Resilience- ability to bounce back upon stressful or adverse situations.
Self actualization – achieving ones full potential.
Approaches to Social Work
Generalist Social Work
Integrated and Multilevel approach for meeting the
purpose of social work where social worker works with a
variety of systems like- Individuals, Communities,
Neighborhood etc. to bring change & enhance its
Four major premises-
Human behaviour is connected to social and physical
Linkages provide possibilities for changes.
Working with different levels.
Responsibility beyond direct practice.
Integrated /Holistic Approach
Unified system that fits you and is appropriate for the
settings in which you work i.e., integrating various
methods, techniques, principles, tools, skills etc. that
are apt and required for the settings
Understanding Client as a system that affects and is
effected by systems around, Systems do not exist in
Intrapersonal System – elements present within an
Interpersonal System – elements present between two
Environmental System – elements present beyond
These systems interact and affect the functioning of the
client. Social Worker studies these systems and utilize
them for problem solving.
Structural Social Work Approach
Central concern is power – personal and political.
It is concerned with the way in which powerful in the
society define and constraint the less powerful.
Conflict arises because of competition for resources
Social workers act ethically and advocate to resolve
Acceptance and adaptation to social structures.
Strength based Social Work
Each person has strength & capacity to grow and
Social worker supports client to recognize
assets/strengths and enable them to regain control over
Emphasizing strengths motivates clients while
emphasizing problems makes client feel helpless.
This approach focuses on assets, competencies,
favorable circumstances and potentials of the client.
Process of increasing the capacities of individuals to
make choices leading to desirable outcomes.
It focuses on restoring the power of clients esp.
participation in decision making process, creating
positive self image, enhancing one’s ability to think and
sort what is right and what is wrong.
This perspective helps understanding how different
experiences affect client and fosters resilience.
These do not replace specialist therapeutic
interventions like trauma focused therapy etc.
Client/ Person Centered Approach
Client is the heart of this approach that emphasizes -
Clients as the experts of their own problems.
Social worker explores the problems with a focus on
client and client’s participation is seeked at all the
stages throughout intervention/ helping process.
Human being create meaning and purpose of life.
People are capable of controlling and changing their
lives and are deliberate in their choices.
Relationships influence the way we understand and
moreover support client to develop self awareness and
assume personal responsibilities in order to reach self-
Cognitive Behavioural Approach
Behaviours are learned.
Social Workers try to understand thought patterns.
It focuses on problem solving and promoting more
accurate ways of understanding world.
Socio- Spatial Approach
– Most important & immediate
personal references like – family.
– Closer neighborhood &
– Public places – Schools, Shops
– Fields of contact beyond normal
routine, eg., Holiday Destinations
Figure: Ecological Zones
Development of client takes place in
different Ecological Zones, thus they
affect client’s physical, psychological
and social functioning.
Individuals are objects that fits into society.
Problems are rooted in individual actions & decisions,
rather than injustices inherent in organizations and
Those who are unable to fit in the system exhibit
Social workers act to make the client adopt more
acceptable forms of behaviour.
Individual Pathology Approach
Individuals are seen as subjects rather than objects,
who, with appropriate intervention can be enabled to
live in a more healthy lifestyle.
Root of problem resides in individuals and in ways they
have been socialized.
Social workers here function to make service users to fit
more effectively into various systems.
These are normally long term interventions for
developing healthy social functioning.
Its goals are often vague and cannot be easily
Social Workers function to enable the client to
challenge the source of oppression including
institutions and state and gain more control over their
Problem arises because of existing inequalities or
unfair power relations.
Client is seen as a ‘victim’ rather than a ‘creator of
It focuses upon indigenous problems and aims at
reducing harmful effects of modernization on
Social Work practitioners resolve problems of the
natives like discrimination etc.
Understanding historical perspectives and
incorporating aboriginal philosophical and healing
methods into contemporary practices.
Anti- Oppressive Approach
It acknowledges oppression.
Social Workers function to remove or negate their
Focuses on – Gram Swarajya, Panchayati Raj
(Administration at local levels), Decentralization,
Women Empowerment, Non-Violence, Non-possession,
Sustainable development etc.
Women centered approach.
Focuses on understanding women oppression in
relationships and society.
Aims at providing mutual support, valuing diversity
and emphasizes on women’s experience sharing in
order to guide clients in their functioning.
It draws from many theories which might be
complementary or contradictory.
It explains human behaviour & interventions in
Pick & Mix – Social Worker tries to match the most
helpful theoretical explanation.
Everything is related and nothing can be understood
This approach focuses on questioning.
Change is constant and occurs as a result of unity and
struggles of opposites. (Thesis - Antithesis).
It draws together theories that may contain opposing