Case Studies / Activities

Case study with Activity

Having read about the five stages of task-centred work, consider the following case study and the action points at each stage. You may need to refer back to the chapter to refresh your understanding of the task-centred approach. You might find it helpful to undertake this activity with a small group of fellow students so that you can share and discuss your understanding.


Linda (23 years old) has approached the duty worker at the local area social work office. Linda advises the worker that she is struggling to cope with all the demands that exist in her life. During the discussion, Linda presents the following information; Linda lives in a one bedroom flat with her son, Sam (2 years old). The property is in poor condition with internal damp, single glazing and inadequate heating. The father of Sam is John (29 years old). Linda and John separated when Linda was five months pregnant with Sam and since then John has provided little financial or practical support. Contact between John and Sam is sporadic at best. Linda has no family support following the death of her mother a year ago. Over the past few months Linda has faced increasing problems with debt and she has struggled to manage her benefit entitlement. Linda feels socially isolated within the local community and she has been unable to access external support either for Sam or herself.

Stage 1: Problem exploration Activity - Part 1

From the information provided, list the problems that exist for Linda. Consider how you would work with Linda in a manner that promotes her participation in this process.

Stage 2: Identifying priority problems and agreeing goals Activity - Part 2

  1. Look again at the problems that you listed in Part 1. From Linda’s point of view, how might these problems be prioritised and why?
  2. Identify some goals that Linda might want to work towards. In doing this you should consider whether goals identified by service users always align with those that social workers might identify?
  3. Create a contract for the work that will be carried out with Linda. Remember to ensure that the contract contains the required information but is also written in a manner which ensures that it will be understood.

Stage 3: Identifying required tasks Activity Part 3.

  1. Identify some tasks that could be undertaken in work with Linda. These tasks should be linked to the goals that you devised earlier.
  2. Which tasks would best be completed by Linda? Are there any tasks that could be undertaken by the worker?

Stage 4: Carrying out and achieving the tasks Assume that work with Linda takes place; then consider stage 5.

Stage 5: Ending the work and evaluation Activity Part 4.

  1. List some of the considerations that should be taken into account when working with Linda as you move into the termination phase.
  2. What practical measures would you put in place to manage this phase in an effective manner?