Socw 6121 week 2 | Sociology homework help


Week 2: Assessment of Families

Understanding a client’s family history and background is one of the first steps in assessment. Having a thorough knowledge of the assessment tools and strategies available enhances a clinical social worker’s practice. Using theory to assess all levels of a situation enables the clinical social worker to develop the most effective and appropriate intervention, one that takes advantage of a social work principle that states that all clients have strengths. Identifying and creating a strategy that is strength-based is one of the cornerstones of good social work practice.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Need an answer from similar question? You have just landed to the most confidential, trustful essay writing service to order the paper from.
Just from $11/Page
Order Now

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Apply micro-, mezzo-, and macro-levels of strengths-based assessments to a family case study
  • Apply the Circumplex Model of Marital and Family Systems to a case study

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Holosko, M. J., Dulmus, C. N., & Sowers, K. M. (2013). Social work practice with individuals and families: Evidence-informed assessments and interventions. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Chapter 9, “Assessment of Families” (pp. 237–264)

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. (Eds.). (2013). Sessions case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing.
“The Cortez Family” (pp. 23–25)

Smokowski, P. R., Rose, R., & Bacallao, M. L. (2008). Acculturation and Latino family processes: How cultural involvement, biculturalism, and acculturation gaps influence family dynamics. Family Relations, 57(3), 295–308.

Olson, D. H. (2000). Circumplex Model of Marital and Family Systems. Journal of Family Therapy22(2), 144–167.

Discussion 1: Family Assessment

The first step in helping a client is conducting a thorough assessment. The clinical social worker must explore multiple perspectives in order to develop a complete understanding of the situation. From this understanding, the social worker is able to recognize the client’s strengths and develop effective strategies for change.

For this Discussion, review the “Cortez Family” case history.

By Day 3

Post your description of how micro-, mezzo-, or macro-levels of practice aid social workers in assessing families. Assess Paula Cortez’s situation using all three of these levels of practice, and identify two strengths and/or solutions in each of these levels.

Describe the value in strength-based solutions.

By Day 5

Respond to two colleagues who presented a different strength and/or solution in analyzing one of the levels of practice.

Submission and Grading Information
Grading Criteria

Quick Question

 Macro practice is often overlooked, especially by those who are interested in clinical practice. Why is it so important that we all keep all 3 levels of practice in our day to day operations? 

Response 1

 Sherene Campbell RE: Discussion 1 – Week 2COLLAPSE

           The field of social work can be classified into three separate categories of practice: micro, mezzo, and macro levels.  Micro-level social workers focus on families and/or individuals; it is also the most common form of social work.  Mezzo-level social workers often overlap, and this level focuses on individuals, communities (neighborhood), small groups, and institutions.  Macro-level social workers work at the community and systems-level (Kirst-Ashman and Hull, 2017; Holosko et al., 2013).

            In the case of Paula Cortez, micro-level practice was introduced when the social worker first met Paula while she was employed at an outpatient comprehensive care clinic unit in an acute care hospital in New York City (Plummer, Makris, Brocksen, 2013).  Micro-level practice engages the client directly, and typically involves counseling, therapy, referrals or direct assistance.  Although the interaction with Paula was challenging on occasions, the social worker was able to support and motivate Paula complete many critical tasks.  During this time, the social worker was able to provide and recommend vital services such as: developing a safety plan, educating her about filing for a restraining order, referring her to the AIDS Law Project, counseling her on the importance of taking her prescribed medication as recommended by her physicians, applying for Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), apply for 24/7 in-home child care assistance, arrange a permanency plan, and prepare for baby essentials (Plummer, Makris, Brocksen, 2013). 

            When working at the mezzo-level, the social worker functioned as a facilitator by devising ways to ensure that external resources would be able to assist Paula accomplish her needs effectively.  Due to Paula’s physical limitations, the social worker was able to organize a plan of action that ensured that Paula’s health and safety was maintained, and would be suitable enough to deliver a healthy baby.  When engaged with Paula on a mezzo level, the social worker worked diligently with physicians and other medical staff on an inpatient and outpatient basis, to ensure that her health care needs were being met on a regular basis (Plummer, Makris, Brocksen, 2013). 

            While working with Paula on a Macro-level, the social worker was able to encourage Paula to utilize law enforcement to file a retraining order on him, as a result of his threatening and sinister behavior.  The social worker also encouraged Paula to utilize government and medical assistance (WIC, HAART, AIDS Law Project (non-profit organization), as well as the 24/7 in-home child care assistance through the New York’s public assistance program (Plummer, Makris, Brocksen, 2013). 

            The value of the strength-based approach is profound and one of the foundations of the social work practice.  This approach is based is known to promote open communication and thought process for individuals to identify their value, capture their strengths, and capitalize on their strengths oppose to focusing on negative characteristics (Kirst-Ashman and Hull, 2017).


Holosko, M.J., Dulmus, C.N., & Sowers, K.M. (2013). Social work practice with individuals and families: Evidence-informed assessments and interventions. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Kirst-Ashman, K. K., Hull, G. H. (2017). Empowerment Series: Understanding Generalist Practice, 8th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. 

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. (Eds.). (2013). Sessions case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. “The Cortez Family” (pp. 23–25)

Response 2

 Catlin Wills-Vertz RE: Discussion 1 – Week 2COLLAPSE

Family Assessment

Social workers utilize all levels of practice (micro-, mezzo-, and macro-) when assessing families and determining practice interventions. Social workers engage at the micro-level by understanding each individual’s needs within the family. Micro-level assessment includes active listening, asking the client questions, building a trusting relationship, and assessing biopsychosocial factors of the client (Holosko, Dulmus, & Sowers, 2013). Mezzo-level practice occurs within the community and how the family interacts within the community. Social workers can link clients with resources, inform clients of related public issues, and strengthen support within the community (Holosko, Dulmus, & Sowers, 2013). Macro-level practice involves large-scale intervention to address problems within society or globally, but can often require commitment and dedication. Social workers can use policy analysis and advocacy to challenge or promote policies that impact individuals, families, and communities (Holosko, Dulmus, & Sowers, 2013). 

Paula Cortez Assessment

Social workers can assess the case of Paula through all levels of practice and within the context of the family. The concepts of familism and collectivism are important within the Latino culture where the needs of the family are prioritized over the needs of an individual (Furman, Negi, Iwamoto, Rowan, Shukraft, & Gragg, 2009; Smokowski, Rose, & Bacallao, 2008). At the micro-level, Paula is currently diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, bipolar disorder, and she has a history of not taking her prescribed medications which leads to her health decompensating (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2013). Paula immigrated to the U.S. when she was younger and has a history of abuse from her parents and ex-boyfriend. At the mezzo-level, Paula has her daughter, son, and ex-husband that she has for immediate family. Paula utilizes community resources such as Social Security Income, Medicaid, WIC and other community resources/ services (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2013). At the macro-level, Paula is affected by many cultural factors since she immigrated from another country into the U.S. Research shows that Latinos are more likely to have low-income status, have poor mental and physical health, and face cultural incompetence within the U.S. welfare system (Furman et al., 2009). This can be evidenced with Paula and social workers should advocate for policies that support culturally appropriate programs and services.

Strengths-Based Solutions

Social work practice encourages finding strengths the client already has in order to solve the current problems in their life. According to Holosko, Dulmus, & Sowers (2013), social workers tend to draw on many theoretical frameworks, concepts, and skills when individualizing services to meet the diverse needs of clients and a strengths-based approach can be applied at all levels of practice. By highlighting these strengths clients will gain confidence in their own ability to solve and manage the stress the may face within their lives. In addition, clients can build upon their strengths which increases resiliency and promotes self-determination.


Furman, R., Negi, N.J., Iwamoto, D.K., Rowan, D., Shukraft, A., & Gragg, J. (2009). Social work practice with Latinos: Key issues for social workers. Social Work, 54(2), 167-174. Retrieved from

Holosko, M. J., Dulmus, C. N., & Sowers, K. M. (2013). Social work practice with individuals and families: Evidenced-informed assessments and interventions. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., Brocksen, S. (Eds.). (2013). Sessions case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. 

Simokowski, P. R., Rose, R., & Bacallao, M. L. (2008). Acculturation and Latino family processes: How cultural gaps influence family dynamics. Family Relations, 57(3), 295-308.

To access your rubric:
Week 2 Discussion 1 Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5

To participate in this Discussion:
Week 2 Discussion 1

Discussion 2: Circumplex Model

Understanding the level of cohesion of a family system is important in order to determine an effective treatment plan. Olson (2000) developed the Circumplex Model, which has been used in the areas of marital therapy and with families dealing with terminal illness.

For this Discussion, you again draw on the “Cortez Family” case history.

By Day 4

Post your description of the Circumplex Model of Marital and Family Systems and how it serves as a framework to assess family systems. Apply this framework in assessing the Cortez family. Use the three dimensions (cohesion, flexibility, and communication) of this model to assess and analyze. Describe how assessing these dimensions assists the social worker in treatment planning.

By Day 6

Respond to two colleagues whose assessments of family cohesion differ from yours. Resolve the differences or explain how each viewpoint is valid.


Alize Mcghee
RE: Discussion 2 – Week 2


The circumplex model of the marital and family system mainly focuses on three dimensions, which are communication, cohesion, and flexibility. It is to confirm if families and couples are either balanced or unbalanced. Multiple studies were done for this model. There were also assessments that we’re created to figure out if families and couples fall into the categories. The way it serves to access the family systems is due to that it breaks down each family into the three groups. The Cortez family has many different dynamics. The family being accessed within the three categories will be extremely helpful in helping Paula. When it comes to cohesion, in other words, they are togetherness. When you compare it to the Cortez family, there is not unison and much emotional bonding. I’m away it seems Paula is detached from her family. The medical condition has gotten her in the way. There is relationship but not a bond as a complete family. That helps you analyze what needs between Paula and the different members of the family is. Part of this is flexibility, which is relationship roles and rules. It goes into the change of leadership as a whole. The flexibility is in four levels and that compared to the Cortez family shows a social worker a lot. The level is in the range of low since it’s the newborn and her. She doesn’t talk to the baby father as often as the norm. Paula and the baby father are not together, and the relationship she has with her sons’ fathers is just from a communication standpoint. It would be useful to connect the children and have them grow a bond as siblings. The last category, which is communication. This all has to do with speaking, listening skills, clarity, and respect. In Cortez, the skills that are used are shut out. It would be useful to work on all of those skills. That will help improve the family as a unit. That will maintain all relationships throughout the Cortez family. That will overall help Paula in building a good relationship with her daughter that was just welcomed to this world.


Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. (Eds.). (2013). Sessions case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing.

Olson, D. H. (2000). Circumplex Model of Marital and Family Systems. Journal of Family Therapy, 22(2), 144–167.

Second response

 Sharon Turner RE: Discussion 2 – Week 2COLLAPSE

Circumplex Model of Marital and Family Systems

Olsen’s circumplex model of marital and family systems is a model that is to help balance the family system as they work through their dysfunctional matters (Olson, 2000).  The circumplex model focuses on three dimensions: cohesion, flexibility, and communication (Olson). Cohesion is “the emotional bonding that exists between the family members” (Olson). Flexibility is the family’s ability to adapt to the changing rules and structure within the family system (Olson). Communication occurs when the family has developed a sense of cohesiveness and flexibility (Olson). 

The Cortez Family

The Cortez family (Paula, Miguel, and David) has faced many demanding strains within the family system.  Paula and David both used drugs during the course of their relationship Plummer, Markis & Brocksen, 2013).  Paula was able to stop using it. However, David did not; thus, this was the demise of their marriage (Plummer et al.).  Additionally, Paula suffered from medical issues (HIV) as well as mental health issues (bipolar). Paula also began to raise her son Miguel alone until she was unable to continue due to her health (Plummer et al.).  David then took Miguel into his custody (Plummer et al.). Moreover, Paula later had another child by someone she met in the “flower shop.” The man was abusive towards Paula, and she was fearful of him. Paula was able to find the strength to obtain an order of protection against the “man from the flower shop” (Plummer et al.). 

The Cortez family was able to adapt to the different phases of their family dynamics.  David stepped in to help raise Miguel when Paula’s health prevented her from doing so. Both David and Miguel were strong supports for Paula throughout her physical and mental health issues.  Additionally, Miguel not only assisted his mother with the care of his sister. Miguel was also agreed to be the guardian of his baby sister if ever Paula was unable to care for the child.   

It is difficult to fully understand the communication dynamics between the family members of the Cortez family as the assessment does not appear to give details. However, Paula was known to isolate herself (Plummer et al.).  With that being said, Paula was able to communicate her needs to David, asking him to assist her with their son. Additionally, Paula also communicated with Megual and made arrangments for him to be her daughter guardian if necessary.   

The circumplex model is designed to help the social worker develop a treatment plan to help the family make goals that will help them function and effectively problem solve. Assessing the Cortez family with the circumplex model, the social worker will be able to recognize the limitations of the family.  Additionally, the social worker can help create a bridge to open communication among them. 


Olson, D. H. (2000). Circumplex Model of Marital and Family Systems. Journal of Family Therapy, 22(2), 144-167. 

Plummer, S-B., Markis, S., & Brocksen, S. (Eds.). (2013). Sessions case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing, pp. 23-25.