A theory according to Cottrell is a set of ideas that help to explain why something happened in a particular way, and to predict likely outcomes in the futures. Theories can be said to be based on evidence and reasoning but one can’t yet conclusively prove this enough.To be able to better understand theories, one needs to understand the history, types of theories, the profession, interventions in terms of working with individual groupings and their behaviors with experiences to life, their thoughts, and reasons behind such thoughts( personality, social organization and change, social stratification, behaviors) just to mention but a few.
The sociological, modern economic with contemporary politics, psychological theories helps in defining social work practice, the provision of change with its input on social work implicit and applied knowledge through the help of building new theories from practice data.
According to Thompson, these theories have different levels in grand/macro (meta-narratives) which Marxism psychoanalysis, explained that everything within the society or human behaviors.
Middle range theories also focuses on the limitations of range of issues, then finally, the micro, in explaining by which very small-scale of situations are presented. The term theory is always considered to be used loosely in relation to social work practice, it’s use within the professional literature is quite ambiguous through the use of concepts, framework, the practice model and the philosophical propositions.
The importance in relation to the social work theories within practice is to explained and understand the role in social worker be it task and purpose related, the kind of methods and approaches used , then, finally the inner and external worlds of the service user, in the use of explanatory theory, models and perspective that focuses on the profession, purpose service user and the helping activities to explain their behaviors, social environment, when and how changes might occur and when to best facilitates those changes that are being faced an individual.
In working with service users, a social worker has to make use of an orienting theories and practice frameworks. In explaining this orienting theory, a social worker will use this in describing and explaining the behaviours, the how and the why certain problems may develop to a person within this specific time. It helps provides a vital background information of which these knowledge are usually borrowed from other disciplines such as psychology, biology, sociology, economics, just to mention but a few ( Mailick , 1990). These examples may include the various theories that are may be related to human development, personality, family systems, socialization, organizational functioning and political power, even though this specific type of problems maybe related, such as poverty, family violence, mental illness, teen pregnancy, crime, and racial discrimination.
These concepts provides us with a little guidance on how change will be brought about. Secondly, these categories of theories in the practice framework are that of the practice perspectives, practice theories, and practice models.In practice perspective, the conceptual lens through which one’s behaviour and social structure is viewed through the social functioning and perceived by the world in terms of value, with its guidance in selecting an intervention strategies maybe outlined. It helps in focusing on identifying a particular feature and flow in an individual behaviour ,whiles placing the other features within behaviour on the background by way of viewing and thinking about the practice (empowerment theory). In offering a very board guidance on what to be considered as important in any given situation, the general system and ecosystem perspective are commonly used by most social workers in assessing the relationships between people and the environments in existence.
One could think of the generalist, feminist and the ethnic-sensitive in practice perspective that concentrates more on the process and their philosophy of working with people towards change.In practice theory, an explanation of certain behaviours and situations are clearly laid out by underlining what is real or not through the use of scientific evidence in practice. A broad guidance on these behaviours can be changed through the intervention road maps in a particular situation, bringing certain type of change that are relevant to an individual within a short period of time ( task- centred/ crisis intervention).
Practice theory can be considered to be rooted in one or more orienting theory like the psychosocial approach which is primarily based on the psychodynamic and the ego-psychology theories which is driven from the psychology of the learning, respectively by way of explaining structures of learnings.In practice model is a said to be the guidelines of certain intervention activities which are being made by a social worker and the way by which the general practice relating to the profession, happens daily in action. Its concepts and principles can be clearly distinguished between the practice theory and the practice model, but however, models are used when one wants to refer to a particular conceptual framework, not restricted in explaining a particular behaviour like the task-centred approach as a practice model than a practice theory. By explaining the actions involved in the intervention rather than the crisis within those intervention that evolves from particular theory of behaviour to explain actual experience or experiments that are borrowed from one field, to be applied on the other (e.g. A child having a difficult time in sleeping in own bed due to parent allowing her to sleep b them during the night since birth).
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