Social Work and Human Services: Case Study
Mina’s case poses a dilemma that has to be tackled before the primary problem can be solved. Mina has serious concerns of her body weight and admits that she is suffering from anorexia nervosa. Even though she already weighs less than what is considered normal and healthy for her age, Mina continues to live in intense fear that she will gain extra weight. For this reason, she has adopted a restrictive diet and decided to eat very little portions of food. Conversely, her family members are seriously worried that she is starving herself. They argue that her eating disorder poses health life-threatening risks to her. Her parents are contemplating putting her on house arrest and forcing her to eat. It is the duty of the social worker to ensure that such an unethical act does not occur. However, the fact that Mina’s abnormal lifestyle also raises concerns, the social worker should not dismiss her parent’s worries. Therefore, the advocacy role of the social worker would be to identify and advice the parents on better solutions to Nina’s problem.
Being the first encounter with Nina’s parents, prior arrangements will have to be made to make the meeting more effective. Firstly, it will be very important for the social worker to visit a behavioral psychologist, and seek a professional opinion regarding the matter. The psychologist would provide insight regarding Nina’s abnormal behavior and the complications she poses to herself and her family members. It would also be advisable for the social worker to invite the psychologist to the meeting. This would be very important in helping both parties understand the concerns and reasoning of each side. During the meeting, the psychologist would try to enlighten Nina on the effects of her eating disorder. In addition, the psychologist would provide a professional explanation regarding Nina’s awkward behavior to her parents. They will be able to understand that their daughter’s behavior is a psychological problem that can only be solved by a professional counselor. The psychologist’s invitation would also add more weight to the alternative solutions that will be proposed by the social worker.
Prior to the meeting, it will also be crucial for the social worker to conduct research regarding Islamic culture, and its stand on issues such as eating disorders. Most Muslims believe that eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa, are practices carried out in western countries and have no place in the Islamic culture. This might be another reason why Nina’s parents are angered by her abnormal behavior. The research would further enlighten the social worker of the role played by religion on Nina’s behavior. Islamic religion recognizes two annual fasting periods known as the Ramadan and the Lent. During these events, Muslim faithful are required to fast for lengthy periods. Therefore, the social worker would be able to inform the parents that Nina’s behavior might have been caused by these lengthy fasting periods. Furthermore, they would still be hindrances to her treatment. During the meeting, it will be important to suggest that Nina be exempted from religions fasting because it would affect her treatment.
To remain client-centered, it will be important for the social worker to act the devil’s advocate. Nina approached the social worker because she sought closure for her parents. Taking the side of her parents would simply push Nina further away and worsen the situation. The social worker should also hold interpersonal skills. This will nurture effective communication, which is very vital in engendering confidence and creating a relationship with Nina.
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