The purpose of this task is for students to show their understanding of how theory relates to practice.
(1) Identify a practice theory (or theories) relevant to this particular case study. Students must use one (or more) of the practice theories explored in the course content and textbook. Briefly outline the practice theory
(2) Justify the application of the practice theory (or theories) and argue the relevance to this particular case study.
(3) Describe how you would apply this practice theory or theories to this particular case. What are the particular strategies and techniques relevant to the theory that you would use in this case, and how would you apply them in practice?
Addressing Emotional, Mental, and Physical Issues in Society
The field of social work practice is a very wide one and aims to address the problems faced by the individuals within the spectrum of the modern society (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2018). The immense growth of this genre of work is in synchronicity with the plethora of coping and other kinds of emotional, mental and physical issues faced by the individuals (Zhang, 2015). Ullrich-French and Cole (2018) are of the viewpoint that the diverse social work practices and theories not only try to find the root cause or the reason for the problems faced by the individuals but also to address them in the most effective manner. In this regard, the various social work practice theories and models like psychosocial development theory, rational choice theory, cognitive behavioral therapy and others have emerged as the most important ones (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2018). This report will discuss about the psychosocial development theory, its importance and the manner in which it can be implemented in the particular context of the case study provided.
The case study highlights the problems faced by Leah and the manner in which the problems faced by her are affecting her normal development and also inhibiting her to lead a meaning life. Leah is a 33 year old woman who is married to John, aged 35 and has two children both below the age of 5 years. She had a very prosperous childhood however she is currently facing various kinds of issues with her marriage. In this regard, it can be said that the marriage has become a nightmare for her and at the same time it is taking a toll on her personal life. The only solace that she can is the work that she is doing and also in the company of her children. However, it is seen that because of the emotional problems that she is having in her marriage she is not being able to be the kind of mother that she wants to be. In addition to this, it is also seen that she is losing her confidence and also finds difficulty in going to sleep. Furthermore, the painful married life that she is leading currently is making her loose sense of reality and gradually she is becoming a pessimist. To add to her misery, she had nowhere to go and at the same time it is seen that although she hails from a prosperous family she is not in touch with them. She has tried to resolve her differences with John many times but each time she tries to do so John’s behavior puts her off. Thus, in a way it can be said that the tumultuous marriage and the emotional problems that she is having currently are not only hindering the process of her normal development but at the same are deterring her from fulfilling her basic psychosocial needs.
The psychosocial development theory was formulated in the latter half of the 20th century by Erik Erikson and Joan Erikson (Meeus, 2016). Malone et al. (2016) have argued that this is a psychoanalytic theory which states that there are eight different stages through which an individual must pass through to lead a healthy as well as normal life. For example, the theory indicates various common needs of the individuals like love, social relationships, fidelity, care and others which help an individual to fulfill the basic requirements of their life (Karkouti, 2014). As opined by Goldman and Goodboy (2017), these needs or requirements of the individuals go a long way in not only making the life of these individuals a meaningful one but at the same time helps the individuals to achieve the basic goals of their lives. However, on the other hand, Ullrich-French and Cole (2018), have argued that an ineffective fulfillment of these needs or requirements of the individuals besides creating discontent in the individuals can also cause them to become dissatisfied with their life and thereby inhibit their normal development. It is precisely in this context, that the theory of psychosocial needs becomes important within the framework of the contemporary world since it is seen that because of the complexity posed by the modern society the majority of the individuals are unable to fulfill these basic requirements of their lives. Thus, it can be said that there is a need for an initiative on the part of the modern society and also the various social workers so that the individuals are being able to meet these requirements of their lives and thereby lead a normal life.
Case Study of Leah and Her Marital Issues
The case of Leah clearly reveals that she is finding it difficult to fulfill the basic psychosocial needs of her life. For example, she is 33 years old and as per Erickson’s eight stages of development she belongs to the age group of 20-39 years of age. In this particular age bracket, the most basic requirement of the individuals is love and they try to attain it through the machinery of marriage. However, as the case study reveals the marriage of Leah and John is certainly not a happy one although they has two kids and at the same time is certainly not based on love and romance. Thus, it can be said that the majority of the emotional, physical as well as mental problems that she is facing at the current are because of her inability to get this basic need of hers fulfilled. Weisskirch (2018) is of the viewpoint that the lack of effective fulfilling of the needs of the individuals as per their age brackets can not only lead to various kinds of physical as well emotional problems but at the same time mental ones as well. This is perhaps one of the major reasons for the feelings of isolation, loneliness, lack of self-confidence and others that she is having currently. Furthermore, it is seen that in order to redeem the lack of love as well as acceptance that she is getting in her marriage, she is trying to re-compensate it with professional success and also through acceptance by her colleagues. Thus, it is likely that the fulfillment of the need of love is likely to resolve the various problems that Leah is facing currently.
Svetina (2014) is of the viewpoint that the various social workers for the effective application of the psychosocial developmental theory can take the help of various measures or strategies like counseling sessions, discussion sessions, offering advice to the individuals involved in the case and others. These are some of the most basic approaches that the social workers related to the ABC Center for Help can use for the effective resolution of the problems faced by Leah in her married life. For example, the social workers can bring both Leah and John under one roof and as a mediator in resolving the differences that they are having currently in their marriage. This will require both John and Leah to honestly discuss the issues that both of them are having with each and also try to resolve them so as to lead a normal life. The effective resolution of these issues is likely to take the help of the entity of love and at the same time also to understand the importance of this need within the framework of their marriage. In addition to this, both of them will have to understand the fact that love is one of the most basic requirements of the human beings and the lack of it in their lives can create various problems. The fulfillment of this need is one of the primary reasons why the individuals marry in the first place. Thus, in order to ensure the steady development of their lives and also for the purpose of leading a meaningful life both John and Leah would have to resolve their personal differences that they are having in their marriage through the use of the counseling session organized by the social worker.
To conclude, the various social work theories have gained a substantial amount of prominence within the framework of the contemporary society and they are primarily directed to help the individuals to cope with the different problems that they are facing. In this regard, mention needs to be made about the psychosocial development theory which through the articulation of the different needs of the individuals at diverse stages of their life provides them with the need on which they need to focus. Furthermore, it is seen that the effective fulfillment of these needs not only helps the individuals to achieve a steady growth but at the same time to fulfill their basic needs as well. This is perhaps one of the major reasons for the widespread usage of this developmental theory by the various social work professionals for addressing the needs and the problems faced by the individuals of the contemporary world.
Goldman, Z. W., & Goodboy, A. K. (2017). Explaining doctoral students’ relational maintenance with their advisor: a psychosocial development perspective. Communication Education, 66(1), 70-89.
Kail, R. V., & Cavanaugh, J. C. (2018). Human development: A life-span view. Cengage Learning.
Karkouti, I. M. (2014). Examining psychosocial identity development theories: A guideline for professional practice. Education, 135(2), 257-263.
Malone, J. C., Liu, S. R., Vaillant, G. E., Rentz, D. M., & Waldinger, R. J. (2016). Midlife Eriksonian psychosocial development: Setting the stage for late-life cognitive and emotional health. Developmental psychology, 52(3), 496.
Meeus, W. (2016). Adolescent psychosocial development: A review of longitudinal models and research. Developmental psychology, 52(12), 1969.
Newman, B. M., & Newman, P. R. (2017). Development through life: A psychosocial approach. Cengage Learning.
Svetina, M. (2014). Resilience in the context of Erikson’s theory of human development. Current Psychology, 33(3), 393-404.
Ullrich-French, S., & Cole, A. N. (2018). Exploring participant characteristics in an assessment of changes in psychosocial outcomes in a physical activity-based positive youth development programme for girls. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 16(5), 535-554.
Weisskirch, R. S. (2018). Psychosocial Intimacy, Relationships with Parents, and Well-being among Emerging Adults. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 1-9.
Zhang, L. F. (2015). Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences.
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