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Human System Theory Essay

A Deeper Look: Defining Human System Perspectives Lizzette Rivera Northeastern University A Deeper Look: Defining Human System Perspectives There are many theories and perspectives that go into the social work practice, many of which are used depending on the situation at hand. These theories along with views of systems help social workers better understand and work with their clients, as well as, work at an ecological approach to use interchangeably between different types of practice. Types of Theories Social Constructionism Social constructionism is how people construct meaning in their lives through language, cultural beliefs and social interaction. Culture identity and societal positions influence not only…show more content…
It takes a look at how everyday practices of relations of culture, power, identity and social structures influence people 's surroundings. There are four common elements to this theory which include relationship between human actions and social structures, stability and change in social structures, patterns of cultures and power, and power of configurations. Relationship between human actions and social structures are “both products and influences of each other.”(Miley, 1998, p.30) Stability and change in social structures causes recursive patterns in order to maintain a stable social structure, while at the same time multiple shifts can create change. (Miley, 1998, p.30) Patterns of culture and power show that beliefs may be superior to others based on supremacy. Last, power of configurations“influences access to privilege and resources or result in marginalization, oppression and scarcity of the opportunities and resources.”(Miley, 1998, p.30) Comparison of Theories As we broaden our view and take a look at these theories as a whole, we see many similarities on how these theories work and maneuver. Change is a key point in all these theories and the acceptance that environments and people are constantly changing is an essential mindset to the social work practice. One last element that these theories have in common is the ability to assess the person in environment or vice-versa. Many of these theories must assess…show more content…
Boundaries can vary either allowing an open access to transactions and change or closed which allows for limited resources and difficulty of change in a system. Boundaries between people define the subsystems; “For example, for most social agencies, boundaries define administrative, supervisory, and direct service subsystems...[and] vary on a continuum from open to closed. The level of closeness within a system is a significant element in understanding the system 's structure.” (Miley, 1998, p.40-41) Hierarchy Hierarchy are individuals with status, privileges, and power. Titles do not always match hierarchy and it is usually the person making decisions that indicate who is in control.(Miley, 1998, p.40) In social work this is essential because it gives you information on who or where to focus on in order to make a greater impact or solve the problem. Equilibrium Equilibrium is the balance within a given system. Change is constant in order to regain equilibrium but at the same time change can also lead to a new equilibrium. In social work when funding is cut there is an immediate response to gain control and balance to the new situation. In this case an agency can look to more funds or cut staff in order to maintain the balance of funds and maintaining the agencies need to provide for it 's clients. (Miley, 1998,
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