Techniques and Skills of Casework


Casework is a systematic and organised process and requires certain techniques and skills to bring out the best results. Knowledge of certain techniques and skills makes the case worker efficient in dealing with the clients. Let us discuss some of these techniques and skills in detail.

Techniques of case work

Techniques are associated with the methodology applied for carrying out any procedure. Following are the techniques applied for casework practice.


This is the most exhaustive technique used throughout the casework process. It starts from the study phase and continues till the end of the client caseworker relationship. In casework process interviews are broadly of two types-

  • Informative interview
  • Diagnostic interview
  • Therapeutic interview 

Informative interview

The client is interviewed by the case worker to gain relevant  information about the problem. As the name suggests all types of information are gathered through interviewing. During the intake phase general information regarding the client  is taken. During the study phase the caseworker probes deeper into the problem. It depends on the caseworker how skillfully he/she is able to get the desired information. The question to be asked needs to be carefully crafted so that the client is able to share his/her feelings.

Diagnostic interview 

In this type of interview the caseworker focuses on asking questions which would help him to make an assessment about the problem. Sometimes indirect questions and open ended questions are asked to get an in-depth understanding of the problem.

Therapeutic interview

This type of interview is aimed at helping the client see through its problems and get an insight to his situation. It helps the client to think and introspect. This technique also requires a high degree of skill since the focus is therapeutic and healing and not merely information sharing. For example if a client is facing a problem with one of her family members the caseworker after assessment of the problem may ask the client “So what do you think the ‘x’ family member can benefit from it.” The client may then look into the situation and realize that the ‘x’ family member has no benefit or purpose to create a problem for her. 

Home visit

Home visit is yet another technique through which the caseworker helps the client. The main aim of home visit is to understand the client as a part of a social system. The caseworker visits the home of the client and meets the family members and observes their behaviour and records them. If necessary he/she also meets the family members of the client and interviews them. Through home visit the caseworker gets insights about the home environment of the client. The caseworker may also visit the workplace of the client to make observations and interview coworkers. 


As stated above observation is a technique which the caseworker uses along with other techniques. The caseworker makes keen observations about the client’s way of talking, his dressing, body language, pace of speech etc. Observations are also made during home visits. Much information is gathered through non verbal communication and keen observations. Observations are made at two levels. One at the physical environment and second at the level of interpretation by the caseworker of the information gathered. For example, if the client has a problem with a co-worker and shares certain information about it, the case worker after listening to the client records it and later interprets it in the form of assessment.


Counselling is one of the important techniques of the casework process which is more prominently used during the intervention phase. Counselling is usually therapeutic and addresses the psychological barriers to social functioning. Counselling technique heavily derives from psychoanalytic theory. Through counselling the caseworker tries to strengthen the ‘ego’ of the client. Counselling is provided to the client as well as the significant others of the client if required. 


Skills give quality to the techniques. How well a technique is applied is dependent on the skill of the worker.Following are the skills of casework practice.


This skill is required at the time of interviewing. Listening skills is one of the keys in establishing a strong client caseworker relationship. Active listening involves non-verbal communication and the caseworker ability to indicate the client that he/she is being paid attention to. A skillful case worker would maintain eye contact, a professional posture, respond and provide feedback to the client. The caseworker also has to be cautious about not being judgemental and indicate the client as being right or wrong. 


Recording of any procedure provides an authentic document which can be referred to by the caseworker in future. Recording helps the caseworker to make the social diagnosis based on the information collected. A skillful case recording is done during the meeting with the client without giving the client an impression that he is not being listened to or the caseworker is more interested in recording rather than paying attention to the client. A skillfully drafted case record can be referred to by other caseworkers for their professional practice.  

Rapport building

Rapport building is the foremost skill required for the client worker relationship. As soon as the client comes to the caseworker he has to build a good rapport with the client. This skill helps the caseworker to get the desired information from the client as well as trust building with the client. Through this skill the caseworker also establishes his authority in the whole process. 


Networking skills are helpful in case of resource mobilization for the client. The caseworker needs to build a strong network of agencies and professionals who provide services which may be required by a client. If the caseworker has to connect the client with the services outside the agency his networking skills are helpful in this. 


Techniques of practice are the same but it is the skill of practicing those techniques that makes one professional more efficient than the other. To be successful the caseworker needs to know and  practice the skills. The above stated techniques and skills are basic. There are more advanced skills which a professional can learn and acquire for better practice.

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