Reed Hepler received an M.L.I.S. from IUPUI, with emphases in Digital Curation and Archives Management. He received a Bachelor’s in History from USU, with minors in Religious Studies and Anthropology. He also earned a Certificate in Museum Studies. He has worked in museums, libraries, archives, and historical sites for the past four years.
The category of social work treatments has a multiplicity of treatment types. Social work treatments and interventions can be long-term or short-term. They can treat a wide number of problems that affect social workers' clients. One type of short-term social work treatment is task-centered treatment.
Task-centered treatment is a treatment form in which social workers and clients collaborate to create a series of short-term goals that both participants work together to accomplish. Each task is independent of the others. While social workers and clients are working on their current task, they do not worry about future or previous tasks.
Task-centered treatments are more formal than they appear. Social workers do not simply create tasks for their clients to perform and send them out to work alone. The four main steps of task-centered treatment are:
- Identify the Problem
- Set Collaborative Goals
- Create Objectives in the Form of Tasks
If social workers and clients attempt to fulfill tasks without first coming to a mutual understanding of the reasoning behind the task, which is to alleviate a specific problem, then their motivation will not be as strong as it should be. Additionally, if clients do not have firm goals then they will not be able to create specific, definable objectives to complete. The entire structure of the task-centered treatment form is built to be as efficient as possible.
Social Worker-Client Collaboration
Collaboration is an important aspect of any social work treatment plan. It is especially an important factor in the success of task-centered treatment. Clients must be able to trust their social worker. They must be able to rely on the fact that social workers will be working alongside them. Additionally, social workers who engage in collaboration will help clients come to their own solutions as they listen and respond to client opinions and feedback.
Goals vs. Objectives
After social workers and clients together identify the main problem of the client's life, both agents work together to create goals and objectives. Some may think that these words are interchangeable. However, they are distinct concepts. Goals are the specific time-bound outcomes of the entire program and treatment plan. They are the ultimate hoped-for result of the collaborative efforts of both participants. Objectives are smaller parts of goals. In the context of task-centered treatment, they are the tasks that social workers and clients complete.
Strategies for Accomplishing Task-Centered Goals
Task-centered treatments center on the accomplishment of relatively small tasks. These are objectives that work up to the completion of a goal. If tasks are not completed, the broader goals of the plan will not be achieved. There are multiple strategies that clients and social workers can use to achieve their tasks. These include:
- Focus on the present and the future
- Focus on utilizing, strengthening, and expanding client strengths
- Create tasks that the client can feasibly accomplish within their usual environment
- Create tasks that require the least amount of effort while generating the widest and most significant outcomes.
Jacob is a social worker who is helping Robert with a substance abuse problem. Robert would like to stop using substances but continues to think that he is so far down the road of substance abuse that he might as well just continue. Jacob helps Robert to create several goals and tasks to help Robert create new habits. Tasks include buying nicotine gum, exercising for thirty minutes every other day, and avoiding certain situations and environments that are triggers for Robert. These are tasks that Robert can feasibly complete.
Task-centered treatment is a unique type of short-term social work treatment. It focuses on tasks performed through the collaborative efforts of the social worker and the client. The four main steps of all task-centered treatments are identifying the problem, setting collaborative goals, creating objectives in the form of tasks, and evaluating the success of the program after tasks have been completed or the treatment time has expired.
In all social work treatment programs, but especially in task-centered treatment, collaboration is necessary. If social workers and clients collaborate, clients can learn to trust the social worker. Social workers, on the other hand, will be able to help clients help themselves, thus fulfilling their role. Both parties will be able to give and receive feedback. It is important during the process of completing tas-centered treatment to realize the difference between goals and objectives. Goals are broader outcomes of the entire treatment plan, whereas objectives are smaller tasks that come together to fulfill a goal. There are multiple strategies used by social workers to help their clients complete the objectives of the task, including:
- Focusing on the present
- Focus on utilizing and strengthening client strengths
- Focus on minimizing input and maximizing output.
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