Features of the Counseling Process for People with Disabilities of Life-Sustaining Activity in Psychosocial Work
PhD of Psychological Sciences,
Kyiv National Linguistic University (Ukraine, Kyiv),
Assistant Professor of Psychology and Pedagogy,
“Ukraine” University, (Kyiv, Ukraine),
Assistant Professor of Social Work and Pedagogy,
Master of Social Work,
University “Ukraine”, (Kyiv, Ukraine)
Based on the experimental data, in the article are marked the features of consultative practice in social work with people with disabilities. In the article are presented next terms "people with restrictions of life-sustaining activity", "counseling in social work." There are specified normative legal documents where is defined the nature of counseling support.
In the worked out questionnaire are presented questions, which allow identifying of the consultative practice areas in social workers’ job. The sample group is presented by social workers of two countries: Lithuania and Ukraine. In the research also were involved the recipients of social services in Ukraine.
In the characteristics’ structure were selected such measurements as: social workers’ age, work experience, education level, quality and quantity analysis of consultations per one social services’ recipient till problem solving. The latest data were compared with analysis of the received responses of people with disabilities of life-sustaining activity. In addition, it is presented the analysis of certain types of consultative practice and professional roles’ performance.
Keywords: counseling, psychosocial counseling, people with disabilities, people with restrictions of life-sustaining activity, social worker, psychologist.
Особливості консультативного процесу для осіб з обмеженою життєдіяльністю у психосоціальній роботі
кандидат психологічних наук,
Київський національний лінгвістичний університет (Україна, Київ),
кафедра психології та педагогіки,
кафедра соціальної роботи і педагогіки,
Магістр социальной работы
Універститет «Україна» (Україна, Київ),
У статті на основі отриманих експериментальних даних виокремлені особливості консультативних практик в соціальній роботі з особами з обмеженнями життєдіяльності. Представлені терміни «особи з обмеженням життєдіяльності», «консультування у соціальній роботі». Вказані нормативно-правові документи, в яких визначено характер консультативної допомоги.
У розробленій анкеті представле4ні питання, які дозволили виокремити напрями консультативних практик в роботі соціальних працівників. Вибірка здійснена на соціальних працівниках Литви та України. В досліджені взяли участь отримувачі соцівльних послуг в Україні.
У структурі характеристик були виокремлені наступні параметри: вік соціальних працівників, стаж роботи, рівень освіти, аналіз якості і кількості консультацій на одного отримувача соціальних послуг. Останні дані порівнювалися з аналізом відповідей осіб з обмеженням життєдіяльності. Представлений також аналіз окремих видів консультативних практик і виконання при цьому їх професійних ролей.
Ключові слова: психосоціальне консультування, люди з інвалідністю, люди з обмеженнями життєдіяльності, ролі консультанта, соціальний працівник, психолог.
Problem statement and its importance. An immanent part of psychosocial support is the provision of consultative services by social work specialists. Long ago rendering of the consultative service, in a foreign social work practice means case management, has proved its effectiveness in solving problems, with which a person appeals to different social institutions.
The fact of the growing number of people with so-called “restrictions of life-sustaining activity” cannot be overlooked. In the “Rehabilitation of persons with disabilities” Act of Ukraine restrictions of life-sustaining activity are claimed to be “in full or partial loss of the person’s ability or opportunity to self-service, independent movement, communication, guidance, behavior control as a result of illness, injury or congenital disorders”, but here this is about people with psycho-physical disorders. Of course, people with disabilities are only one social group of people, who need counseling services. To persons with restrictions of life-sustaining activity specialists may include different categories of socially unprotected people, including people with different states of psycho-physical health, kids and individuals, who find themselves in difficult life circumstances, and the other groups.
Research analysis of the problem. Counseling, as a form of social and psychological support, became the object of the scientific research for representatives of different fields of science: psychology, social work, law, social pedagogy, medicine and others. Particularly, in the works of M. Bityanova, M. Minihaliyeva, M. Halahuzova, S. Vaskivska, O. Bondarenko and other the issue of consultative activity of the professional psychologist is considered as a direct form of psychological support for person, who needs an active intervention in his/her social interaction, but not in his/her mental condition. In scientific studies of I. Zvyeryeva, O. Pozhydayeva, A. Kapska, L. Mardahayeva, S. Palchevskiy, O. Bezpalko the counseling in the social sphere is defined as an activity, which resulted in the goal achieving and changing the activity object; as a social technology, a way to reduce the negative influence of significant problem on the subject.
Partly this issue brought up in works of E. Holostova, I. Ivanova, V. Shahray, V. Bliznyuk and others, where raised the problem of social factors influence on person’s mental health, of psychological support features to families with children with disabilities, of some consultative work aspects of social teacher in educational system.
Implementation of consultative services is spelled out in a series of normative and legal documents, including the Social Services Act of Ukraine, the order №537 from 03.09.2012 “On the approval of the list of social services provided to people, who are in difficult life circumstances”, the order № 678 from 02.07.2015 “On the approval of Governmental standard of counseling social services” from the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine and is included to the main functions that social worker and practical psychologist make in professional activity.
Analysis of the latest scientific resources, including Minihaliyeva M.R. (2008) and Shmelyova N.B. (2013) works, allows emphasizing of the employee humanistic potential in socially important professions, where is suggested the development of respect, acknowledgment of dignity of another person, belonging of another person, psychological integrity and individuality; professional and value potential of employee. 
As it is pointed out by M. Minihaliyeva, among the main professional values of the social worker and psychologist is a desire to help person, who got into difficult social situation, and wish to participate in creating the system of population social protection.
However, despite the fact, that, seemingly, the social and psychological literature has enough scientific reports about how, by whom and on what terms this service should be given to population, there is no consensus on even the definition of “counseling in psychosocial work”.
In psychosocial work the counseling is considered as technology in social services system and as a special form of social support given through psychological influence on a person or group of people. The “counseling” technology is actively used by specialists from different social support centers in solving the medical, juridical, psychological, social and pedagogical problems of the social services customers. Counseling is made by psychologist and social worker both during direct face-to-face contact with client and telephonically.
At the same time, as practice of psychosocial support shows, the implementation of required function is associated with a number of difficulties: with an approach on the organization of consultative activity of lawyers, involved in social work medical workers, practical psychologists and social workers, primarily involved in the prevention process; with absence of a clear and unambiguous definition of “counseling”.
Our understanding of “counseling in psychosocial work” is a special form of the social and psychological influence on a person, with the purpose of person’s socialization, rehabilitation in social and psychological status, his/her social functions optimization, communication.
The purpose of the article is a comparative characteristic of the consultative services features for people with restrictions of life-sustaining activity in the psychosocial work system in Ukraine and Lithuania.
The study was conducted as part of an international educational program of double diploma "Social work" University (Shyaulyay, Lithuania) and the University "Ukraine" (Ukraine).
Sample of the research: 189 people participated in the research, 39 of whom work in the social services centers in Kyiv and Andrushivka cities (Ukraine) and in Siauliai (Lithuania). In addition to those of the group, 150 receivers of the counseling social service participated in the research (Ukraine).
Methodology and methods of the research. To implement a specified purpose, we used the authorial questionnaire that consists of 27 open-ended and closed-ended questions. The questionnaire was developed in two languages: in Ukrainian for the Ukrainian sampling and in Russian for Lithuanian social workers.
During the questionnaire developing we considered certain consultative practice features: the success of counseling is determined by numerous factors, where the main place takes the idea that social work specialist must have well-developed moral and ethic qualities, which define the professional consultant ethics (Panok V.G., 2013).
The questionnaire structure differed on question blocks arranged in certain sequence. The number of meetings with respondents was limited to two. For analysis of the received results, answers for some questions – 11, 11b, 14, were calculated as index due to the next formula: Σ (nj * aј) / N; where nj is the number of respondents, who answered these questions in a numerical estimate, corresponding the scale point; aј is the weight of each scale point; N = Σnj is the number of respondents who answered the question (the sum of the responses in all the alternatives).
In the data analysis, we used the method of content analysis for the accompanying documents of social services consumers and their quality assessment of the received consultative service.
Principles of sampling of research participants: analysis of research material, obtained in the process of observation and questioning Lithuanian and Ukrainian social workers showed some differences in the general dynamics of the psychosocial work.
To our mind, these differences may be related not only to the age characteristics, but also to the level of professional education, to population categories and to the psychosocial work specific (Table 1).
Regarding the educational level index of professional training, we obtained the results, which indicate no significant differences in specialists training in both countries. The results are presented in Table 2.
Table 2. Groups characteristics on professional training level in % and absolute numbers
Another indicator concerning professional education is the percentage allocation of the Ukrainian social workers with a second higher education (37% of the total respondents), including 19,3%, who have a psychological education and 21,5 – with pedagogical education.
Most of the Ukrainian and Lithuanian social workers, who participated in the research, denoted their work experience is less than 10 years, that is, given that education accounts for 19-22 years for a period of active youth. The results are presented in Table 2.
It may be noted that this is the age of the young person, for whom the development in other social life areas is signature: own home building, starting a family, having children. Activity in all areas of life influences on the formation of human’s personality and makes his/her personal and professional development.
As a result of analysis proved to be significant differences in the scale of “education level” that confirms our hypothesis that the presence of professional education in Ukrainian social workers allows greater usage of psychosocial counseling in their practice.
We received significant differences in levels of satisfaction with their work. Thus, 48% of Ukrainian social workers fully or partially are satisfied with their work and ready to continue working in the social sphere. At the same time the percentage of Lithuanian social workers according to this indicator is much higher and is 58%. But both groups of examined social workers (100%) to the question "What would you like to change or improve in your work?" answered they should improve working conditions and increase the wages.
Before the implementation of the research program we conducted initial interview with each social worker who participated in the research. To the question “What are the population categories of people you work with the most actively” it was revealed that the majority of Lithuanian (47%) and Ukrainian (43%) social workers work primarily with people with restrictions of life-sustaining activity and single mothers. In Ukraine, a group of people with restrictions of life-sustaining activity is also presented by the categories of people with different social status: ATO members and their families, families of immigrants from ATO areas, elderly and old people. Granted that counseling is a type of support in psychosocial work, each social services specialist, while working with people with restrictions of life-sustaining activity, provides information; learning skills that enhance life situation, harmonization of social contacts, support in problems analyzing and searching for the problematic situations solving.
According to “Using of counseling as a form of social support” indicator 73.7% of surveyed Ukrainian social workers in both countries reported that giving consultative support in centers, where they work, and that the nature of the support is psychosocial. Among Lithuanian social workers this indicator is 84%. This indicator shows that counseling in social work is one of the types of social support for clients from different social services.
Another indicator, which characterizes the provision of consultative service, is the number of meetings with the client conducted by social worker. The quantity indicator of one time meetings may show on the quality of received service. The indicators comparative statistics of representatives of both countries is presented in Table 3. It should be noted that the representatives of the Lithuanian group of social workers have the percent of counseling quantity on 13% higher than in the group of Ukrainian social workers.
To confirm these indicators, we conducted a survey of Ukrainian group of different socially unprotected categories: disabled people, single mothers, ATO members and their families. These population groups fall within the group of people with restrictions of life-sustaining activity because they often face with certain social problems (employment, housing, social support) and receive different types of social support in social service in Andrushivka city.
We conducted a survey of this group of social services recipients after receiving the counseling services by then. To do this, the customers should answer the questions about their satisfaction with the quality and speed of consultative services. To analyze the responses we used the method of content analysis of written responses, analysis of customer registration log and counseling registration log. The total number of respondents is 150 people. Lithuanian clients of social services did not participate in our survey because a decision about quality assessment was made additionally.
The percentage of people dissatisfied with the number of visits to social services centers is quite high in all social categories of services recipients and is 65,3 % among people with disabilities and 37,1 % among single mothers, among ATO participants and immigrants from ATO areas it is 59%. While the quality of the received social services is enough highly valued – 76% of respondents indicated that they are satisfied with the quality of consultative services. Analysis of particular characteristics of consultative services, especially the problem depth such as employment of people with disabilities, indicates positive qualities, despite that its implementation requires a significant amount of time. The evidence of this is the answer “yes” in 89% for the question “Do you have appealed again to the social worker for the necessary information?”.
A similar situation occurred in the group of single mothers. Here positive response received psychological and social counseling service of mothers on the issue of child bringing up and practical support in bringing up the child at home. Total number of people dissatisfied by the consultative services from this group is 13,2%.
According to parameter “Usage of scientific approaches in counseling” we obtained the following data: 90% of Ukrainian and 84% of Lithuanian social workers use crisis, social and psychological approaches in consultative practice, especially it is clearly observed in social workers with psychological education as the primary (19,3 % of the Ukrainian social workers respondents).
According to Lithuanian and Ukrainian social workers, psychological counseling is the most actual and necessary for people with different restrictions of life-sustaining activity. Both social workers (100%) and customers (75,6%) noted the necessity for psychological support in the provision of social support and 24,4% of surveyed clients indicated that they appealed to social services, including social workers, especially for psychological support.
While surveying psychologists and social workers concerning the types of counseling, the majority noted the necessity and importance of usage such as medical and social, psychosocial, social and pedagogical, socio-legal counseling (Fig.1.).
Figure 1. Counseling types in social practices
70% of Ukrainian and 80% of Lithuanian respondents during the counseling show empathy, sincerity, belonging, paraphrasing and infer cause-and-effect relationships. These formed while studying professional skills do people counseling with restrictions of life-sustaining activity the most effective. Most customers with restrictions of life-sustaining activity noted that during the counseling they received psycho-emotional support in solving complex life problems, accepted and appreciated for granted their own life situation, their interests and vital resources and opened up new developmental prospects, rated their own social and life meaning.
Reviewed above types of consultative practices research and analysis of scientific resources allow providing psychosocial counseling as professional direction of social workers activity, which aims to help people reconsider and reformat their life values and to form new (axicreation phenomenon).
A person with restrictions of life-sustaining activity cannot always self-determinate his/her own behavior while overcoming life obstacles and define his/her own development strategy. Especially self-determined person is not inert and has no negative defensive reaction, but vice versa – he/she has the activity and independence from the outside influence. Relying on himself/herself describes self-actualized, mature person, able to achieve mental and spiritual health and become a complete social personality (Bondarenko O. F., 2001).
Specific functions of social workers with people with restrictions of life-sustaining activity are the field of the relationship between person and his/her inner circle and determine the performance of number of professional roles by social worker. The characterization of these roles is offered by L. Koval in 1998: expert, partner and adviser, informer.
While processing the data we analyzed the performance of professional roles in counseling by the Ukrainian and Lithuanian social workers with average statistical values analysis. Results are presented in Table 5.
While data analyzing, it may be noted that informing of consultative services recipients in both countries is performed in the following directions: professional identity, communication relationships organization, individual physical comfort creating, creative potential development and free time organization.
Conclusions. The analysis of performed research shows the necessity in psychosocial counseling as a preferred direction in the social services’ delivery while solving a range of social problems, especially people with restrictions of life-sustaining activity.
Counseling in social work of the Lithuanian and Ukrainian professionals has a set of common features: professional qualification fits in with the Bachelors and Masters educational level of social work; in most cases work experience in social services is from 5 to 10 years; the majority of social workers is satisfied with their jobs; both groups of social workers use actively psychosocial counseling as a technology of cooperation with people with restrictions of life-sustaining activity. In the consultative practice social workers use the crisis and psychosocial approaches, particularly, these indicators are pronounced in social workers, who work in psychosocial counseling, while demonstrating empathy, sincerity, customer belonging and analyzing the possibilities of the client in implementing of given recommendations.
Counseling people with restrictions of life-sustaining activity presents an organized constructive cooperation of social work specialist and client on the issue of understanding the particularities of difficult reality situation, related to disability; searching of client restoration resources, helping people with restrictions of life-sustaining activity in adaptation to society, enjoyment of their legal rights and interests. Specific functions of social workers with people with restrictions of life-sustaining activity are a field of interaction between the individual and his entourage.
Accordingly to this, the social worker implements his professional activity in several roles: as an expert – he/she supports an individual and his family in solving socially constructed psychological and educational problems; as a partner – in the resources’ mobilization of social, pedagogical and psychological support; as an intercede between family members, between the family and other social institutions in conflict situations’ solving; as an informer of the other service members about the facts of negative person adaptation.
Study of self-determination and social workers’ professional development, who work with other categories of socially unprotected population, needs further researching.
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автор: Кириленко Валентина, доцент кафедри соціальної роботи і педагогіки Університету "Україна", Шакота Ганна, магістр соціальної роботи, Університет "Україна"
видання: Social and Human Sciences. Polish-Ukrainian scientific journal, 04 (16), час видання: 2017
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