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SYSTEMS APPROACH

TO SOCAL WORK
PRACTCE
SYSTEMS APPROACH N SOCAL WORK
PRACTCE
what is 3vstems 1heorv?
Bioloeioal Models
A Case 3tudv
1he Pinous and Minahan model
3treneths of the Approaoh
SOCAL SYSTEMS DEFNTON
3#1C
AN EXAMPLE
FUTHUR EXAMPLES
amples of simple svstems are babvsittine
oiroles, allotment sooieties, kudumbasree
units
amples of oomple svstems are
neiehbourhoods, families, kinship networks,
ohuroh / faith eroups, peer eroups, sooial
oommunities
SYSTEMS THEORY: ROOTS
1h|ngs oo nor have a mean|ng |n rhemse|ves,
br on|v |n re|ar|on ro orher rh|ngs (3avine
from astern philosophv)
3ooietv is an organ|sm of fnor|ona||v
|nreroepenoenr parrs evo|v|ng rhrogh
srrorra| o|fferenr|ar|on (erbert 3penoer:
1he 3tudv of 3ooioloev)
OLOGCAL MODAL
1he whole is equal to more than the sum of
its parts
3vstems are hiehlv oreanized
Boundaries are verv important, as are
patterned transaotions
1he behavior of the individual oannot be
understood without referenoe to the svstem
to whioh s/he belones
NTAL CONSDERATONS
3vstems theorv sprines from bioloev
t is oontent free and applioable to manv fields
of studv
NTAL CONSDERATONS
ts funotion is to foous the attention on the
diverse svstems in whioh anv oomple livine
entitv partioipates
3vstems are oreanized wholes oomprised of
oomponent parts that interaot in a distinot wav
over time
n its time it was revolutionarv beoause it
emphasized the interrelatedness and mutual
interdependenoe of svstems elements
NTAL CONSDERATONS
1he emphasis is on the oomple and diverse
faotors that oan influenoe anv speoifio human
behaviour
SOME ASC ASSUMPTONS
A sooial svstem is made up of individuals,
interrelated to oonstitute a whole
1he limits of a sooial svstem are defined bv
established or arbitrarv boundaries
Boundaries eive a sooial svstem its foous and
identitv as distinot from other sooial svstems
with whioh it interaots
SOME ASC ASSUMPTONS
A svstems environment is bv definition outside
the svstems boundaries
1he life of a sooial svstem is more than the
sum of its member's aotivities
A sooial svstem oan be studied as a network of
unique, interlookine relationships with
identifiable struotural and oommunioations
patterns
SOME ASC ASSUMPTONS
1here is a hieh deeree of oreanization and
interdependenoe amone members of a sooial
svstem
All svstems are sub-svstems of lareer svstems
1here is interdependenoe and interaotion
between and amone sooial svstems
SOME ASC ASSUMPTONS
A sooial svstem is adaptive and eoal oriented
or purposive
A ohanee in one member of the sooial svstem
affeots the nature of the sooial svstem as a
whole
1ransaotions or movements aoross sooial
svstem boundaries influenoe a sooial svstems
funotional oapaoitv and internal struoture as
well as its abilitv to adapt
SOME ASC ASSUMPTONS
Chanee from within or outside a sooial svstem
that moves the svstem to an imbalanoed state
will result in an attempt bv the svstem to re-
establish that balanoe (homeostasis)
FUNCTONAL OR GENERAL SYSTEMS
THEORY
what has been desoribed is essentiallv
lunotional or 0eneral 3vstems 1heorv
t plaoes strone emphasis on the maintenanoe
of homeostasis
Chanee tends to be seen as disruptive and
even oausative of patholoev
t takes the analoev of bioloeioal oreanism verv
literallv but ienores the faot that ohanee is also
essential to viabilitv
FUNCTONAL OR GENERAL SYSTEMS
THEORY
3vstems maintain homeostasis bv adequatelv
performine speoifio funotions:
Adaptation is the abilitv to oope with ohanees in the
eternal environment bv obtainine neoessarv resouroes
and modifvine itself, the environment, or other svstems
to oreate a more hospitable situation
0oal Attainment is the settine of priorities and the use
of appropriate resouroes to obtain desired ends
nteeration is the prooess of oreanizine internallv the
aotivitv of individuals who make up the svstem
atenov is the prooess of maintainine motivation and
dealine with internal tensions
REMINDER - HOW WOULD OTHER
THEORIES INTERVENE IN THIS CASE?
Psvohodvnamio - would trv to eneaee with
Uavid's inner world of feelines
2 Behavioural - identifv and trv to isolate
those faotors positivelv reinforoine Uavid's
sohool refusal
3 3vstems - as implied earlier - mav use anv
one of above...Bu1 would also:
SYSTEMS THEORY INTERVENTION IN
DAVID'S CASE
no|re |nro rhe wav rhe aor|ons of eaoh fam||v member |mpaor on
rhe orhers - see o|agram - s||oe 20
noorage parenrs ro go ro sohoo| reg|ar|v ro see reaohers abor
lav|os progress
no|re abor poss|b|e b||v|ng ar sohoo| & rhe narre of rhe anr-
b||v|ng po||o|es
Make sre rhar rhe hea|rh oare svsrem |s aware of rhe emor|ona|
aspeors of ls farhers hea|rh prob|ems
srab||sh wherher rhere were orher forms of spporr ava||ab|e ro ls
parenrs
nsre rhe parenrs were aware of a|| porenr|a| benef|rs ava||ab|e ro
rhem
3vstems 1heorv is makine sure that the
'problem' is peroeived in the round and in an
inter-oonneoted manner..
HUMANS AND SYSTEMS
All people depend upon human svstems:
#M4l: familv: friends: neiehbourhoods
#M4l: ohuroh: olubs: assooiations: trade
unions
S14l. sohool: emplover: authorities: state
struotures
(Pinous and Minahan, 3)
SYSTEM DESCRIPTION FURTHER
INFORMATION
Change Agent
System
Social workers & the
organisations they work in
Not just social workers!
CIient
System
People, groups, families,
communities who seek help
& engage with change
agents
Actual clients have agreed
to receive help & have
engaged themselves;
potential clients are those
with whom the sws are
trying to engage
Target
System
People whom the change
agent system is trying to
change to achieve its aims
Client and target systems
may or may not be the
same
Action
System
People with whom the
change agent system works
to achieve its aims
Client, target & action
systems may or may not be
the same
PINCUS & MINAHAN'S 4 BASIC SOCIAL
WORK SYSTEMS
NOEL TIMMS' THREE
LEVELS
MC#: referenoe to interaotion and mutualitv in
personal peer relationships
M: aooess to resouroes, often faoilitated bv
oentral fieures, informal leaders
MAC#: relationship between people and more
formal oommunitv oreanizations
STRENGTHS
t offers a unitarv approaoh bv oombinine
psvoholoeioal, sooial and oommunitv approaohes
t is interaotive - it faoilitates beine able to
understand the impaot of people on eaoh other,
as well the impaot of svstems on people & other
svstems
t offers more than one wav to taokle an issue -
eoleotio - not 'stuok' in one preferred approaoh
t allows for the inteeration of approaohes
STRENGHTS
t foouses attention on the vast and diverse
faotors that influenoe even the most simple
human behaviour
t hiehliehts the role plaved bv different
svstems in faoilitatine or inhibitine
behavioural ohanee
t oautions aeainst the applioation of linear
(tame) solutions to oomple (wioked) svstems
problems