Psychosocial Framework

Eda G. Goldstein

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online December 2009 | | DOI:
Psychosocial Framework

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This entry describes the psychosocial framework and its resources. It is important to differentiate the psychosocial framework, which is a distinctive practice model, from the psychosocial or person-situation perspective that informs social work practice generally. The psychosocial framework originated in the early history of the social work profession and evolved greatly over time in response to new theoretical and practice developments. It exerted a major influence on social work practice, particularly from the 1940s to the 1960s, when it was the dominant social casework approach, particularly on the East Coast. Its goals were to restore, maintain, and enhance the personal and social functioning of individuals through mobilizing strengths; supporting coping capacities; building self-esteem; modifying dysfunctional patterns of thinking, feeling, and relating to others; linking people to necessary resources; and alleviating environmental stressors. Although it originally incorporated Freudian and ego psychological concepts, it has always drawn on both psychological and social theories. As new practice models developed in the 1960s, the psychosocial framework waned in importance, but it later underwent a resurgence. It continued to occupy an important place among an expanded repertoire of approaches and contributed to the generation of some of the newer practice models, such as crisis intervention. In recent years there have been numerous extensions to the psychosocial framework, which continues to be used widely by social work practitioners, particularly those who consider themselves to be clinical social workers. It may be more accurate today to describe the psychosocial framework as a perspective that guides practice rather than as a discrete practice model. Nevertheless, it does rely on a core of theoretical concepts and practice principles.

Article.  6613 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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