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Stepping into the world of social work means you need to wear many hats. You’ll be an advocate, a listener, a mediator, and so much more to so many people.
Taking an approved MA Social Work degree can prepare you for this, as you’ll dive deeper into social work theories so you can describe, explain, and predict social events based on research, studies, and scientific evidence.
Below, we’ll take a look at social work theories and the importance of studying them.
At the heart of social work lies a mission to understand the multifaceted dynamics of human behaviour and societal systems.
Social work theories, therefore, form the compass that guides practitioners in their interventions - ensuring that they are meaningful, effective, and empathetic.
Some of the different theories you may study include:
Psychosocial development theory
This theory, developed by Erik Erikson, outlines eight stages of human development, from infancy to late adulthood.
Each stage is associated with a unique psychosocial challenge or conflict. For instance, during adolescence, individuals grapple with 'Identity vs. Role Confusion', navigating their personal identity and figuring out where they fit into the broader societal context.
John Bowlby created this theory. It explores the emotional bond between children and their primary caregivers.
It suggests that early attachment experiences can shape an individual's behavioural patterns, emotional health, and interpersonal relationships in adulthood.
For instance, children with secure attachments tend to develop a more positive self-image and better relationship-building skills.
Finally, this theory views people as part of different systems, for example, school, family, and community.
It emphasises how these systems are connected and how they impact a person’s behaviour and well-being. For instance, a child's performance in school might not only reflect their academic abilities but also their family dynamics and community environment.
Social work theories enable social workers to evaluate cases, understand people, create interventions, predict results, and assess outcomes.
Yes, theories evolve all the time as new evidence is produced. However, when you reference social work theories that have been used over time, you can explore the causes of certain behaviours. This can assist you in finding the perfect solution for your clients.
Learning about different social work theories helps remind you that your personal assumptions and beliefs should be cast aside during social work practice. Instead, you need to use evidence-based theories to investigate issues and help rather than letting your own reactions, attitudes, and moods guide the way.
Theories might seem abstract at first, but they're the backbone of effective social work.
If you want to make a difference in other people’s lives, diving deep into these theories is a perfect place to start. And, where better to embark on this journey than the University of Bolton?
Our Social Work England-approved Master’s in Social Work provides you with the knowledge and skills you’ll need for a successful career supporting people in challenging and complex situations.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring us at 01204 903903