Target-centered Approach in Social Work, Free Essay Example

Published: 2019-09-02
Target-centered Approach in Social Work, Free Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Social work
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 943 words
8 min read

Interventions for teenage drug users have become an issue of social concern. The ability of teenagers to bounce back from their drug and alcohol abuse is key to ensuring that they can reintegrate into society and become responsible citizens. This paper chose to deal with the issue of interventions for teenagers who are drug users because of the social concern that is occasioned by teenagers who are victims of drug use. This paper thus critiques one of the major interventions that have been used in this area, namely the task-centered model.

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Problem Population

The population to be used for this study is teenagers. A research by the University of Michigan revealed worrying trends among teenagers in the United States concerning their drug use (Drug Facts, 2014). Consider the pictorial below that shows the different drugs and their usage among the American teenagers:

Adopted from Drug Facts (2014)

Despite the decreasing overall use of drugs, there are still quite a good number of individuals who are engaged in the use of recreational drugs something that needs much improvement in handling to achieve better results. This sample population thus has a specific interest to me because of their role as the next generation.

The Task-Centered Approach

This approach is a social work technology system that is aimed at working with the patient using the SMART goals method in order to achieve considerably good outcomes for the person involved. This approach has been known to work with both groups and individuals and in quite a number of contexts (Reid, 1992). Research has suggested that the use of this technology has been integrated with other technologies in order to provide the user with better reintegration experience. The target-centered approach has capitalized on the use of specific goals for the patient whose achievement embodies the integration process of the patient in question (Gambrill, 2006).

In this approach, the social worker is trained to help the patient become an integral part of the reintegration process by engaging them to identify and define the target problem and engage in a 6-month intervention to eradicate such a problem (Fortune, Briar-Lawson, & McCollion, 2010). In this approach, the social worker will mostly work with the preference of the client on what they want to work on. Therefore, this approach gives the teenager the ability to determine that their drug issue represents a real issue in their lives that needs solving and a combined approach to dealing with these problems (Reid, 1992).

The application of this approach is fairly simple. The social worker and patient identify the target problem and goals are established to deal with these problems. The agreed terms between the social worker and the patient includes the facilitation by both parties to ensure that there is an implementation of the agreed plan of action. Finally, there is a consideration of the efficiency of the intervention process in the course of this approach by goal evaluation throughout the 6-month period to determine if there is need for program termination (Reid, 1997). While these steps can seem to be clear-cut, there is always the chance that these steps can overlap.

In the age of evidence-based practice, there exists a lot of evidence to the effectiveness of the task-centered approach in reaching the goals of the reintegration process for many different scenarios. The provision of goals that are discreet in nature and provide the patient with a good summation of the possible outcomes expected from the reintegration exercise provides the patient with a good view of the conclusion from the beginning of the exercise (Fortune, 1985). TCP leaders have continually encouraged the use of this approach because of the setting of goals for the exercise. Moreover, this approach can be seen as both psychotherapeutic and an intervention based on the casework. This means that the approach will almost always provide the opportunity for the individual approach to all case works that are deal with.

Nonetheless, this approach is not widely used in the field of social work because of its limited approaches and the lack of well-defined parameters of use. As seen above, the approach is very straightforward and is not used with seasoned social workers. Moreover, the approach in its use with teenagers may prove wanting especially where the teenager has not yet identified the need to move away from drug use and abuse. Furthermore, social workers have been seen to favor other approaches because of their increased therapeutic roles. The narrative and solution-centered therapy approaches have this kind of increased therapeutic role on the part of the social worker. However, it is important to note that the most significant constitutions of these theories have largely borrowed from the target-centered approach.

The target-centered approach has been applied for school-going children for the identification of behavioral problems, including the use of drugs. This approach will make use of all the necessary interventions for the purpose of ensuring that the goals can be met, including allowing the family members and other members of the patients social circles to be included in the intervention. All in all, the approach proves to be quite useful in dealing with the issue of drug abuse among teenagers.


Drug Facts. (2014). DrugFacts: High School and Youth Trends. Retrieved from Drug Facts:

Fortune, A. (1985). Task-centered practice with families and groups. New York: Springer.

Fortune, A., Briar-Lawson, K., & McCollion, P. (2010). Social work practice for the twenty-first century. New York: Columbia University Press.

Gambrill, E. (2006). Evidence-based practice and policy: Choices ahead. Research on Social Work Practice, 338-57.

Reid, J. (1992). Task strategies: An empirical approach to clinical social work. New York: Columbia University Press.

Reid, J. (1997). Research on task-centered practice . Research in Social Work, 132-37.

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