Approach to understanding immigrants

identify and describe the diverse population and the unique characteristics and/or the distinctive needs of the population in 3–4 brief sentences.

The agency that I did my field experience with I was able to work with a very diverse population. The population included both children and adults and many ethnicities. In this case the individual that I worked with was a 17-year-old African American female who had lost three very close relatives in a short period of time.

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Explain how you would use the life model to help the client understand and describe their challenges.

I would use the life model to help the client understand and describe her challenges by improving her ability to manage stressor(s) through more effective personal and situational appraisals and behavioral skills (Turner, 2017). This will allow my client to manage and cope with the stress that she has in her life.

Explain how the problem-solving model can help the client address their challenges.

Using the problem-solving model, I can help my client address her challenges by making her aware of her surroundings and those who are there to help her. A person’s social environment is beneficial and has a great significance on human behavior (Turner, 2017).

How is the client using defense mechanisms, and how is that impeding the ability to problem solve and move forward in the life model?

In this case the client had quite a few defense mechanisms. First, she was shutting out the people who were the closest to her, her family and friends. She had stopped talking to her primary friend group and was closing herself up in her room and not communicating with anyone in her family. When she communicated with her family it was angry. She was acting as though she wanted nothing to do with them. She had also stopped eating and doing any of her normal activities. With her shutting everyone out it has impeded on the ability to problem solve and move forward in the life model. If she is unwilling to work with and talk to the people in her social circle it is going to be hard to get her to recognize that those in her environment are there to help her.

Identify where the gaps are in applying the life model for this population.

In order for the life model to work the client must be open and willing to participate. One of the gaps when dealing with a young population is that they may not want to get the help they need because they may feel as though it is unnecessary and that they don’t need. Another gap is that the parents may not consent to some of the help that is being offered to the child.

When looking at the gaps, explain which theory might be helpful in filling the gaps of the life model when working with this population.

The theory that I would use to fill the gaps in the life model when working with this population is cognitive behavioral theory. The cognitive behavioral theory would be helpful because it focuses on the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This will allow the population to understand how all these behaviors are intertwined and work together to either cause issues or solve them.


Turner, F.J. (Ed). (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches (6th ed.). Oxford University Press.


Colleague 2


Identify and describe the diverse population and the unique characteristics and/or the distinctive needs of the population in 3–4 brief sentences.

My field placement has allowed me to work with some of the most vulnerable individuals dependent on intensive case management to assist them with housing, employment, and ways to increase income and health benefits. This population includes men and women, with adult ages ranging from 18+, and diversified cultures that must all be willing to function in communal living. Due to the location of the shelter, it is predominantly African American and Hispanic culture. To be more specific with the individuals I have served, I am assisting a woman over the age of 65 with no income who faces extreme barriers due to her immigration status and no family due to her immigration status.

Explain how you would use the life model to help clients understand and describe their challenges.

The life model focus on the environment and how it impacts our daily functions. Living at a homeless shelter is complex, and it exposes people to mental health, substance abuse, and poor living conditions. “People need to receive from their environment the resources essential for development and survival” (Tuner, 2017). To effectively apply the life model to help clients, you must first identify what challenges individuals are more vulnerable to and meet the client where they are at. It would be best to treat all individuals the same; it is beneficial to analyze each problem case by case to improve the client’s overall well-being.

Explain how the problem-solving model can help the client address their challenges.

The problem-solving theory, developed by H. Perlman, builds on and seeks to enhance clients’ abilities to face psychosocial problems within the potential of a supportive and focused relationship that combines reality and challenge (Turner, 2017). This particular theory is essential for clients to identify their presenting problem and find practical solutions that would alleviate stressors or challenges that bring continuous issues. With my specific client, I thoroughly analyzed all of her presenting problems and prioritized the most problematic problem. The lack of income contributed to most of her presenting problems, such as housing.

How is the client using defense mechanisms, and how is that impeding the ability to problem solve and move forward in the life model?

Initially, the client was avoidant and refused to discuss all her presenting problems due to the lack of assistance she has received in the past. After further discussion and patience with the client, she mentioned that in the past, case managers have neglected to assist her with her problems. Therefore, she felt it was not necessary to communicate with anyone at the agency. I did advise the client without me knowing her challenges, I would not be able to entirely improve her quality of life at the shelter, and I understand her reasons for not wanting to explain her circumstances to me. Over the weeks, I checked in on the client weekly, which made her more comfortable communicating with me. Based on her age, I determined she did not need much income to qualify for project-based housing in the community. The client is awaiting her move in date at the newly constructed development in South Los Angeles.

Identify where the gaps are in applying the life model for this population.

The life model analyzes how clients integrate with the environment and how it affects their well-being. For this case, the gaps in applying the life model would be difficult due to the client’s inability to fully open up and communicate her needs. To effectively apply the life model, social workers must have complete knowledge of all the client’s presenting problems to find effective solutions.

When looking at the gaps, explain which theory might help fill the gaps of the life model when working with this population.

The theory I would use to fill the gaps in the life model would be Solution-focused theory. Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) holds clients accountable for solutions rather than responsible for problems. Building on a strengths perspective and using a time-limited approach, SFBT postulates that positive and long-lasting change can occur in a relatively brief period of time by focusing on “solution talk” instead of “problem talk” (Turner, 2017). Applying this theory would focus more on the problem-solving aspect involving the client and environment than the problem. Social work practitioners should always strive to find the most effective solution to their unique challenges.



Piedra, L. M., & Engstrom, D. W. (2009). Segmented assimilation theory and the life model: an integrated approach to understanding immigrants and their children. Social Work, 54(3), 270.

Turner, F. J. (Ed.). (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches (6th ed.). Oxford University Press.

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