Level 3

Understand Interventions

An intervention is a purposeful action that endeavours to overcome a difficulty by changing a situation from what it is to what is wanted. When it’s a social work intervention, the change should be connected to the purpose of social work where an intervention results in an improvement in the quality of life.

 If you were to reduce social work down to its core, it would amount to two inter-connected processes 1) assessment and 2) intervention. If you don’t assess a situation, you won’t know what intervention is needed, and without interventions there is little point in doing an assessment.

Being able to assess a situation and plan an intervention is a core requirement in social work as indicated by BASW capabilities framework which recommends that students and first year social workers learn how to assess, plan, implement and review effective interventions. It also recommends that more experience workers expand their range of interventions and gradually develop an expertise.

This raises two important points a) how good is the assessment and b) are there any interventions that you can apply. To answer this, firstly, the quality of an assessment could be questioned and secondly, a major setback for practitioners is there are not many ready-to-use interventions that can be applied, particularly during time-sensitive-casework which severely restricts their ability to deliver positive change.

Another aspect to consider is that interventions often go hand -in-hand with other skills such as problem solving, communication, ability to manage change, and deal with resistance. Besides knowing about interventions, it’s also important to understand factors relating to its implementation, mapping progress, and recognising when to adjust responses as this contributes to its success.