In my career as a social worker, I have worked with client systems of all sizes. In their career and daily work, social workers interact with all client systems in assisting individuals suffering from mental illness, assisting families in crisis, communities suffering from poor health, homelessness, joblessness, drug abuse and other complicated social issues. Notably, client systems comprise of individuals consulting the social workers. A client system is created by a group of clients. Members who form a client system relate to one another in one way or another (Jack, 2015). In that sense, clients are essential to social work. The three sizes of client systems include macro, mezzo, and micro social work. The macro client system involves dealing with government agencies, advocacy groups, and non-profit organizations. This form of client system requires the social worker to work alongside advocates, activists, researchers, educators, government workers and analysts in seeking social policy change. The mezzo client system requires the social worker to work closely with the staff in schools, hospitals, community centers, and prisons. Some of the activities in mezzo system include coordinating patient care, and facilitating treatment to offenders suffering from substance abuse among others (Jack, 2015). The micro system involves social workers helping children in foster care or helping the homeless to get a house. Other activities that fall within the micro client system include individual counseling and family therapy among others.
I have personal experience in mezzo social work, which entails working closely with staff in schools, hospitals, prisons, and community centers. It involves working on a wide range of problems presented by the staff working in the afore-listed areas (Brown, 2009). Notably, I lack personal experience in macro and micro client systems. In order to gain a better understanding of macro client system, I will start getting involved in activities that influence change through policies and programs. Mostly, I will operate behind the scenes with an aim of preventing problems from developing (Proctor, 2017). I will engage agency legislators, administrators and other powerful individuals in bringing change. In order to gain an understanding of the micro client system, I will start by relating closely with the family therapists, researchers, and program developers. Mostly, I will start working closely with clients in need of temporary housing, and mental health services. I will recommend to them the available government programs, and help them to reach out to the authorities.
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Social work is divided into levels of practice namely micro, mezzo, and macro. Some of the theories that guide the afore-mentioned levels include cognitive-behavioral theory, solution-focused therapy, narrative theory, and crisis theory. The cognitive-behavioral theory is focused on the relationship between feelings, behaviors, and thoughts (Proctor, 2017). In their line of duty, social workers help clients to identify and avoid destructive and irrational behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Solution-focused therapy entails helping the client to set measurable goals, and coming up with strategies of achieving the set goals (Brown, 2009). Narrative theory entails examining the personal life of a client, and encouraging the client to make use of the under-utilized skills and abilities. Crisis theory is applicable while dealing with acute crisis. It is applied on individual showing suicidal ideas.
Factually, micro, mezzo and macro aim at realizing similar missions considering they see to identify and offer solutions to emotional, social, familial, financial, and mental problems facing humanity. However, their approach towards addressing the afore-listed issues, and theories employed by social workers in interacting with individuals they wish to assist makes the difference. Sections of theories are unique to mezzo and macro levels. On their part, mezzo social workers aim at improving communities through local health services and school-based education programs (Jack, 2015). Mezzo social workers interact with the populations they are serving directly. In contrast, the macro social workers seek to understand the origin of a certain problem, the way it developed and persisted in large systems such as at national level. In their context, the macro social workers may or may not encounter the society they want to help. Their impact is felt through national programs they assist to establish. Considering the two levels of practice, aim at solving individual or widespread community needs, the most suitable theories are cognitive-behavioral theory, solution-focused therapy and narrative theory. By applying the solution-focused theory, the mezzo and macro social workers help their focus clients to come up with solutions to address the issues they are facing (Suppes, & Wells, 2013). The cognitive behavioral theory is effective in identifying the patterns influencing a certain behavior. The clients are assisted to identify and manage the emotional and social difficulties facing them.
Personally, I find it appropriate to utilize the micro and mezzo practice simultaneously. Mezzo social work has enabled me to influence social service initiatives at the local community. For instance, I influenced in establishment of a counseling center to assist the underserved members of a community. I have organized workshops to guide job-seeking individuals to apply for jobs and access unemployment benefits. From macro social work perspective, I have worked alongside organizations to create service programs to deserving persons. I support human rights groups seeking to address social ills in the society.
Brown, L. D. (2009). Making it sane: Using narrative to explore theory in a mental health consumer-run organization. Qualitative Health Research, 19 (2), 243–257. doi: 10.1177/1049732308328161
Jack, G. (2015). 'I may not know who I am, but I know where I am from': The meaning of place in social work with children and families. Child & Family Social Work, 20 (4), 415–423. doi:10.1111/cfs.12091
Proctor E. (2017). The Pursuit of Quality for Social Work Practice: Three Generations and Counting. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 8 (3), 335–353. https://doi.org/10.1086/693431
Suppes, M. & Wells, C. (2013). The Social Work Experience, An Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.