Centered Therapy is the outcome of Psychodynamic Therapy unsuccessful results from clients. According to Oxford Bibliographies, Laura Epstein and William J. Reed developed Task-Centered Therapy in the 1970’s during their years at University of Chicago Social Services Department (2013). Laura Epstein developed what is commonly known amongst social workers for short-term psychotherapy. Epstein developed the method encouraging clients to engage in decision making as part of the therapy. She found most cases are likely to discontinue therapy under this method with great success. Her work is tested and implemented in clinical social work practice in 20th century (University of Chicago, 1996). William J. Reid was a social work scholar and a founding editor of NASW press journal, Social Work Research (NASW, 2004).
Reid was well known for his method for Task-Centered Therapy in clinical settings. His research and methodology have been at the forefront of the field of social welfare and his task-centered model has involved his students in an ideally symbiotic relationship between theoretical understanding and practical application according to Professor Hitchcock who is the president of University of Albany (1996). Group four choose to look further in this topic because this practice model is practical in clinical settings and it is modern for clients to relate to the issues. This model is used to start with micro level within individuals to group settings. It works for the long run in favor of clients and reduce them from returning for therapy. Task-Centered Therapy is similar to Psychodynamic but it gives the clients empowerment to regain confidence and achieve their goals further. Psychodynamic practice aim towards solving problems in immediate settings but result in clients returning to same issues to resolve.
The Task-Centered Therapy is one of the basic models to explore the clients’ strength and finding solution together to reach successful goals. Task-Centered Therapy practice allows clients to participate in finding solutions, planning, implementing, executing, and terminating based on their own performance. The practice gives clients to motivate themselves and encourage them to improve their abilities to life decisions. The sessions are between six to 12 sessions ranging and could last about eight months. It could be longer depending on client’s needs and solving issues that may hinder to success. Task-Centered Therapy Practice (TCP) works towards long-term goals rather than short-term interventions. Task-Centered Therapy works well with individual clients or group therapy to focus on problems and issues clients may have concern of. According to Reid, the Task-Centered Therapy is to help client better manage identifying problems, which tasks are requires to resolve the issues, and implementing the tasks in reality after therapy completes (1997). Task-Centered Therapy practice is a combination of planning, preparation, and overseeing the tasks involve in implementing towards reaching clients goals. TCP is based on theories such as Behavior Therapy, Problem-solving Therapy and Learning Therapy.
The ideas that caused Reid and Epstein to want to modify this approach were: they discovered that most clients didn’t find it to be solving challenges in a timely manner. The first few sessions achieved the best results in a relatively short amount of time, and toward the middle to end the accomplishments seemed to occur less in number and not be quite as impactful. One of the largest differences with this model is that termination is addressed at the beginning state of the sessions with the client. “The task-centered model has been built on basic tenets of eclecticism (choice), drawing on a range of theories limited only by their ability to help in defining and assessing clients’ problems in living, to guide efforts to resolve these problems, and to be testable. ” In other words learning by doing, allowing the client to define the problems and create possible solutions. This is done basically in a short amount of time 6 to 12 weeks and about 8 sessions.
The goals are small in number, generally no more than 3. The model follows these procedures: initial phase, the middle phase, and the termination phase. While Behavior Therapy focus on client’s problems and behaviors by using specific tasks given to client for accomplishing goals, TCP focus on having client’s perform the task outside of sessions and work together by forming tasks and solutions. Problem-Solving Approach Therapy focus on changing the behaviors through specific tasks but TCP focus more on research and models which will fit individual clients’ need. Learning Theory Approach is finishing the tasks that is assign by Social Worker to client. TCP is similar in Learning Theory by focusing on learning new behaviors through task completion (Reid, 1997). The types of assessments typically supported in the task centered theory begin with speaking to the client. It begins with a survey. TC is very effective with incorporating it with other types of practice.
It is generally used with the individual and group counseling. Often an eco map is used to help the client develop and envision challenges, strengths and solutions. It begins with listening to the client’s view of the challenges that lie ahead. Determining which are most important to design solutions to improve their quality of life. The session is client driven where the solutions are determined with input of the practitioner and the client. The goals are established. The actions to achieve the goals are developed, beginning with a general concept and broken into attainable, realistic achievements. Those achievements are reviewed together at the following sessions, and either success or adaptation has occurred. When the diagnosis has been determined, and the goal of progress has been achieved, then the next challenges addressed in the same. When approaching client, Social Worker should explaining of what the role, purpose and therapy will be involve and include client as a team to figuring out the tasks. By including the client and explaining what is expected of the therapy sessions will help them understand the process without questioning the Social Worker’s abilities to manage the situation (Mohan, 2010).
After the initial meeting, Social Worker can identify the problem and it’s context, select the target problems, prioritizing the important targets, exploring target problems, setting goals and having contract between the client. TCP involving clients during setting goals help clients wanting to fulfill the goals and increasing their confidence level for reaching successful goals. The Task-Centered model was developed from the following theories: the behavioral model, the problem-solving approach, and learning theory. The ideas that caused Reid and Epstein to want to modify this approach were: they discovered that most clients didn’t find it to be solving challenges in a timely manner. The first few sessions achieved the best results in a relatively short amount of time, and toward the middle to end the accomplishments seemed to occur less in number and not be quite as impactful. One of the largest differences with this model is that termination is addressed at the beginning state of the sessions with the client.
According to Oxford Bibliographies the task-centered model has been built on basic tenets of eclecticism (choice), drawing on a range of theories limited only by their ability to help in defining and assessing clients’ problems in living, to guide efforts to resolve these problems, and to be testable (2013). In other words learning by doing, allowing the client to define the problems and create possible solutions. This is done basically in a short amount of time 6 to 12 weeks and about 8 sessions. The goals are small in number, generally no more than 3. The model follows these procedures: initial phase, the middle phase, and the termination phase. The types of assessments typically supported in the Task-Centered Theory begin with speaking to the client. It begins with a survey. TC is very effective with incorporating it with other types of practice. It is generally used with the individual and group counseling. Often an eco map is used to help the client develop and envision challenges, strengths and solutions.
It begins with listening to the client’s view of the challenges that lie ahead. Determining which are most important to design solutions to improve their quality of life. The session is client driven where the solutions are determined with input of the practitioner and the client. The goals are established. The actions to achieve the goals are developed, beginning with a general concept and broken into attainable, realistic achievements. Those achievements are reviewed together at the series of sessions, and either success or adaptation has occurred. When the diagnosis has been determined, and the goal of progress has been achieved, then the next sets of challenges are addressed in the same manner. The practitioner and the client have come to conclusion that adequate progress has been made. The termination has been effective and the client has sufficient life skills to make better life choices. Besides Task Centered Therapy, there are also related approaches that would benefit the three phases within the Task Cantered Therapy.
The first is Behavioral model, which is a broad model for many others sub models. Looking at the basics, behavioral model is the way an individual learns and acts, along with the way individuals behave and act in certain situations. The Problem Solving Approach is a process in which individuals face a problem and learn how to come to a rational conclusion. The process is both descriptive and prescriptive. This means it can be used to look at past, present, and potential future problems and their solutions in a clear systematic way that is consistent and able to be generalized. At each step along the way to a solution, various types of research must be conducted to successfully accomplish the steps of the process and thus arrive at an effective solution that is viable (Lipuma, 2010). During the Problem Solving Process individuals face the problem they are having difficulty with and try to find possible outcomes to better their situation. Finally there is the Learning Theory, which is the process through an individual learns the information they intake and how they apply it.
There are important factors that make Task-Centered Therapy successful. During the process there are three phases the client with go through. The initial phase, which is the assessment of the problem and setting goals, the middle phase, is helping the client with any services they need such as CPS, DCFS, etc. in which they would like to reach, and finally the termination phase is where the social worker follows up with the client and review what has worked during this process. What really makes clients successful is the goal making process. During the initial phase the social workers discuss with the client and together they both make up possible goals that the client can reach by the end of the twelve weeks.
Throughout Task-Centered Approach there are strengths that make this process successful and also limitations that make this process difficult for some individuals. The strengths include goal setting for the clients and short-term process to make the problem solving approach more successful. The limitations would also be the time-limited factor. Usually, this process only takes up to twelve weeks. For some individuals their situation may need more attention and therefore the Task-Centered Therapy may not be appropriate for their situation. Noting the fact that tasked centered practice has proven to be very effective since it is used to set ‘specific, measurable, and achievable goals’ quite briefly (8-12 sessions); this type of practice lets various types of clients benefit from it, but not all clients benefit from it.
Tasked centered therapy is useful for a wide range of clients on severity ill spectrum: patients at hospitals ready for dismissal, school students with behavioral problems, as well as community mental health settings (Kelly, 2008). As noted, one can use Task-Centered Therapy for micro, mezzo, and macro level clients. If applying this method to a micro level case, such as an individual client, one can guide the process by setting specific and measureable tasks that the client agrees that are achievable. One can apply the tasked centered therapy on a mezzo level by working with families and/or groups set goals that will direct the nature of the therapy. Just as it is applied in the micro and mezzo level, tasked centered therapy may be applied at a macro level in order to achieve grand scale goals such as in a society or community as a whole. It is important to keep in mind that the goals must be specific, measurable as well as achievable. With all that in mind, the community or society must have the means required to achieve such tasks.
It has been approximately four decades since tasked centered therapy came upon as a social work practice model (Kelly, 2008). Since then, the model has been tested in order to conclude its effectiveness. Schools, child welfare services and hospitals have done an abundance of research on how this social work practice is applied and its effectiveness. Studies have shown how tasked centered therapy is very successful and offer great psychotherapeutic technique and casework interventions seem to be very beneficial with this technique (Kelly, 2008). However, there are a few studies that suggest that tasked centered therapy might mislead the social worker in that they might want to get too wrapped up with coming up with solutions for their client. Overall, if used properly, tasked centered therapy has proven for the last four decades that it is a very useful and reliable practice in the social work field.
The task-centered approach has been implemented and tested in a broad range of settings and with diverse client groups. When working with culturally diverse clients, workers should first determine the level of congruency between the cultural values of the client and the assumptions underlying Task-Centered. TC workers should become familiar with the client’s cultural background while, at the same time, recognizing the individuality of each client in order to avoid making stereotypical assumptions. Meaning, task-centered workers should expect that cultural characteristics will vary among members of the same cultural group as a result of acculturation, generation, gender, and socioeconomic status. For culturally diverse populations TC is generally consistent with values commonly held across cultures. The following TC characteristics make it particularly applicable with culturally diverse clients: (1) use of a variety of intervention strategies; (2) the notion of task accomplishment; (3) provision of short-term services; (4) the existence of individual, group, and family models; (5) respect for client-defined problems; (6) work with collaterals; (7) consideration of environmental contexts; and (8) a focus on change of oppressive environments (Lum 1996).
Social workers are increasingly providing services to clients whose cultural backgrounds are different from their own. To work effectively with these diverse clients, task-centered practitioners should consider a variety of social and cultural factors. Although members of all cultural groups have similar basic needs, the ways that they conceive, perceive, and respond to them may show considerable cross-cultural variability. A client’s worldview, values, beliefs, and help-seeking practices can greatly influence the treatment process and outcome. In this respect, social work practice models that incorporate values commonly held across cultures, and the flexibility to accommodate cultural variation, which can be especially helpful. The task-centered approach offers a clearly viable alternative for social work practice with culturally diverse clients (Reid 1996).
TC workers can be especially helpful to less acculturated clients, in their roles as cultural brokers, by addressing culturally based issues task-centered work with culturally diverse clients that may directly interfere with the treatment. TC workers can draw on culturally relevant collaterals who may act as contributors to the problems or resources in effecting their solution. The task-centered model has been built on basic tenets of diversity, drawing on a range of theories limited only by their ability to help in defining and assessing clients’ problems in living, to guide efforts to resolve these problems, and to be testable. Practitioners can employ a wide range of intervention strategies allowing them to consider those that are most compatible with each client’s own cultural context. TC not only offers an array of intervention strategies but also encourages workers to seek others advocated in a variety of practice approaches. Chaundra was referred by child protective services, due to her willingness to improve her lifestyle.
She acknowledged her downfall wanting to grow as a responsible mother and a respectable addition to society. Through this progress she confronted her fears, stood her ground to improve her day-to-day functions, was open to change, response well to tasks that were giving to her. Chaundra overcame her obstacle of being a victim, and learned to move forward in a positive state of mind and behavior. Task-Centered Therapy Practice is used in this model, because it give Chaundra a different perspective of what life can offer to her and her family. By leaving prostitution, she can develop self worth and confidence to stability. This model of practice also offers Chaundra the ability to explore her options, and discover resources such as job training and placements. Task-Centered Therapy Practice gives a great foundation to start a new life with the tools provided for her and her family to a better future.
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