Think big but do small.
In assessment and
contracting this is a good
principle to follow.
What does this statement
Assessment naturally flows into contracting.
There is a natural flow in the process that
moves into the contract phase.
Remember…the assessment and contract
phase never really cease until termination.
Both are ongoing.
Assessment: Identifying Issues
Listening for dominant issues/themes
Summarization & try to verify the theme which
allows the client to assume ownership
Tentative stem + review of summaries + distillation of a
dominant theme + check out the accuracy
Ex. We seem to be talking about your current
relationship from different angles:
You report being depressed around your boyfriend
You feel your friends‟ boyfriend treat them better,
and you think you can do better.
Seems like all of these things are pointing in the
direction of not wanting this relationship.
Is that correct?
Reflecting An Issue
Demonstration of your
understanding of the client view
of an identified topic of concern.
The identified topic may not
remain the focus of work but it
is a place to start.
“As I understand it, the issue that you would like to
address in our work _____________.”
Exercise: Reflect the Client‟s Issue
I am terribly concerned over my wife. She has this
feeling she has to get out of the house and see the
world and get a job. I am the breadwinner, and I
imagine I have good income. I don’t know what to
say to her. She is asking for my input and advice. I
am afraid to give it.
As you see it, there is(are)….major issues…you
would like to address in our work. Together…
Identifying An Issue
You might feel compelled to
identify an issue which the client
has not identified as a focus of
From the discussion I have been wondering
What do you think about_________? Is this an
issue we should consider.
Identifying an issue...
Remember…identifying an issue is the
instance where you have detected an issue for
work that the client has not directly indicated.
Clarifying Issues for Work
Extract these issues from those the client has identified,
those you have contributed, or some negotiated
combination of the two.
I think we agree about the main issues we need to work
together on. Let‟s review them as I write them down.
First, there is the issue of __________.
Second, there is ________________.
The last thing we identified was ____.
What do you think? Is this an accurate list of the issues
that we'll address together?"
NOTE: Always include the client's opinions on a course
Can be anything the client wants to work
on, either short or long term.
They might include something the client
wishes to attain in the future, but does not
wish to or cannot work on right now.
Write down what you think are
some of the most „typical client
goals‟ encountered in social
Typical, Loosely Defined Client Goals
Learn to relax
Change or control negative emotions in response to a
particular situation, event (loss of a job), or belief
Prepare for changes they are likely to have to deal with in
the future (children leaving home, parent moving)
Eliminate or reduce undesirable behaviors (smoking,
Cope with difficult situations (a difficult boss)
Learn new and desirable behaviors (assertiveness)
Become more motivated (doing homework between
therapy sessions) in dealing with their problems
Experiment with ways to manage stressful or anxiety-
producing situations (giving a presentation in public)
Cope with family members, issues and/or problems
Establishing Objective Goals
Use the SMART format for objectives:
Goal: Spending more time with kids…
S = Specific
“I‟d like to spend quality time with my kids more often”
M = Measurable
“I‟d like to spend at least a half an hour a day”
A = Attainable
“I can work up to spending a half an hour a day over the next
R = Realistic
“I will spend 30 minutes on Monday, Thursday and Friday
T = Has a Time Frame
“I will start by spending 30 minutes three days this week and
then work up to five days in two weeks”
Stated as accomplishments
Stated in clear and specific terms
Stated in measurable or verifiable terms
Realistic - have a reasonable chance of actually
Adequate. If achieved they will improve the situation.
Congruent with the client.
Time-specific. There is a realistic time frame or agenda.
Well-defined goals include goals that:
Are in the client‟s language,
Are worded in the positive,
Outline the process to achieve them,
Are in the here and now,
Are as specific as positive, and
Are in the client‟s control.
The table on the next slide summarizes these criteria
with sample goals that either meet or do not meet
Criteria Doesn’t Meet Criteria Meets Criteria
1. In client’s “Meet all the requirements of "Get done with my probation officer.”
Language probation by June 10, 2004”
2. Worded “Not use drugs or alcohol.” “Will continue doing activities that
Positively support a drug and alcohol free
3. In the here and “Will stay clean.” “Will”
4. Specificity “I will avoid or learn to cope “I will drive my own car to any
with high risk situations” gathering where I feel that alcohol
or drugs will be present, so I may
leave if I feel I may use.”
5. In the client’s “My probation officer will “I will have done everything I can to
control leave me alone.” get my p.o. to leave me alone.”
6. In process form “I‟ll just quit.” “I will be spending more time playing
guitar and finding a job.”
Making Goals Specific: Client Worksheet
Facilitating Goal Setting
Empower the client to see where
he/she wants to do to change.
Tentafier + feeling word +
perceived limitation + possible
Ex. It sounds like…you are feeling depressed …because
you can‟t leave the relationship… because and you are
afraid to be alone and you want to be able to . . .
Client belief in possibility of change is an important motivator.
You can help clients look at both the benefits and costs of
change. The table below provides an example.
Goal Setting Worksheets
The following tools may assist you in setting goals
with your clients
Developing an Action Plan
The action plan is
developed from the goals.
You will also need to
define your role, or roles,
that you will play in the
Identifying Action Steps
Often the goals are too large to accomplish in
a single action. In that case you identify with
the client small steps or task which progress
toward the goal.
Planning for Evaluation
Professional social workers are responsible
for evaluating their practice.
Regardless of the setting it is possible to
formulate some evaluation method that will
measure effectiveness of practice.
Planning for Evaluation
Goal - Attainment Scaling
Kiresuk & Sherman, 1968
This is a practical scale and one that you are
encouraged to adopt, in some form, in your
Goal Attainment Scale
Goal 1 Goal 2 Goal 3 Goal 4 Goal 5
1. Most unfavorable
2. Less than expected
3. Expected level
4. More than expected
5. Most favorable
Summarizing the Contract
Contract Section of the Description, Assessment, and Contract
1. Client-identified issues
2. Worker-identified issues
3. Issues for Work. These are issues that both parties agree
B. Goals. Related to the issues for work these are the final
outcomes that you will be striving for.
The DAC Model continued...
1. Action Plan. In this section summarize that actions that
you and the client have planned. Note who, what, when,
where, and how.
2. Client Task or Action Steps
3. Worker Task or Action Steps
4. In-Session Tasks or Action Steps
5. Maintenance Task or Action Steps. Outline tasks or
activities that will occur on a regular ongoing basis.
6. Evaluative Plan. Outline the means and process by which
progress will be evaluated.
“During the contracting phase of
social work practice, you, on
the basis of the assessment and
in conjunction with the client,
attempt to define clearly the
issues and goals for work and
to develop plans likely to
resolve the identified issues and
achieve the final goals.”
This chapter covered the following main skills for
Reflecting an issue Developing an action
Identifying an issue plan
Clarifying issues for Identifying action steps
work Planning for evaluation
Establishing goals Summarizing the