Applicant Phase: Defining the Problem
This chapter describes the applicant phase of the socialization of clients. It starts with an analysis of the central task of this phase: obtaining agreement between worker and applicant upon the definition of the problem. It then presents a general description of the process that will accomplish this central task. Variations in this general process are then discussed. Variations are produced by differences in the motives of applicants, constraints upon applicants' viewing their situation objectively, and constraints upon workers to define the problem in certain ways. The next section takes up the final step of the applicant phase: agreement between worker and applicant on the goals that are to be reached. The final section of this chapter discusses how to surmount various pitfalls and obstacles to the agreement between applicant and worker on the problem to be resolved and the goals to be attained.
Whether an agency can help a particular person depends upon that person's problem. Thus, the major task of the applicant phase is to determine the help-seeker's problem. As social workers