Talking and writing about the problem solving process in social work

Yoel Ben-Avraham Teaching Students to Solve Social Problems As educators, we know that social problems among students are common issues in our classrooms.

Talking and writing about the problem solving process in social work

Common barriers[ edit ] Common barriers to problem solving are mental constructs that impede our ability to correctly solve problems. These barriers prevent people from solving problems in the most efficient manner possible.

Five of the most common processes and factors that researchers have identified as barriers to problem solving are confirmation biasmental setfunctional fixednessunnecessary constraints, and irrelevant information.

Confirmation bias Confirmation bias is an unintentional bias caused by the collection and use of data in a way that favors a preconceived notion. The beliefs affected by confirmation bias do not need to have motivationthe desire to defend or find substantiation for beliefs that are important to that person.

Nickerson argued that those who killed people accused of witchcraft demonstrated confirmation bias with motivation. Researcher Michael Allen found evidence for confirmation bias with motivation in school children who worked to manipulate their science experiments in such a way that would produce favorable results.

InPeter Cathcart Wason conducted an experiment in which participants first viewed three numbers and then created a hypothesis that proposed a rule that could have been used to create that triplet of numbers. When testing their hypotheses, participants tended to only create additional triplets of numbers that would confirm their hypotheses, and tended not to create triplets that would negate or disprove their hypotheses.

Thus research also shows that people can and do work to confirm theories or ideas that do not support or engage personally significant beliefs.

Mental set Mental set was first articulated by Abraham Luchins in the s and demonstrated in his well-known water jug experiments. After Luchins gave his participants a set of water jug problems that could all be solved by employing a single technique, he would then give them a problem that could either be solved using that same technique or a novel and simpler method.

Luchins discovered that his participants tended to use the same technique that they had become accustomed to despite the possibility of using a simpler alternative.

Therefore, it is often necessary for people to move beyond their mental sets in order to find solutions. Maier observed that participants were often unable to view the object in a way that strayed from its typical use, a phenomenon regarded as a particular form of mental set more specifically known as functional fixedness, which is the topic of the following section.

When people cling rigidly to their mental sets, they are said to be experiencing fixation, a seeming obsession or preoccupation with attempted strategies that are repeatedly unsuccessful. Functional fixedness Functional fixedness is a specific form of mental set and fixation, which was alluded to earlier in the Maier experiment, and furthermore it is another way in which cognitive bias can be seen throughout daily life.


In research that highlighted the primary reasons that young children are immune to functional fixedness, it was stated that "functional fixedness For instance, imagine the following situation: If the man starts looking around for something in the house to kill the bug with instead of realizing that the can of air freshener could in fact be used not only as having its main function as to freshen the air, he is said to be experiencing functional fixedness.

Functional fixedness can happen on multiple occasions and can cause us to have certain cognitive biases. If people only see an object as serving one primary focus than they fail to realize that the object can be used in various ways other than its intended purpose.

This can in turn cause many issues with regards to problem solving. Common sense seems to be a plausible answer to functional fixedness. One could make this argument because it seems rather simple to consider possible alternative uses for an object. Perhaps using common sense to solve this issue could be the most accurate answer within this context.

With the previous stated example, it seems as if it would make perfect sense to use the can of air freshener to kill the bug rather than to search for something else to serve that function but, as research shows, this is often not the case. Functional fixedness limits the ability for people to solve problems accurately by causing one to have a very narrow way of thinking.

Functional fixedness can be seen in other types of learning behaviors as well. For instance, research has discovered the presence of functional fixedness in many educational instances.

Researchers Furio, Calatayud, Baracenas, and Padilla stated that " There are several hypotheses in regards to how functional fixedness relates to problem solving.

If there is one way in which a person usually thinks of something rather than multiple ways then this can lead to a constraint in how the person thinks of that particular object.

This can be seen as narrow minded thinking, which is defined as a way in which one is not able to see or accept certain ideas in a particular context. Functional fixedness is very closely related to this as previously mentioned. This can be done intentionally and or unintentionally, but for the most part it seems as if this process to problem solving is done in an unintentional way.Limited problem solving occurs when a consumer previously set criteria for a purchase but then encounters a new brand or model.

Extended problem solving results when brands are difficult to categorize or evaluate. to participate in the limited problem-solving process. a. In writing the final report, Jack should remember to.

The helping process used in social work is guided by a problem-solving model. This model provides a systematic, sequential or step-by-step framework to guide the helping process. Identify, define and assess the problem In this first step of the problem-solving process, the social worker enables clients to tell their story (Egan, ).

E-News Exclusive. Reviewing Suicide Prevention Skills. By Jessica Crowe, MSW, LICSW. You have a new client. Or maybe, it is a current client with a history of . Social workers also work as advocates for individuals or for the community, trying to make society a more functional, supportive place.

Social workers must be empathetic, yet objective, self-aware, engaged, and motivated by a genuine desire to help the clients.

In nearly every career sector, problem solving is one of the key skills that employers seek in job applicants. It is hard to find a blue collar, administrative, managerial, or professional position that doesn't require problem solving skills of some kind.

With the continued growth of the social work field comes increased opportunities for social workers and human service professionals to improve the lives of challenged individuals.

talking and writing about the problem solving process in social work

Before entering the field of social work, it is important to consider the core skills that are essential for successful career as a social worker.

Problem Solving.

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