Narrative in Social Work Practice: The Power and Possibility of Story
Dr Esther Chow PhD, RSW, MNTCW (Melb & Dulwich)
Prof Alice Ming-Lin Chong PhD., RSW, MH.
City University of Hong Kong
Francis Yum-Kwok Li MSW, BA(SW), RSW
The Neighborhood Advice-Action Council
Alice Lai-Ngor MAK MA, BSW, RSW
YANG Memorial Methodist Social Service
The interest of positive aging has inspired social work profession in developing innovative evidence-informed practice to promote older people aging successfully. One overarching challenge is to provide evidences whether any conclusions can be drawn to benefit aging successfully. This symposium addresses this question by discussing empirical findings in applying narrative practice in working with older adults and their families in facing different life challenges. In collaborations between universities and service providers, we have developed new knowledge and capacities to optimize high level of physical and mental functioning, manage to cope effectively and maintain active connections among older adults with younger generations and the community. Chow1 adopts a ‘Tree of Life’ metaphor to rediscover life wisdom of older adults through narrative conversations. Chong et al.2, apply life story approach to optimize intergenerational solidarity. Li, et al3, adopts a ‘Train of Life’ metaphor in facilitating persons living with chronic pain to re-author their relationships with pain. Mak et al4, use letters to document the voices of love from older persons with dementia to appreciate their carers. Connecting these studies, the presenters discuss the power and possibilities of stories, its implications of these practices in response to the changing needs of our older population.
Empowering Family Caregivers: A Call for Integrated Care with Innovation
Dr Vivian Wei-Qun Lou BEd, Med, MSW, PhD, RSW
The University of Hong Kong
Ricky I.K. Lee
Christian Family Service Centre
Family caregivers provide continuing care support to older adults with acute, transitional, and chronic impairments. Better support for family caregivers is associated with better health outcomes for frail older adults and the well-being of caregivers . This symposium comprises three presentations that, together, aim to present an integrated care-approach that could empower family caregivers in the community. The first paper reported on a survey of 427 dementia caregivers living in the community that focused on caregiver burden and positive aspects of caregiving. Seventy percent of the participants were members of the baby boom generation, and thirty percent were members of generation X. The findings showed that generation X participants were less likely to report positive aspects of caregiving and more likely to report a greater level of burden. The second paper reported on a media-initiated social innovation on the origins of the first caregiver magazine, Da Ren, in Hong Kong.
Guided by the Content, Input, Process and Products (CIPP) evaluation framework, the findings identified key pathways of empowerment including: enabling active participation, cultivating Key Opinion Leaders, and nurturing a learning community. This initiative was able to engagegeneration X caregivers and to give them positive experiences with enhanced competence. The third paper reported on a caregiver support intervention delivered by a team with multidisciplinary backgrounds including nursing, social work, and care work. A step-by-step protocol has been established based on a pilot program. Best practices include starting from providing instrumental care, nursing knowledge and skills coaching, a tech-assistant communication platform. The program was found to be effective in reducing the burden among older caregivers.
Both generation groups deserve support under the idea of integrated care by emphasizing strengthening caregiver-centred care and support through the promotion of a comprehensive delivery of quality service across the life-course.
Child Protection is Everyone’s Responsibility: A Journey to Equip an Entire Organisation to Keep Children Safe
With child abuse cases being reported in increasing numbers in Hong Kong, we must recognise that we each have a crucial role to play to keep children safe from abuse. At this critical time, how do we increase professionalism and build the capacity of our teams to understand their responsibilities to protect children from harm?
Mother’s Choice is piloting cross-organisational child protection initiatives, a model designed around two core pillars of policy and training. The project’s goal is to ensure these activities impact every area of the organisation, from the frontline to the operations teams. Building child protection policies in critical areas such as safe recruitment, client confidentiality, and marketing communications policies is a key step in minimising risks of harm to children. To bring these policies to life, Mother’s Choice is piloting an innovative three-tier training program, including an eLearning for all staff and volunteers, covering how to identify, respond to, and report child abuse, and Code of Conduct standards that all teams are required to sign and uphold. In this workshop, we will share our journey in the design and implementation of this Child Protection pilot, from securing buy-in from leadership, working with legal teams to build robust policies, developing and launching interactive training, and measuring and evaluating the project’s impact. In increasing professionalism in this area, we have the opportunity to impact every child Hong Kong.
Application of Positive Psychology in Social Work Groups
Dr Sylvia Yuk-Ching Kwok LaiBSocSci, MSocSci., PhD.
Remus Kai-Chun Kwok RSW
Eric MY Tsang
City University of Hong Kong
With reference to Professor Martin Seligman, positive psychology is the study of subjective experiences, positive individual traits and programs that assist in improving an individual’s quality of life while decreasing the incidence of psychopathology. This has led to a change from a pathological or deficiency orientation to a personal strength orientation. Positive psychology has enriched traditional approaches such as cognitive behavioural therapy and narrative therapy. Positive traits comprise six virtues. The virtues are derived from religion and philosophies of different cultures, namely, wisdom and knowledge, humanity, justice, temperance, transcendence, and courage. There are a total of 24 character strengths in the six virtues. Within wisdom and knowledge, there are love of learning, perspective, judgement, creativity, and curiosity. In humanity, there are love, kindness, and social intelligence. There are three elements in justice, i.e. teamwork, leadership, and fairness. Humility, prudence, forgiveness, and self-regulation are included in the virtue of temperance, while zest, bravery, honesty, and perseverance are incorporated in the virtue of courage. Lastly, transcendence includes the strengths of appreciation of beauty and excellence, spirituality, gratitude, humor and hope. Positive emotions, positive relationships, positive engagement, positive accomplishment, positive meaning are the key elements leading to a flourishing life.
Research showed that use of character strengths can help promote positive emotions, positive relationships, and positive engagement. In this workshop, participants will be guided to be aware of their signature character strengths, explore other strengths and learn to apply the strengths appropriately and innovatively. Participants will learn activities related to perspective, creativity, love, kindness, social intelligence, teamwork, forgiveness, self-regulation, gratitude, hope, perseverance, etc. Adopting the experiential learning approach, participants can also learn how to lead the clients to attain the state of flow, have a sense of accomplishment, and explore the meaning of life.
Application and Research of Strengths Model Case Management in Hong Kong: Key Findings and Lessons Learnt
Case management is the bread and butter of social work, however, integrating strengths perspective and empowerment approach into the practice is easier said than done. Strengths Model Case Management (SMCM) was developed by the University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare in the mid-1980’s as a response to traditional deficit-oriented approaches. The Strengths Model is both a philosophy of practice and a set of tools and methods designed to enhance recovery for individuals with mental health conditions and/or addiction problems. The Model uses the following tools as the chief method of delivering service and ensuring the integrity of the interventions: Strengths Assessment, Personal Recovery Plan, Strengths-based Group Supervision (and other methods such as field mentoring), and Fidelity Review. Thus far, SMCM is the only system with a valid fidelity measure (ensuring it is truly strength-based) and clear documentation of intervention tools. A research unit titled SMART (Strengths Model Application, Research and Training) was established in 2016 at the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong based on a dynamic and productive partnership with Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service, Caritas Hong Kong and Tung Wah Group of Hospitals since 2012.
This practice/ research-focused workshop has two objectives: 1. We will describe the SMCM practice and examine the challenges to implementing SMCM in Hong Kong in particular, from a cultural perspective for instance, how the topic of strength is introduced in the conversation with service user. 2. We will also evaluate the potential implications of strengths-based practice on recovery-oriented services for people with lived experience of mental illness. To date, we have gathered data from quasi-experimental study (completed), randomized controlled trial (in the final stage, funded by General Research Fund, Research Grants Council, Hong Kong), in-depth semi-structured interviews, nominal groups, and field observations of SMCM sessions.
Indigenous Mom Reclaiming Her Child Battling with Past Trauma and Addiction
Timothy Lee MSW, RSW
Alberta Children’s Services – Calgary Region
Alberta Children Services adopts a model of intervention that utilizes collaboration, family expertise and harm reduction to address the multiple barriers of families while honoring their strengths and natural supports. Barriers and challenges continue to exist. These include family members’ past trauma, parents’ disabilities, mental health concerns, addiction.
This presentation will explore common interventions used and services available for an indigenous mother and her infant son who were involved with child protection. The family was involved with Children’s Services due to issues of parental addiction, special needs and mental health. The mother was a child in care. Regretfully, at young age, she was being alienated from her culture, language and community. As a result of uprooting, this mother suffers from spiritual poverty which landed her for years of addiction. This mother was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder but she has strong desire to break cycle. This presentation will show how this mom seeks for healing and well being through spiritual support and re-connection with her heritage.
Moving the Boundaries: Co-creating an Innovative Online Crisis Support Services for Youth in Hong Kong
Prof Paul Siu-Fai Yip BSc, PhD, DCS
Dr Lynn Tang PhD, Mphil, BA
HKU Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention
Ken Ngai BSc, PgD, MSc, MBA, LLM
The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups
Caritas Hong Kong
Suicide is the leading cause of death for youth in Hong Kong. Help-seeking patterns among youth have shifted away from traditional suicide hotlines to social messaging and text-based channels. Multiple agencies, including service providers, university research centre and IT experts, co-created the Jockey Club Online Youth Emotional Support “Open Up” which offers the first 24/7 operated online-crisis support service targeting youth between 11-35 years old in Hong Kong. Open Up aims to engage at-risk youth who do not seek help from conventional services and connect them with appropriate services, increase their awareness of mental health issues and improve their willingness to seek help. This symposium reflects on the achievements and challenges encountered in its first year of service with sharing from the perspectives of different partners.
Youth can instantly message with counsellors through web portal and popular social media platforms. Connectedness care through text messages is used to engage with help seekers to facilitate referral of services where appropriate. Service, IT and evaluation teams work closely to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the service. Online training courses for volunteers are developed and real -time suicide risk level for triage and automated case summary are under development using machine learning. Evaluation is incorporated in a dynamic manner to provide quick feedback to service operators and IT team to enhance service delivery. Online crisis support counselling will be demanded by an even broader population in the near future. Achievements and challenges of ‘Open Up’ as a unique cross-agency service will be discussed in terms of the use of technology, frontline services and training, online and offline collaboration, embedded evaluation and the partnership model. Discussions will have implication for using technology to develop similar services for other at-risk groups in Hong Kong and overseas.