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SOAD9060 Social Work Theories


The Cruise Family Case Study Two

Danni Xue

Student Number: 2193944


1. Introduction
In recent years, the constant acceleration of the pace of life has brought much more problems to the
society. More and more families are facing a increasing number of new challenges, such as low
income, less social security, and even the relationship between family members will be affected.
Due to these factors, more and more people are feeling anxious and nervous about their living
conditions. The number of people who are suffering mental health issues continues to increase,
especially the anxiety.

This report is intended to analyze the current status of the Cruise family and their current issues. At
present, they are facing various of challenges and require some helps from relevant organizations
as soon as possible. In order to provide better service to them solve their difficulties, provide
accurate services they need, and improve their lives environment, it is necessary to have a
comprehensive understand about their current situation. Therefore, some helpful theories will be
applied in this report.

To help Andrew overcome his problems, the Empowerment will be introduced. As one of the most
basic theory are used by social workers, it is beneficial to help clients re-build their self-identity and
help them change into a much more positive attitude.

Another useful theory will be mentioned is the strengths theory, which aims to pay more attention to
highlight the strengths of clients instead of focusing on their current difficulties or limitations. It is
able to bring a mess number of benefits to help Jill’s situation.

At the same time, after analyzing the Cruise family and applying five different theories, a number
of new thoughts are inspired by those theories and a reflective review will be included as well.

2. Current Situation of Cruise Family


At present, the Cruise family are in a very difficult period and having to face various of problems.
The first is their economic issues - currently Jill is supported by a disability pension because of the
anxiety and panic attacks. At the same time, Bob is unemployed and looks for some “cash in hand"
jobs, which means that they do not have a stable income to support their live.
Meanwhile, their children are facing some troubles as well. Anthony, their oldest son, became
increasingly rebellious. He has taken part in the destructive behaviors and had to do some
community services. However, on the other hand he refused to participate in those service, on the
other hand, he did not go to schools and regular absenteeism.

Moreover, Gill and Bob are also worried about their younger son, Andrew, because he admired his
older brother Anthony and tried to follow his steps to do the same thing. In fact, he spent most of
his time with Anthony, as a result, he didn't often go to class as well. Otherwise, both Anthony and
Andrew had a rebellious thoughts about their parents and often quarreled with them.

In addition, the situation of their youngest daughter Lisa also needs attention. She habitually cries
and screams thus Jill and Bob have to always pay more attentions to her. At the same time, there are
also some problems among the relationship between Jill and Bon. Actually they have total different
opinions on the influences form Uncle John and they often argue about it frequently.

3. Empowerment Theory
Recent years, the inequality in society, the deprivation of human rights, and the differences among
different social status become one of the most important social problems. Payne (2005) pointed out
that the empowerment aimed to help the clients to get the necessary power and control of action and
decisions over their own lives through reducing the impacts of social or individual limitations to
increase their self-confidence and get more opportunities for future development .

According to Radivic (2008), empowerment can also be seen as ‘an intentional process that
includes the initiative and action of persons in gaining power, taking over control in their lives and
gaining a greater access to social resources with the aim of achieving personal and collective goals’.

Thus, it can be said that the empowerment is about both clients and their social workers are
connected together to reduce the influences from their current problems and help them to improve
their self esteem and build up their ability to act on their own (Staples, 1993).
Based on the current situation of the Cruise family, they can get a mess number of benefits with the
help of this theory, especially their younger son, Andrew. Generally, one of the most major
principles of empowerment is the relevant social worker should provide opportunities to the clients
to assist them to take power permanently by helping them to have enough control over their lives
(Payne, 2005).

At the meantime, Teater (2010) suggested another critical principle that the empowerment should
involve individuals or groups having control on their lives and influencing their surroundings in
order to obtain the necessary resources.

At present, Andrew is facing a complex situation and having various of problems should be solved.
One of the most negative and emergency one is the influences from his brother, Anthony. Erikson
(1958) argued that there are eight different stages of psychosocial growth and children between 12
to 18 years old are during their adolescence period and staying at their stage 5, which is the Identity
vs. Confusion.

This stage plays an extreme important role on children development because on the one hand,
children will build their personality and self-identity during this time. On the other hand, the
experiences during this stage will keep having effects on them, especially on their future behaviors
and attitude (Cherry, 2018).

During this time, children are much easier influenced by other people, especially by people
surrounding them, such as the siblings, friends, classmates, etc…Most children during this period
will tend to copy other people’s behaviors to show that they are gregarious enough (Newman,
2010).

A research (Steinberg & Monahan, 2007) pointed out that the influences from peers is one of the
primary contextual factors which has a huge effect on teenagers, especially on their decision
making process. A number of teenagers may make a risky decision because they are egged by their
peers. For example, a recent statistics which is about criminal behaviors indicates that adolescents
typically commit delinquent acts in peer groups, in contrast, most adults more frequently offend
alone (Zimring, 1998).
Currently, it can be said that Andrew is confused about himself. Currently he is highly influenced by
his brother, and has already involved in some inappropriate behaviors. For example, same as his
brother, Andrew is not willing to attend school and always annoyed with his parents.

Generally children during this time are likely to become a poor decision maker, especially when
they feel pressured, stressed, or try to seek more attention or recognition from their peers (Heaton,
2018). Moreover, the influences from peer play an extreme important role. According to a recent
research, the stress and pressure from peers activate certain brain signals that are linked to the
powerful drug-like interplay of risk and reward (Firger, 2014). Thus, it is necessary and important to
make sure children can receive the suitable and helpful guidances from their parents, caregivers, or
relevant helpers.

First of all, it is critical to help Andrew to realize the strengths and advantages he has and build
enough self confidence and self esteem. On the one hand, it is beneficial for him to have a better
self identity and help him to improve his abilities on controlling and managing his own life.

A good method which is contributive for Andrew is trying to help him to find out some new
positive interests, such as sports, arts, reading, etc… According to Pate, Trost, Levin and Dowda
(2010), sports can bring a number of benefits to teenagers to help them development a positive self
confidence and self esteem, it is also helpful improve their ability to maintain a good relationship
with other people. A recent survey argued that children who joined in sport demonstrated more
psychosocial benefits compared with those who were engaged in activities which were not related
to sport (Taliaferro & Rienzo & Miller, 2008).

Another useful way to help Andrew is introducing some interest groups or communities to him and
encouraging him to participant in the relevant activities to meet some new friends. Generally
teenagers always tend to follow the crowd’s behaviors. A positive peer influence can not only help
children reflect on their actions but also push them to become a better individual (Secure Teen,
2013).
4. Strengths Theory
According to Healy (2015), the strengths theory focuses on clients’ capacities and potentialities. It
aims to help clients to work towards their hopes for future lives rather than try to solve the past or
current issues. Meanwhile, Smith (2014) suggests that the theory theory pays more attention on the
internal strengths and abilities instead of focusing on the drawbacks and limitations.

Nevertheless, having more focuses on strengths does not mean that the problems of clients are
ignored (Saleebey, 1992), they are just not the major focuses during the intervention (Miley,
O’Melia & DuBois, 2001).

Thus, it can be said that strengths theory is about providing help and services to client in a way that
pay more attention to their strengths, capacities and potential, rather than spend most time on their
challenges, problems and deficits.

Basically there are a mess number of principle should be payed attention. One of the most important
principles is the importances of language. Actually the language used and questions asked have a
huge influence on the outcome. Usually the clients are aware of their current situation, especially
their problems and challenges. However, sometimes they may ignore their strengths and other
positive attributes. As a result, it is critical to pay enough attention to the language during the
relevant intervention.

Another essential principle is it is beneficial to maintain a focus on not only the goals but also the
hopes. Rapp, Sleebey and Sullivan (2008) pointed out that the strengths theory is goal oriented and
the most important part is having a clear understanding about what are the clients’ goals and how to
help them to achieve their goals.

The strengths theory can bring various of benefits to Jill. At present, Jill are staying in a hard time.
First of all, the anxiety and panic attacks still have a huge affect on her mental situation and make
her do not have enough ability to keep a normal lifestyle - currently she is unemployed and relied
on a disability pension to support her basic live.
At the same time, the relationships between her and her family is not good enough as well. On the
not hand, her two sons shows a resistance attitude toward her. They have even been verbally
abusive to her and refuse to communicate with her. On the other hand, the situation of her daughter,
Lisa, is also concerned by her because Lisa requires too much attentions and she is not able to focus
on her all the time.

Based on the survey from the Department of Health (2009), currently the anxiety disorders is the
most common mental problems in Australia, about 15 percent people have experienced anxiety
disorders in the past one year. Basically, it is not easy to take care of people who are experiencing
anxiety. One of the most important should be concerned is making sure that they can feel they are
listened without any judgement (Kate, 2013).

Depend on those reasons, firstly it is important to ask appropriate questions and avoid mentioning
the reason why she gets anxiety and panic attacks. Otherwise, comparing with spending time on
analyzing her current situation, it is much more beneficial to focus on help her find out her current
strengths and opportunities to build a positive and confident attitude of the future.

Furthermore, before providing service and giving solution to her, it is important to have a clear and
deep understanding about what are her actual demands. At the meantime, after realizing her goals it
is also necessary to help her realize what are her advantages to achieve the goals.

For example, currently the Cruise family also meet some financial issues. With the help of strengths
theory, it is more useful to help Jill to find out their potential opportunities to make more money and
improve their current situation.

5. Conclusion
Comparing with just solving the problems, it is much more beneficial for clients to build enough
self-confidence and have a optimistic attitude towards their future lives. For example, to cope with
the situation of Andrew, it is important to help him to build a clear self-identity and self-esteem to
make sure he can manage his own life.
Moreover, comparing with spending time on analyzing the past or present issues, sometimes it is
more useful to have more focuses on the strengths and abilities of clients, which may bring more
hopes to them to help them become confident enough to face their problems and improve their
situation.

6. Reflection
To have a better understanding of Cruise family, there are five different theories have been
mentioned. The previous report includes three theories: the first one is the task centered practice,
which focus on some particular problems and aims to solve them in a short term. The second one is
the cognitive behavioral therapy, which pays attention to current situation and intends to reduce
clients’ negative emotion and help them become much more positive. Last but not the least, the
system theory, which explain how environment have effects on clients.

At the same time, this report also mentions two different theories, the empowerment theory, which
tries to help clients to have a better control on their own life and re-build their self confidence and
self esteem. Another helpful theory is the strengths theory, which argues that it is better to focus on
clients’ strengths and abilities instead of paying attention to their problems and weaknesses.

As a professional social worker, it is necessary to have ability to apply the theory on the real case
study. On the one hand, it is beneficial to have a better understanding of the problems and
requirements of the clients. On the other hand, it can also help the clients to get a suitable and
appropriate solutions to improve their situation.

Otherwise, it is important to use different theories depend on the different situation. For example,
the problems of the oldest child Anthony should be solved as soon as possible in order to stop him
to do something much more offensive. Therefore, comparing to some theories which will take more
time to solve all the issues, the task centered task may be much more helpful because it tend to
solve some small but urgent problems instead of changing the total situation.
7. References
1. Cherry, K. (2018). Erik Erikson’s Stage of Psychosocial Development. Retrieved on: https://
www.verywellmind.com/erik-eriksons-stages-of-psychosocial-development-2795740
2. Department of Health. (2009). The Mental Health of Australians 2. Retrieved from: https://
www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/
A24556C814804A99CA257BF0001CAC45/$File/mha25.pdf
3. Finger, J. (2014). Why teenage boys do stupid things. Retrieved from: https://
www.cbsnews.com/news/whats-wrong-with-the-teen-brain/
4. Healy, K (2005), The Strengths Perspective (Chapter 8), Social Work Theories in Context:
Creating Frameworks for Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire, pp: 151-171.
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theconversation.com/a-parents-guide-to-why-teens-make-bad-decisions-88246
6. Kate. (2013). How to cope with and help a loved one experiencing anxiety and depression.
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13. SecureTeen. (2013). How Positive Peer Pressure Works. Retrieved from: https://
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