In this assignment I will demonstrate my knowledge of two selected theories, discussing how they contrast, how they may overlap and possibly even work well together. I will begin by looking at what a theory is and the nature of the relationship between theory and practice. I have chosen to use two quite contrasting theories, namely Solution-focused therapy and the Ecological Systems theory. In looking at both theories I will identify their underlying values and discuss how these values may either support or conflict with social work values. I will discuss how these theories would guide my practice and the implications and limitations they may also have within practice. Social work, within itself, does not have a theory of its own. It is guided by theories borrowed from different disciplines within social science fields. Much of the theoretical knowledge learned and practiced within social work is either psychologically or sociologically based.
[...] This theory arose from a general systems theory of the biological sciences which attempts to explain the general principles for how all systems work, with an emphasis on living systems. Social psychologists later adapted this idea to enable an understanding of how human systems work and how individuals are affected by the integrated systems around them. Ecolological systems theory attempts to understand human development and how it can be explained by the interactions between people and society. It sets out to explain how a human's biological disposition and environmental forces come together to shape their development. [...]
[...] According to Bronfenbrenner (cited in Berk 2000:27) these systems are ‘bi-directional' and influences take place when individuals and groups of individuals interact and directly affect others who exist within the same layer, as well as those who are in the layers on either side of them.' Ecological systems theory, although having its roots in social psychology, is a good example of how social science ideologies overlap. This theory appears to take a sociological stance, in that human development is explained in terms of how the individual interacts with society. [...]
[...] (2002) Blackwell Companion to Social Work', Blackwell Publishing, Oxford. DoH (2000) Framework for the assessment of children in need and their families, The Stationery Office, London Dominelli, L. (2002) ‘Anti Oppressive Social Work, Theory and Practice', Palgrave, Hampshire Fook, J. (2002) ‘Social Work: Critical Theory and Practice', Sage, London Gross, R. (2002) Psychology, The Science of Mind and Behaviour', Hodder and Stroughton, London Healy, K. (2005) ‘Social Work Theories in Context', Palgrave, Hampshire Messer, D. and Jones, F. (1999) ‘Psychology and Social Care', Kingsley, London [...]
[...] Solution-focused therapy is an approach that contrasts that of the ecological systems theory. It is a perspective that does not fit neatly into any social science discipline. Its ideas and value base could be seen to be taken from several disciplines but not quite adhering to any. It could be classified as a Strength perspective, a perspective that focuses on the potential and capacity of the individual. According to Saleebey (1997:4, cited in Healy 2005:152) the strength perspective aims to; ‘Mobilize clients' strengths (talent, knowledge, capacities) in the service of achieving their goals and visions and the clients will have a better quality of life on their terms.' The solution-focused approach refuses to see the person as the problem and looks only at the problem as the problem, claiming to offer a completely empowering approach. [...]
[...] As O'Connell (2003:4) points out; clients have access to knowledge about themselves and their social environment that no helpers could have, no matter how skilled they were.' To practice with the view of the client as expert, whilst working with an ecological perspective, would require an amount of eclecticism from me, in that I would be drawing from theories that differ from the Ecological one being discussed. Hartman (1971, cited in Payne 1997:52) argues that we must each make our own definition of ‘theory' in order to practise.' Whilst not completely making my own definition of theory, as I would not be qualified to do, I would need to draw upon other theoretical perspectives in order to practise successfully with the ecological approach as, in itself, the approach can be limited. [...]
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