SUNY Singapore Social Work Working with Clients & Families Questions

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SECTION A (Total 60 marks)

Question 1 (50 marks)

Case Study
The family comprises Mr Stephen Wong, a Chinese widower, 55 and his second wife,
Ms Uma, an Indian, aged 40. Mr Wong’s first wife, Mrs Evelyn Wong passed away five
years ago due to pancreatic cancer. She was then 50 years old. Mr Wong has 2 sons from
his first wife, aged 30 and 27. Both sons are married. He has a one year old daughter,
Shivani Wong Mei Ling from his second wife.
Mr Wong had worked as a rag and bone man (a low income job) for the past 35 years. Mrs
Wong (his first wife) was a homemaker. The family comprising 4 members led a simple yet satisfying
life in a small rental apartment. They were able to meet all their basic needs. The family’s
financial situation only took a turn for the worse when Mrs Wong (his first wife) was diagnosed with
cancer when she was 48 years old. Mr Wong used up all his savings trying different
treatments to save his wife. However, all his efforts had been in vain. She passed away
after 2 years.
Mr Wong became very heartbroken. It was during this time that he met Ms Uma (his 2nd wife). The 2 of them
had been attending the same church for the past few years. After a year, Mr Wong decided
to marry Ms Uma. His 2 sons respected their father’s decision to remarry. They felt that
he had taken good care of their mum and he needed to have a companion in his old age.
Though they initially were concerned that Ms Uma was a non-Chinese and much
younger, they decided to respect their father’s final decision. However, both Mr Wong
and Ms Uma’s extended families are not in favor of the couple’s marriage.
Ms Uma used to work as a school attendant earning $1200. However, she had to quit her
job when she became pregnant. Mr Wong continued with his job as a rag and bone man (a low income job)
earning about $1300. They currently stay in a small rental apartment with their child (Shivani)
The family had been referred to your social service agency for financial assistance by Singapore Electric Power.
The couple has incurred unpaid bills with their electric power supply and house rental. They have also
not fully settled Ms Uma’s delivery charges at the local
Mr Wong has also been concerned about meeting Shivani’s (Mr Wong and Ms Uma’s child) growing needs. The couple
has been barely coping even though they occasionally borrow from friends and
neighbors. Mr Wong’s sons (from his 1st wife) were able to occasionally assist but this was short-lived
because of their own financial struggles.
To further worsen the current situation, Ms Uma’s doctor recently shared with Mr Wong
that his wife may be experiencing early signs of post-natal depression. Mr Wong has
been noticing that Ms Uma seems to exhibit mixed emotions lately. She seems to be
angry at one moment and starts to sob uncontrollably at another.
Mr Wong had been trying to delay his appointment with your social service agency. This is the fourth
rescheduled meeting. Though he had indicated his busy work schedule as a reason, the real reason
for his hesitance is his loss of face. As a Chinese male, he feels that he should keep his
family’s financial woes within his four walls. Also, his role as the head of the family is
to meet the needs of his wife and child, not to seek external help from strangers. He had
commented to the previous social worker that “I am a really lousy husband to both my wives. I
shouldn’t wash my dirty laundry in public”.  He felt ashamed that he is not able to provide a good life to his wives.

Answer the following questions based on the case study above.  

Textbook: Direct Practice in Social Work, by Scott W. Boyle:

a) Outline and analyse THREE (3) issues in the Wong family that are of concern to you
as their social worker.
(9 marks)

b) Sometimes clients may show resistance to meeting up with professionals for various
reasons. In the case of Mr Wong, he sees himself as a traditional Chinese who should
not “wash my dirty laundry in public.” and allow others to know that he is unable to provide for his family.  He feel shameful of the fact that he is not able to provide for his family. Appraise FOUR (4) social work skills of
engagement that you can use so that Mr Wong feels at ease seeking help from your
(20 marks)

c) Examine THREE (3) ways (intervention strategies) that you will address the three
concerns you highlighted in question a) for the Wong family. Justify your answer
citing relevant theories.
(15 marks)

d) Explain the importance of various roles a social worker plays when dealing with a
family. Illustrate any TWO (2) roles you will play when working with the Wong
(6 marks)

Question 2 (10 marks)

Define and discuss any TWO (2) concepts (e,g homeostasis, subsystems, boundaries,
roles, rules, open/close system) of the Systems Theory.
(10 marks)

SECTION B (Total 80 marks)

Question 3 (40 marks)

a) Identify and explain FOUR (4) pitfalls in social work interviewing. Explain each
component with clear examples. Choose 4 from the list below.
(20 marks)

Advice Giving

Inappropriate use of Humour

Interrupting the Client & Abrupt Transitions

Inappropriate and Irrelevant Questions

Judgmental Response

Inappropriate Self Disclosure

Premature Confrontation

Overwhelming the client with too much info

Premature Problem Solving

Offering False Assurance/Minimising the Problem

b) The client seeks professional help from social workers when they are overwhelmed
with various challenges in their lives. Demonstrate any FOUR (4) possible reasons
for these challenges.
(20 marks)

Question 4 (40 marks)

a) A good Interview by the social worker is key to client change. Analyze the importance of using the skill
of summarizing when engaging individuals and families.
(20 marks)

b) Define and identify TWO (2) causes for premature termination initiated by clients in
the social work planned change model. Analyze clearly how you could prevent this
from taking place in your interaction with your clients.
(20 marks)

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