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Social Work Perspective

social work perspective 1

SocialWork Perspective


Social work refersto a practice-based process and academic discipline which focuses onenhancing social development through change, cohesion, empowerment,and advocating for people’s liberation. In simple terms, socialwork can be defined as the process of alleviating the suffering ofthose in need. There are various theories within the field ofpsychology that can be used to contextualize social work. Forinstance, Erik Erikson’s eight psychosocial stages of humandevelopment facilitate the understanding that people of differentstages have unique needs (Gentle-Genitty, Chen, Karikari &ampBarnett, 2014).

The theory helps social workers to understand that each developmentalstage presents a unique social challenge. Therefore, it can be usedto predict the problems that people are likely to experience based ontheir psychosocial stage. Erikson`s theory combines appropriatelywith Marlow`s theory of hierarchy to provide a comprehensiveframework which social workers can use to understand people in thecommunity. Erikson`s theory provides a model for understanding thedevelopment stage of an individual as well as the probable socialchallenges. Maslow`s theory narrows the related predictions furtherby offering a framework for understanding the psychological contextof the social challenges that people face.

Maslow categorizedthese needs into five different tiers including physical wellbeing,safety, love, self-esteem, and self-actualization (Gentle-Genitty,Chen, Karikari &amp Barnett, 2014). People`s behaviors areinfluenced by these needs. These categories provide platforms forspecifying the people`s social needs following successfulcontextualization based on Erikson`s psychosocial stages. Forinstance, a social worker dealing with a homeless adolescent may useErikson’s theory to determine his or her developmental stage andthe related social needs. Subsequently, the social worker can alsouse Maslow’s theory to assess the adolescent’s tier ofpsychological needs. This approach helps social workers to provideindividual-based assistances to people as opposed to the generalperceptions and assumptions.


One of the complexissues in social work is the case that involves conflicts ormisunderstanding between guardians and children in foster care.Social workers pay a lot of attention to such children because theyare susceptible to abuses from the legitimate members of the family.Thus, misunderstandings tend to occur between guardians and suchchildren to the extent that warrants the mediation of social workers.In such cases, social workers always resolve such cases by moving thechildren to new foster homes.

However, somechildren have been moved to new foster homes when the related caseswould have been dealt with objectively. Erikson`s theory provides aframework where such cases can be understood before radical solutionsare taken by social workers. For instance, social workers can adviseguardians to establish an appropriate level of communications withfoster children depending on their stage of psychosocial development.In most cases, children in adolescent cases tend to experienceidentity crisis and confusion of roles, thus generating conflictswhen they are not guided accordingly.

Learning Plans

My learning planin this area is to grasp all the theories that are relevant incontextualizing social work. The focus will be on the theories thatilluminate the characteristics of human beings. The strength of thesetheories is that they can facilitate behavioral prediction anddiscernment. The learning focus of the learning plan is also todetermine how various theories combine to produce a comprehensiveframework that can be used by social workers

One of thechallenges in dealing with multiple theories is that each oneprovides a different perspective regarding people’s behaviors.Therefore, the responsibility of students is to reconcile thesetheoretical frameworks to ensure that they fit within the context ofthe social work discipline and practice. One of the strengths of thislearning approach is that it provides a comprehensive platform thatcan accommodate various social work cases.



Gentle-Genitty, C., Chen, H., Karikari, I., &amp Barnett, C. (2014).Social Work Theory and Application to Practice: The Students`Perspectives.&nbspJournal of Higher Education Theory andPractice,&nbsp14(1), 36.