Date of Paper

5-2014

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Michael Chovanec

Abstract

The topic of this research project is the facilitation of gratitude-focused interventions into clinical treatment plans with clients facing debility or end of life. This is based on the notion that gratitude is a concept of positive psychology and is consistent with the strengths based approach of the social work profession. Gratitude focused interventions encourage the patient to focus on the positives versus negatives. Five qualitative interviews were conducted with clinical social work professionals. Grounded theory methodology and constant comparative analysis were used to analyze transcribed data. Responses to open ended questions regarding preferred therapy modality, positive and negative aspects of the use of gratitude, how the participants felt they could integrate gratitude focused therapies into their practice, and what might help or hinder the use of gratitude in practice, generated the four major themes. These included 1) universality of gratitude, 2) gratitude in practice that included the use of Life Review techniques and modeling grateful behavior, 3) the importance of caregiver support with the use of gratitude, and 4) assessment needs and common barriers to the facilitation of gratitude. Participant responses are highlighted with the use of direct quotes. Some findings are consistent with best practices in the homecare and hospice setting that identifies the need for Life Review and assessment of patient status. Recommendations for future research and implications for social work practice are also discussed.

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