Essential Skills for Social Work Practice


Social workers work with people in societies, where they try to understand their problems. This understanding is what makes it possible for social workers to come up with plans that if implemented, can help in improving the lives of people in society. Social workers can use different tools to help them have a deeper understanding of their patients. One of these tools or approaches is the Bio-Psycho-Social Assessment that seeks to enable social workers to have an all-rounded knowledge of their patients. Benjet, Borges, Medina-Mora, Blanco, Zambrano, Orozco, & Rojas, (2017) define this approach as an in-depth interview conducted by social workers and therapists to help them understand the biological, psychological and social factors that shape how an individual is and how these factors have contributed to the current problem affecting the patient or client. This paper will conduct a Bio-Psycho-Social Assessment on a teenage from one of the minority groups. The paper will focus on an adolescent black man in one of the cities in the United States and discuss how the life they have lived has impacted and shaped their lives in the united states. 

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Part A

  • Presenting issue (including referral source)

The problem being faced here is a rebellious 16-year-old boy from the city of Detroit in Michigan.  At the age of 16, this young boy has a long history of crime, and the local law enforcement agents well know him in his city. The boy is a known active gang member, and he has been charged with the procession of an unlicensed firearm, stealing of cars, burglaries, and the use and distribution of drugs. The source of this information is from interviews conducted by parents, members of the society, and police records. The boy was also interviewed, and he admitted to many of these allegations.

  • Demographic information

The adolescent in this case study is a 16-year-old black boy living in the city of Detroit. He dropped out of high school, and he is unemployed. He is the firstborn in a family of six, and he does not know his father.

  • Current living situation

He lives in a three-bedroom council house located in the city of Detroit where he shares it with his mother and his other four siblings. The house is small for this large family, but this is what they can afford. The father does not contribute to child support, so they have to live in this small house.

  • Birth and developmental history

This young man in this case study was born in 2002 in November. Both of his parents were black. He is the firstborn of the family, and he has two brothers and two sisters.  

  • School and social relationships

When he attained the age of three, his mother enrolled him for pre-elementary education in the local school win the neighborhood. He was an average student in his early years in school. He joined a high school in the neighborhood and that his when his life started to turn for the worst. He started associating with the wrong group off students. He dropped out of high school in his second year, and he has never returned to school ever since.

  • Family members and relationships

The family set up where this black adolescent comes from is full of love. The young man has an excellent and loving relationship with his brothers and sisters. They are also very close to his mother. However, the young man does not know his father, and he has never met him. 

  • Health and medical issues (including psychological and psychiatric functioning, substance abuse)

He is in good medical condition. He does not suffer from any physical condition. However, he has had a history of mental illness since he reached the age of 10. He has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. He also has a bad temper, and he can lash at people without any provocation.     

  • Spiritual development

Even though his mother is very religious and spiritual, and she encourages the young man to attend church, he is not a religious person at all. He does not go to religion and God.

  • Social, community, and recreational activities

The patient has a strong social bond that transcends different societal settings. Even though he is close to his family, he prefers to stay and spend most of his time with other gang members. His recreational activities involve partaking in drugs as well as drinking alcohol with other gang members.   

  • Client strengths, capacities, and resources

The client’s strength lies in the fact that he has a strong bond with his family members. He was good at school, and if he can be convinced to go back, he might perform well and better his life (Coombs, Paulson, & Richardson, 2015). He does not have many resources that can be used to advance his life 

Part B

  • The challenges faced by the client

This client is facing several problems that have made it hard for him to live a healthy life lived by other adolescent boys in the United States. He is a gang member, and this is what has led him astray (Welty et al., 2018). He is addicted to drugs, he takes alcohol, and he sells drugs in the streets. He was once charged for possession of an unlicensed firearm. He also lacks a father figure at home who can advise and guide him in his teenage years. 

  • Analyze how the social environment affects the client

The social environment in Detroit has affected this client negatively. The fact that he started interacting with gang members at a very tender age made it very easy for him to join the gangs in the city (Coombs, Paulson, & Richardson, 2015). He also did not have a father figure at home to guide him, and this can be said to be one of the reasons this client became rebellious, dropped out of school, and got unto crime.  

  • Identify which human behavior or social theories may guide your practice with this individual and explain how these theories inform your assessment.

The sociological and interactional theories are the best social theories that can be used to explain this case scenario (Welty et al., 2018). The social environment the patient was born and bred was not conducive for a better upbringing. This led him to interact with criminal elements in the community who influenced his behavior negatively.

  • Explain how you would use this assessment to develop mutually agreed-upon goals to be met to address the presenting issue and challenges faced by the client. 

This client is facing a bleak future is measures are not taken by him and his family to try and arrest the runaway criminal behavior he has been exhibiting since he was aged ten years. The first step would be to make him, and his family members understand that he needs help to change his life. The client should then commit himself to work with the social worker by participating actively in the recovery program or plan. I would then start coming up with a plan that would force the client to come out of the gang and stop consuming drugs (Coombs, Paulson, & Richardson, 2015). This can be attained by taking the client into a rehabilitation center. After finishing the rehabilitation center program successfully, I will encourage him to go back to school and complete his education.  

  • Explain how you would use the identified strengths of the client(s) in a treatment plan.

The strength of this client has a strong family bond. I would use this strength by working with all the family members in the program. Their duty would be to encourage and support the client in all the steps of the plan (Velasquez, Crouch, Stephens, & DiClemente, 2015).

The best evidence-based practice point to the importance of using institutions to help drug addicts stop their addictions. This is why I intend to make sure the client attends a rehabilitation center for at least six months. This will help the client stop being addicted to drugs and alcohol.

  • Analyze the ethical issues present in the case. Explain how you will address them.

The main ethical issues present in this case is that I will be choosing different medical interventions for the client. This should not be the case as clients and patients have the right to select the therapeutic interventions they want to participate in. To avoid being unethical, I intend to work hand in hand with the patient’s mother, who will be consulted on all aspects of the program (Coombs, Paulson, & Richardson, 2015). She will be providing consent before any procedure is conducted on the patient. 


Benjet C, Borges G, Medina-Mora ME, Blanco J, Zambrano J, Orozco R, Rojas E. (2017). Drug

Use opportunities and the transition to drug use among adolescents from the United States. Chicago, IL: Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Coombs RH, Paulson MJ,  & Richardson MA. (2015). Peer vs. parental influence in substance

use among Hispanic and Anglo children and adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. (1):73–88. 

Velasquez, M., Crouch, C., Stephens, N. S., & DiClemente, C. C. (2015). Group treatment for substance abuse: A stages-of-change therapy manual. Guilford Publications. Welty, L. J., Harrison, A. J., Abram, K. M., Olson, N. D., Aaby, D. A., McCoy, K. P., … & Teplin, L. A. (2018). Health disparities in drug-and alcohol-use disorders: A 12-year longitudinal study of youths after detention. American journal of public health106(5), 872-880.

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