Task Centred Approaches to Helping Nathan Loynes
Cognitive Flexibility• Last week you were introduced to the work of DeBono and the ‘Thinking Hats’ approach to lateral thinking and problem solving.• In order to wear and switch ‘hats’, the mentor must demonstrate ‘cognitive flexibility’.
Cognitive Flexibility• Related to Gardner’s concept of multiple intelligences.• Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence.• Jones and Day (1996) discuss how social intelligence and academic intelligence might be distinct.• Jones and Day analyse Cattell-Horn’s (1966) theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence.
Task Centred ApproachesEmerged from the field of Social Work, but can be applicable to any endeavour involving casework with people.Evolved as a response to unstructured reactionary casework management.NB: Last week we considered how mentors must work with the outlook and ‘reality’ of the client. Task Centred work acknowledges that there may be times where the mentor might need to set the agenda
Task Centred ApproachesIt can be seen as ‘atheoretical’ meaning that it has ‘real life’ practical application.You might think of this as a ‘bottom up’ process (i.e. working with practical elements of people’s lives) rather than subscribing to a strong ‘top down’ theoretical discipline: Contrast person centred approaches.
Task Centred Approaches• Task Centred work is systematic and rooted in ‘Behavioural Psychology’.• (Contrast Person Centred approaches)• The task centred process is rooted in an presupposition of ‘cause and effect’.
Howe, 1987• Problems are broken down into constituent parts and dealt with discretely.• Goals are set, but, mutually agreed.• Involvement proceeds in small, sequential manageable steps.
Doel: There are four stages1. Developing a focus on the problem through effective questioning e.g. DeBono’ White Hat processes.2. Reaching agreement: Goals and contract.3. Develop goals into manageable tasks (Like Friedman Outcomes Accountability)4. Ending and reviewing the work (APIR and Reflection)
There is a critique of the Task Centred Approach• Success assumes that the client is rational (Cf Solution Focussed and Person Centred approaches)• It relies on the clients ability to make sense of what is wrong and what is wanted.• What is wanted depends on motivation and feasibility (Cf Miller and Rollnick)
Conclusion• Task centred approaches are pragmatic and hence do not rely on a great theoretical application of expertise on the part of the mentor.• TC approaches are able to achieve tangible results very quickly.• Mentee’s are able to appreciate the benefits of this approach, especially if results are tangible and timely.
Mentor’s mandate (anti- oppressively, please!)• Task Centred approaches can prevent ‘drift’ in casework and allows the practitioner to define certain aspects of the relationship including some of the goals. However, Marsh and Doel are at pains to express that this mentor goal setting should be achieved with agreement and in an anti-oppressive manner.