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Case study activity

The case study activity remains an essential component for all AASW credential applications.

The following information is provided to assist you in the completion of the case studies and a guide as to preparing for the case studies activity.

Once your application has undergone pre assessment you will be contacted to provide information to undertake the case study activity. See Application process for AASW Credentials.

This will involve the applicant choosing 2 case studies from the selection of 4 case studies. The applicant will have 15 minutes reading time beforehand to read and acquaint themselves with the case studies, further to this, a time period of 3 hours is given to complete the case studies. The word count for each response is 1500 words. An observer will invigilate the case studies activity.

Your response should demonstrate your clinical social work practice skills undertaken with a client with a mental disorder or mental health issue. The applicant is required to develop the following:

i) Assessment: to determine your ability to understand a client’s presentation, and a

ii) Treatment/Intervention Plan: to demonstrate as to how you work with the client

iii) Further to this, it is required that the applicant demonstrate their use of focused psychological strategies(FPS) in their treatment/intervention plan.

Summary of the process

The applicant will be able to choose where they complete their case study responses and to nominate their own observer. Applicants are required to provide this information as part of their online credential application form.

  • Applicants are required to nominate an observer who can supervise them for the duration of the case study activity.
  • The observer cannot be a family member, spouse/partner or a direct report, but may be a supervisor or manager in their workplace, a colleague outside their team or any person with whom the applicant does not have a personal relationship (a general acquaintance is acceptable).
  • Following pre-assessment, AASW staff will contact applicants to discuss their chosen observer, and to agree upon a location/date/time for the activity to be held (usually at the applicant’s work or home).
  • The AASW will then liaise with observers to clarify their role, verify their identity, arrange for the delivery of the case studies and to confirm all other arrangements.

Completion of Case Study

Client Assessment

The purpose of the case study activity is for you to explain what your assessment of the client’s presentation would be and your rationale for this assessment. This is to include the following:

  • Undertake a biopsychosocial assessment and case formulation. This involves establishing the likely mental health condition and the influence and priority of factors affecting the person’s condition
  • An analysis of the influence of contextual factors in the persons’ life and their psychosocial functioning
  • Understanding and management of risks (if any) faced by the client

Treatment/Intervention planning

To demonstrate your clinical social work practice skills, we require you to develop a treatment / intervention plan. This is used to show us how you would work with the client to:

  • Determine their needs
  • Establish the influence and priority of factors affecting their mental health condition
  • Establish the goals of treatment/intervention with the person and preferred strategies to achieve them
  • Identify and mitigate potential risk factors

Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS)

It is mandatory that your treatment/intervention plan also includes the appropriate Focused Psychological Strategies. In your chosen case studies, you are required to explain:

  • What is the relevant FPS for the mental health issue and why?
  • What would you expect to change in a person’s management of / improvement in their mental health condition?
  • Any other elements of your treatment/intervention plan

PLEASE NOTE: The way you format your responses is up to you as the applicant. As long as your response includes the above requested information, your case study will be reviewed and scored by the assessor. The applicant must satisfy core requirements to be successful. Formatting is not included in the overall scoring, as long as a response follows a logical sequence. The word count for each response is 1500 words. Please make full use of the available word limit but remember that information beyond this word limit will not be considered at assessment.

Example of a case study

The following case study has been chosen as a practice example to familiarise yourself with the format of the information provided. You will not receive this case study as part of your selection, but you are encouraged to practice writing a response using the information above that needs to be included in your response.


Alyssa is a 14 year old female who has recently moved from Brisbane. Alyssa and her mother (Diane, 33 years old) had moved to Brisbane for Diane’s temporary job. Diane and Alyssa then moved back to their home town, once the Brisbane position ended. Diane was able to return to her original position. Alyssa has been self-harming and has strong suicidal ideation and describes feeling abandoned by her mother. Alyssa reports that her mother, Diane, spends all her time either at work or with her boyfriend. This is Diane’s first relationship since Alyssa was born. Alyssa tells you that ‘the boyfriend’ is totally wrong for her mother, Alyssa thinks he is too old and that he is just using her mother. He is in between houses having sold one and not yet purchased another and her mother has allowed him to move into their home. Alyssa tells you that he uses her bathroom and that disgusts her. Alyssa reports that she misses her friends from her school in Brisbane and does not really have any friends locally despite having lived in the town most of her life. She tells you when she returned, she didn’t stop talking about how she missed her Brisbane friends and as a result the ‘old friends’ told her to go away. Alyssa also informs you that her grandparents are not interested in her at all and whilst her mother, Diane, has lots of friends and family she does not feel that any of them including her mother care about her at all. Alyssa also has serious issues relating to how she views herself. Alyssa states that she is “short, fat and ugly”. Alyssa is about 5 foot tall, attractive, slightly overweight but not obese. Alyssa moves slowly, displays little expression facially and struggles to make eye contact. There is no reported history of family violence or child sexual assault, there is also no evidence to suggest she was neglected as an infant.


What resources can I bring into the activity?

You are expected to complete this activity on a computer – we do not accept hand written responses. You are not allowed to use the computer or any other devices or literature to access information. You are expected to respond using your professional knowledge, skills and experience.

You are allowed to use a pen and paper to take notes or consolidate thoughts during the 15 minutes reading time and throughout the activity. You may not write your responses on the computer during the 15 minutes reading time.

Can I have a break during the activity?

You are able to take a break however the time limit will not be extended. You must be supervised by the observer/invigilator during any break taken.

Is there any special consideration provided when sitting the case study activity?

The AASW will not consider exemptions from the case study activity. Rather, the AASW will consider modifying the conditions under which the activity is competed on an individual basis (such as provision of extra time etc).

The AASW will only consider requests for modifications to the case study activity conditions in the context of exceptional circumstances. Reasons for modification may include significant health conditions, dyslexia and other factors/conditions that may impact writing, and other personal circumstances.

Applicants wishing to apply for a modification to the case study activity are requested to email, with the following information:

  • Brief reason for requiring a modification, and the type/s of modifications required
  • Evidence from a medical practitioner or other professional to evidence the need for a modification.

We are currently under Covid restrictions in my location that and prevent me from having an observer/invigilator present during my activity. What can I do?

AASW will discuss solutions to Covid related issues at the time of booking the case study activity.

Further information

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers