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Theories help frame more than presenting problems—they also frame social problems, and both types of problems can be linked in relation to client issues. For example, many scholars and social workers have attempted to understand the social problem of poverty.

Theories help frame more than presenting problems—they also frame social problems, and both types of problems can be linked in relation to client issues. For example, many scholars and social workers have attempted to understand the social problem of poverty. Turner and Lehning (2007) classified various psychological theories to explain poverty under two headings: (1) individual-related theories or (2) structural/cultural-related theories. In other words, think of these two headings as lenses in viewing poverty. In this Discussion, you apply lenses through which to understand a client’s problem in relation to social problems.

To prepare:

  • Read this article listed in the Learning Resources: Turner, K., & Lehning, A. J. (2007). Psychological theories of poverty. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 16(1/2), 57–72. doi:10.1300/J137v16n01-05
  • Select a theory under the individual-related theories and a theory under the structural/cultural-related theories.
  • Complete the handout “Comparing Individual-Related and Structural/Cultural-Related Theories” to help you craft your response. (Note: You do not need to upload the handout to the Discussion forum. The handout is intended to assist you in writing your Discussion post.)

By Day 3

Post:

  • Describe how a social worker would conceptualize a presenting problem of poverty from the two theories you selected.
  • Explain how this conceptualization differs from an individual-related versus a structural/cultural-related theoretical lens.
  • Compare how the two theoretical lenses differ in terms of how the social worker would approach the client and the problem and how the social worker would intervene.

Required Readings

Turner, F. J. (Ed.). (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches (6th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Chapter 14: General Systems Theory (pp. 240–247)

Turner, K., & Lehning, A. J. (2007). Psychological theories of poverty. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 16(1/2), 57–72. doi:10.1300/J137v16n01-05

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Turner, F. (2011). Theory and social work treatment. In Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches (5th ed., pp. 3–13). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Social Work Treatment: Interlocking Theoretical Approaches, 5th Edition by Turner, F. Copyright 2011 by Oxford University Press – Books (US & UK). Reprinted by permission of Oxford University Press – Books (US & UK) via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Document: Comparing Individual-Related and Structural/Cultural-Related Theories (Word document)

Document: Worksheet: Dissecting a Theory and Its Application to a Case Study (Word document)

Document: Theory Into Practice: Four Social Work Case Studies (PDF)

Required Media

Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2014). Counseling and psychotherapy theories in context and practice [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.psychotherapy.net.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/stream/waldenu/video?vid=277

This week, watch the “Family Systems Therapy” segment by clicking the applicable link under the “Chapters” tab.

Note: You will access this video from the Walden Library databases.

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