What is social casework – 4Ps and Principles

Doing social work means helping others in various manners. There are many methods by which a person can help others, and one of them is Social Casework. Social casework is a vital and primary technique of Social work. Here we will help readers to understand what social casework is about and how it works.

Quick Takeaways

  • Social casework is like social work where you can help individuals by providing them with solutions for their problems.
  • In social casework, you will get an understanding of the problems faced by the individuals.
  • It will help you to guide for living a satisfying life. 
  • There are 5 Ps of social casework – Person, Place, Process, Professionalism, and Problem.
  • Social casework also involves some principles like self-determination, individualization, communication, Acceptance, and Confidentiality.

However, we will recommend you read till the end so that you do not miss any of the crucial facts about social casework. 

What is social casework - 4Ps and Principles

What is social Casework?

Social casework is an important technique of social work. Its main aim is to help individuals in getting solutions to their problems. Many environmental or personal factors make it difficult for them to adjust to society. The caseworkers follow a systematic approach to studying and identifying the difficulties that an individual is facing. They help them to overcome these problems and balance their social life. You may also need to help the people to become foster parents.

“Social Casework is a method of social work which intervenes in the psycho-social aspects of a person’s life to improve, to restore, to maintain and to enhance his social functioning by improving his role performance.” – Warner Boehm

Advantages of social Casework

  • Understanding and finding solutions to the internal problems that an individual is facing. 
  • Helping in strengthening the ego power of an individual.
  • Guiding the clients to live a more satisfying social life. 
  • Overcoming the problem in social functioning.
  • Developing the skills of social functioning. 
  • Helping the client to adjust to their social surroundings.
  • To bring the balance between the client and their social life.
  • You can also become a director of the social service.
What is social casework - 4Ps and Principles

What are the 5Ps of Social Casework?

Every social casework has 5 basic Ps that are crucial elements of it-

1. Person

A person can be anyone who has any kind of Social-Psychological problem and needs assistance. Such people are known as a client. When a person or a client is unable to meet with his/her social problems, then he/she takes the help of caseworkers. According to Grace Mathew Freud, it is important to keep the following points in mind-

  • The behaviour of the individual is the outcome of the previous behaviour. 
  • For the growth and development of an individual, it is important to get certain basic needs.
  • Emotional needs can be fulfilled or can be withdrawn through intellectual reasoning.
  • Behaviour is the response to the physical and emotional needs of individuals.
  • The behaviour of others can only be understood concerning one’s intellectual aspects.

2. Problem

A problem is a situation that occurs due to the person’s surroundings that stops him/her from working effectively. It becomes a stressful situation for the person and affects the normal functioning of the person. Such problems occur due to many reasons like economic problems, personal conflicts, etc. There may be 2 types of problems- Inter and Intra Personal Problems.

What is social casework - 4Ps and Principles

 Inter-Personal – Problem – It is a situation in which only one person is affected and its impact is also faced by one person.

Intra – Personal Problem – It is a situation in which more than 1 person gets affected.

3. Place

It refers to the social service agencies that help social caseworkers help their clients to meet their social functioning. These agencies help people with Social-Psychological problems. Social Case Work agencies vary in many manners like money, interests, resources available, etc. To identify the type of agency, there are three major factors-

  1. Source of Support – Generally there are 2 types of support – Government Taxation and Voluntary Taxation.
  1. Source of Professional Authority – Primary agencies have full authority over their agency whereas secondary agencies take authority from the host agency.
  1. Special function and area of concern-  Primary agencies give their services in a particular area of social work. Whereas, secondary agencies give their services in other professions like education, law, and medicine. 
What is social casework - 4Ps and Principles

4. Process

The process is a chain of actions that are required to solve the problems of the client. It includes motivating the client to effectively coping up with his/her internal problems. The caseworker first observes the client’s problem, capabilities, desires, and emotion, and plan how to deal with the client. There are some important factors while treating a client’s problem-

  1. The problem can only be solved if the necessary tools are available to the person.
  2. Many times people are not able to find the solution to their problem simply because of ignorance of the facts of the issues.
  3. If the client is doused with emotional strength, mobilization is necessary for himself/herself. 
  4. Many people are not able to solve their problems. This is because they do not have exposure to systematic thinking. In such a case, the caseworker accepts and simultaneously supports the effort of an individual for better social adjustments.

5. Professionalism 

There are many relationships that we have in our lives. Some are long-lasting, like relations with your mother or father and some are temporary like relations with your neighbours. Similarly, there are some professional relations like relations with your teacher, doctor, or any other professional. Social caseworkers’ relationship with their clients is just like a professional relationship.

What is social casework - 4Ps and Principles

Throughout the process of casework, a strong healthy professional relationship is built between the client and the caseworker. A healthy relationship is the ultimate key to the successful ending of helpfulness. This professionalism includes recognizing the client’s internal problems and helping them to live a balanced life. 

Principles Of Social Case Work

Many Principles help social caseworkers in treating their clients-

1. Principle of Acceptance

This means that caseworkers must have to accept their clients the way they are. Many factors make the client feel fear while meeting the caseworker for the first time. Therefore, caseworkers must be friendly toward their clients and accept their strengths, weaknesses, and their positive or negative attitude.

It will help the client to open up with the caseworker. This is a therapeutic approach so that the caseworker can easily understand the problem of the client in a better way.

2. Principle Of Communication

Traditionally, communication means exchanging any kind of information. But in this profession, it includes the exchange of thoughts, feelings, views, etc regarding the problem client is facing. It helps the caseworker to know the situation of the client more efficiently.

What is social casework - 4Ps and Principles

3. Principle Of Self-Determination

This principle gives the right to clients to make their own decision during the time of the problem-solving process with the help of caseworkers. The caseworker, on the other hand, needs to respect the decision of the client. 

4. Principle of Indivizualization

“Individualization is the recognition & understanding of each client’s unique qualities & the differential use of principles & methods in assisting each towards a better adjustment.”- W.A. Friedlander

There will be times when the caseworker may find individuals with the same problem. But, it is not important that the reason behind their problem is the same. It means that the caseworker must not analyze the problem of the client from only one aspect. They must look after all the factors and then start with the process of problem-solving. Under this principle, caseworkers must have knowledge of human behaviour. Also, he must be capable of entering the feelings of the individual. 

5. Principle Of Confidentiality

The word confidential means to preserve the information of the client. The caseworker must keep the information given by the client a secret. This principle is the right and ethical obligation of the client. 


Social Casework is one of the vital techniques of social work. It helps people who are dealing with some kind of Social-Psychological problems.  Social caseworkers are the people who try to figure out the internal problems of an individual and help them to reconnect with society. They help their clients in balancing their social life.

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