series of component

part that is parents and children. So with Bob’s family, it was not just the individual that I looked

at but the whole family and how the whole family is affecting each other in both good and bad

    Constable, Robert T & Daniel B. Lee. 2004. Social work with families : content and process.

                                 SADIA KHAN DURRANI
                                    ASSIGNMENT NO 1
                                         SOWK 625
ways and how different members as individuals and as a whole family was functioning.

According to Hall, problematic behaviour of any single family member is a reflection of a

system that is family disturbance rather than simply a deficit in the individual member. In Bob’s

family he was the one with problematic behaviour therefore the social worker looked at why Bob

was acting out and causing problem for different members of his family. After some probing the

social worker found out that the reason Bob was addicted and stole money was because his father

went out of town to find a job when Bob was young. He did not have a father figure most of the

time. His mum started working to meet the ends as his dad couldn’t send money for sometimes

as he did not have a steady job. Here I would have explored why Shawn had to go and find a job

outside the town. Bob was an older brother to his three little sisters; he was left to look after them

when he was just 13. Here I would have explored how Bob felt looking after his sister, maybe

there were some good memories. I would also explore what the sisters thought about Bob taking

care of them. The social worker found out that when his father Shawn would be at home, he

would fight with his wife. Bob could not take all the fights in the house so he would go out. Bob

got tired of all the responsibilities at the young age and started staying out of the house. He

turned to addiction and started stealing money.

Intergeneration System

According to Bowen, families are guided in its activities by an emotional system that may have

developed over many years. He stressed the importance of understanding and exploring the

intergenerational contribution made to the development of this family emotional system. With

Bob’s family, Bob’s father Shawn did what his father had done before. He looked up to his

father and followed the same path. According to Shawn, he wanted Bob to follow the same path.

Shawn was emotionally attached to that system. To him this was the right path. According to

                                   SADIA KHAN DURRANI
                                     ASSIGNMENT NO 1
                                           SOWK 625
Hartman and Laird, the discussion of an intergenerational perspective begins with the

assumption that all of us are deeply wrapped up in our family systems. Who we are, how we

think and communicate, what we choose to do and to be, whom we choose to be is in some part a

function of that complex system that has developed over the generation. The livings are

intricately bound to those who have come before, both to their wider, historic-cultural forebears

and their own ancestors. This would explain Shawn attitude towards his family. When Shawn

was introducing himself, he had no idea about the way his family is. To him his duty was to

make money for his family, he was shocked to hear that something was wrong with his family. If

you ask him, did he think that he was a nice father? He would have replied yes he was because

he makes money. In his mind that was how a father should be. This was how his father was.

Bowen proposed the concept of the ‘family projection process’ to explain the transmission of

fusion from parents to children. This projection process is one in which parental emotionality

helps to shape and define what the child becomes. Bowen suggests that a number of outcomes

may occur as the degree of family fusion increases or decreases. Also the fusion is not

distributed equally among all of the branches of the family tree. It tends to be distributed

unequally among the children as was the case with Bob’s family. Bob was the problematic child,

Uzma was the over achiever, in other words the sane member of the family while both the twins

that are Lidia and Adriana were ADHD.

In Bowen’s view a number of serious dysfunctions, such as severe alcoholism, chronic obesity

and schizophrenia, severe generation back in the family. In Bob’s family we did not go in-depth

about the past generation but we found out that Bob father drinks. If we had gone further maybe

we would have found something else like Shawn father was an alcoholic too. Our task in

                                   SADIA KHAN DURRANI
                                      ASSIGNMENT NO 1
                                          SOWK 625
assessment is to come to understand the family of origin and its impact on the present, and our

goal is to help a person become more differentiated from its powerful forces.

According to Hull as systems, families are affected by events outside their control. These events

can seriously undermine the economic, social, and psychological resources of the family as a unit

and of individual family members. The tendency of all systems to right themselves following

stressful and traumatic events is an attempt to get back to some semblance of normality.

Homeostasis is the tendency of any system to try to maintain itself in a state of balance. In case

of Shawn’s family after Shawn left to look for job outside the town, things started happening.

There was shortage of money, so Meherun started a job in casino. Bob started looking after his

three little sisters. At young age he had big responsibility. He used to Prepare lunch for his

sisters, took them to school and so on. Things got worse when Bob got tired of his responsibility

and started taking drugs. This was a big event for the family. This affected not just Bob but the

rest of the member of the family too. They were affected economically, socially and

psychologically. The family wants to go back to when the father was working here and

everything was fine. From these sessions they wanted to improve. They were willing to get some

balance in their lives. The events that affected them were not in their control but they wanted to

pass those events.


According to Hartman and Laird, in large families, sibling subsystems themselves may be further

divided into new subsystems, often according to the distinction of sex or age. In Bob’s family

there were lots of subsystems. Mum and dad were one subsystem. Children were another. Bob

and Mum were another subsystem. In the siblings subsystem there were also other subsystems.

                                 SADIA KHAN DURRANI
                                  ASSIGNMENT NO 1
                                       SOWK 625
The twins were one subsystem, Uzama and the twin as all were sister were subsystem, Bob and

Adriana as they both used to smoke pot were another subsystem. Also all the kids and Mum was

a subsystem as they used to be together when Shawn was away. Families often operate as an

open system with subsystems that perform certain functions. Each individual serves as a

subsystem. There are other subsystems that are based on factors as gender, mutual interest,

parent-child and generation. In Bob’s family almost the entire family member blamed father for

disruption of the family. The family members think that Shawn comes home to rest. In fact

everyone was pointing fingers at each other in the first two sessions. First they were blaming

Bob, then they were blaming Mom for siding with Bob and giving the twins tuition money to

bob, then they were blaming Dad, saying he is unaware of the household situation, the father was

blaming his wife for not telling him anything, Mom said that father gets crazy if she say that

something is wrong.


This family was a Greek family. I wanted to know why the children are still living in their

parents’ house when they are above 18 years. It was interesting to know that Greek family all the

people live together till they get married. Knowing about culture is an important thing. We can’t

assume things. According to Shulman, whereas there are core similarities in all families, there

are also important differences that relate to culture and community settings. This means that

families can have similarities with each other but there is difference between cultures. In western

culture the kids when reach 18 years leave their parents’ house and start living independently. In

my culture the system is more like give and take. Girls live with their parents till they get

married, whereas boys after marriage bring their wives to their parents’ house. According to

Shulman in working with the family, it is important to understand the particular structures and

                                   SADIA KHAN DURRANI
                                     ASSIGNMENT NO 1
                                          SOWK 625
norms that may be associated with ethnicity, geography, race, status and so forth. Shulman also

mention that the worker has to be aware an open to the culture of other people. In Bob’s family

they had their Greek culture where they live together in the same house until they marry and

that’s why the family thought that it felt that dad is not a part of the family as he does not know

how many kid he has (issue arose in the second session).


According to Hull Communication theory serves as one of the prominent theories for

understanding families and practice family therapy. In communication theory the major concept

is that of ‘here and now’. Communication theory suggests that individuals in family respond to

one another based on their verbal and nonverbal interactions. According to Hartman and Laird

our gestures, our facial expression and even our lack of it communicate silently but eloquently.

In case of Bob’s family there was lack of communication between the family members.

According to Lidia, she stays in her room most of the time. She feels lonely. Father said that he

calls wife on phone and the wife says everything is okay. Mother is not communicating properly

with father and father is not communicating with kids. Bob is most of the time away. Even when

he is at home they don’t communicate. Mother trust Bob and without communicating much gave

him the tuition money. Lack of communication was the biggest part in this family. When

someone doesn’t want to say something other people leaves the person alone. According to the

kids the lack of communication started when their father left for the job. Before that the family

used to eat dinner together, talk, watch movies, in short there was communication between

members of the family. After father move to the next town due to his job everything started

going down. Mother found a job, Bob became addicted to drugs, and would most of the time be

out. When father came home he would be tired and communicate with his wife in a high pitch. It

                                   SADIA KHAN DURRANI
                                    ASSIGNMENT NO 1
                                          SOWK 625
was a mess. The social worker looked at how to make communication better between the family

members. The idea about the home work was very good. The family came together, ate dinner.

Bob and Shawn talked. The girls made dinner. Family started communicating with each other


If I Was the Only Social Worker

If I was the only social worker and this family had come to me I would start the session by

welcoming them and telling them the reason why they are here. In this family case Uzama

phoned the agency to get help for her family. I will explain who I am and what I am doing. I will

also tell them about how we will conduct the sessions and how many sessions they have. I will

take inform consent from them and ask if they have any questions. Then I would ask from each

individually how they felt to be here and what were they expecting from these sessions. Also I

would like to know what they think about the presenting problem. This family was from Greek

that’s why children were still living in their parents’ house. The family felt that Bob is causing

trouble for them. I will look at not just the family but also the individual member of the family. I

would have explored the background some more. I would have not made the family members

feel as if they did or are doing something wrong by coming here. I would have gone in-depth and

asked Shawn about how things were when he was young. I would have liked to know about

Shawn and Meherun’s background. I would have explored each individual and how they felt as

part of this family in the first session. I would have done the same thing in the last session just to

know has there been any improvement the way they think or not. I would have not blame and

said that I am shock when Bob told the family secret about Adriana smoking pot. I would have

set goals and assess the family through the fulfillment of those goals. I would have asked the

family for suggestion as they know each other more than me.

                                     SADIA KHAN DURRANI
                                      ASSIGNMENT NO 1
                                          SOWK 625
Me as a social worker:

Attending Behaviour

I think my attending behaviour has improved very much. I had good eye contact throughout the

session. I gave whole attention to who was speaking. It made the client listened to. I was

focusing on the client without being inappropriate. I smiled appropriately. I showed concern for

the clients. I noticed that sometimes I would look at the person talking and when he break eye

contact to look at someone else I would also look at the other person. I was attentive to the

clients need.


I asked few good questions like ‘When you say Shawn gets crazy, Can you explain the word

crazy?’ I asked this question from the mother when she kept saying the word crazy in regards to

her husband. I thought the question, how long has it been that you have stop telling Shawn about

what’s going on was pretty good to. I wanted to concentrate on Shawn and Meherun relationship,

which will tell me why Meherun is hiding it from Shawn about what’s going on. Its true and I

will admit that in first session, as it was my first time I asked questions that were more of

confrontation and I was not too happy with them like I asked Meherun why she gave money to

Bob. I felt like a police investigator and it did not feel good. I was nervous in the beginning and

when my turn came my mind just went blank. I did not know what to say and how to say it.

Maybe or rather for sure this is one of my weaknesses.


                                      SADIA KHAN DURRANI
                                        ASSIGNMENT NO 1
                                             SOWK 625
I tried to have and attitude that won’t scare the client away and clients will feel comfortable and

open up to me which I thought they did. I did not want them to feel on their grounds as I felt

when I was the client. I think except for the first session my attitude overall was good.

Non Verbal Behaviour

I nodded and with my nodes and facial expression I encouraged the client to go on. I have been

told before that my non verbal behaviour is better than my verbal behaviour. It was a good

comment. It made me happy till she reached “than my verbal behaviour”. This is one of my

strength and weakness too. It is Strength because I can encourage people to go on and weakness

because my face is expressive. Sometimes when I am nervous it is shown on my face.

Verbal Behaviour

My verbal behaviour in these sessions was good. I used ahah (sorry about the spelling), hmm,

okay. I still need to improve in this but I guess compared to the 1st session rest of the sessions

were fine.


I have been told in previous class that my listening skill is good. I not only listen but show that I

am listening by my face expression. Listening does not just mean to sit and listen to what the

client is saying. It means to give attention and fully understand the client.


Sometimes I am good at paraphrasing and sometimes I don’t know how to do it. In these sessions

I did not use that much paraphrase. But when I did it was a vital point like ‘I heard you using the

                                  SADIA KHAN DURRANI
                                    ASSIGNMENT NO 1
                                          SOWK 625
word crazy when you said you did not tell Shawn what’s going on because he would tell crazy if

he finds out.’ Something like this, I forgot what my real wordings were. Still I think I have a long

way to go.


The feedbacks that I received from my group members were positive.

Attitude and manner

Almost all of them said that my attitude was pleasant and it made me approachable as a social

worker. As a social worker I tried to be pleasant but did not know if I was or not, I did not want

to sound arrogant or that I am better than you, so I was happy to know that my group member

thought I had pleasant attitude. As a social worker I wanted to have good manners and didn’t

wanted to make the clients nervous or attacked. According to my group members, I was humble

and down to earth. I am glad that to them I was humble.


According to my group members there were some important question that I asked. According to

one I asked some intelligent questions like what do you mean by the word crazy. They thought

this question was a very good question for clarifying the situation.

Eye contact

As a social worker, I was given compliment by my group members for having good eye contact.

Almost all of them said that throughout the interview I had a very good eye contact which was

                                     SADIA KHAN DURRANI
                                       ASSIGNMENT NO 1
                                           SOWK 625
appropriate to. I asked one of the group member to define appropriate eye contact, she said that I

did not stare and that my eyes showed my concern which to her was comforting.


According to my group members I had a very good listening skill. I would catch what some had

missed. One of the member in my group said “you listened to the clients stories and you

validated them with appropriate non-verbal body language.”

Overall I group members said that I had a therapeutic presence. I used open ended and closed

ended question. I was attentive and sensitive to the family problem. I showed empathy for the

family. My body language and body movement was attractive. I was aware of ethical issues. I

was very positive and had a pleasant attitude.

These are the feedbacks that I received from my group members. As it can be seen all are

positive. I wanted to have some negative feedback too so I asked some of the group member as I

wanted to improve. They said my weakness is that I tend to shy out. I should be more confident

in myself. They said that sometimes I ask question and then I try to give explanation which is

confusing. I agree with that.

Overall it was a new learning experience for me. I am not 100% confident facing a family but I

think in a family everyone brings different things to the table. So working with a family would

be interesting.


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