Mental Health: Social Work Theories

1171 words | 4 page(s)

The topic of mental health especially among the youth has been hit with a series debates with two fierce medical factions taking sides on the fronts that they support. The matter in discussion is whether the medical profession should employ a holistic treatment approach that lays emphasis on the four dimensions of life as dictated by the Maori culture or just rely on the medication to do the magic. Scholars as a block have vehemently advocated for the holistic approach as the medical professionals have been split into two; the greater half leaning on the holistic treatment and a small bit remaining loyal to the medication-based treatment (Dean, Britt, Bell, Stanley & Collings, 2016). The holistic type of human treatment has been existing for ages in the Maori society and it began gaining momentum when Doctor Durie Mason incorporated the Maori healing and restoration principles in the modern day medical practice (Payne, 2015).

The Maori system divides and individual into two beings; the physical and the spiritual beings. The health state of the two beings is dictated by the balance they have in four spheres; tahu tinana (physical health), tahu wairua (spiritual health), tahu wanau (family health) and tahu hinengaro (mental health). The four are like pillars that dictate the stability of an individual. It must be noted that in this chapter I will tend to avoid the spiritual part as it has not been proven efficient in the medical practice or no research has been on it as the spiritual beings are usually too diverse depending on the community or the religion being studied. According the indigenous culture, all the four pillars have been expounded and literary stresses on as the Maori people believe that it is in their convergence that an individual can be completely healthy, but here I will deliberately stress on tahu wanau as a way to restore tahu hinengaro in children and youths.

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Social worker theories and models
The theories I will be expounding on are systems theory and psychosocial theory. Systems theory is one that states that individuals all hail from a society and the society they are from must be incorporated in the treatment that the patient is undergoing. This theory emphasizes on the need of family members taking the nurse role and helping the patient solving the issues that he or she has (Teater, 2014). Psychological development theory is that one that divides age of development from infancy to adulthood into stages, stress is put on each stage after a critical analysis of human and this helps the doctors or professionals know that some behaviors come out naturally and must be excused as they will fade as the individual grows (Lee & Hudson, 2017). The model designed by Erik Eriksson classify the stages into ones of purpose, competence, hope, fidelity, will, love, wisdom and fidelity; the stages are not arranged in order.

The social workers practice models are a continuation on the theories but they are more precise as they have been researched on and tested. I will be explaining the cognitive behavioral therapy and the crisis intervention models; I have selected the two because they seem to combine the other existing therapies; problem solving, task centered practice and narrative therapy (Clement, Schauman, Graham, Maggioni, Evans-Lacko, Bezborodovs & Thornicroft, 2015). Cognitive behavior is a model that finds a link between the patient’s feelings, thoughts and actions, a critical study on each will help the social workers predict how the patient reacts to certain stimuli and help him or her counter the negative thoughts (Hepworth, Rooney, Rooney & Strom-Gottfried, 2016). Crisis intervention model built to solve acute mental crises, it flows in seven stages, assessment of safety and legality, building connection, identifying the problem, addressing the emotions, coming up with alternatives, creating an action plan and following up the plan. The stages must follow the sequence as they are a buildup of each other.

Critical analysis
The social worker theories and models as applied treatment of mental illness in children and youths come with quite a deal of merits and demerits. This can be explained by the fact that there are always underlying problems that lead to any type illness; especially mental illness, it may be detrimental to the medicine field when a patient readmitted to the same facility to be treated for the same type of illness he was discharged for a while back (Gould & Taylor, 2017). However, the psychological development theory is not a very good solution that can be applied to treatment of mentally ill patients; it tends to justify the negative and detrimental thoughts, feeling and behaviors that the patients have (Andrade, Alonso, Mneimneh, Wells, Al-Hamzawi, Borges, & Florescu, 2014). This theory does not believe in exposing the patient to different ideas to see if he or she may change his behavior, it believes in letting the patient find his own way to sanity and reality.

From a scholarly point of view, I note that the application of the social worker theories and models to mental treatment might truly be achieved in a short frame and the patient may truly have a holistic healing (Healy, 2014). I would recommend that crisis intervention model be universally applied as the social workers will get to understand the patient and help him neutralize his negative thoughts and actions from an individual perspective. This is the best way to make sure that the patient can be able to respond to stimuli in a more humane way that is legal accepted than he or she did during a previous crisis. The incorporation of social workers is a unique and very beneficial proposition that should be adopted universally (Turner, 2017). However, the adoption approach for each model should be carried out skillfully and involve a lot of professionals in the medical fields as the number of variables attached to the equation are as many as the number of societies we have all over the world.

  • Andrade, L. H., Alonso, J., Mneimneh, Z., Wells, J. E., Al-Hamzawi, A., Borges, G., & Florescu, S. (2014). Barriers to mental health treatment: results from the WHO WorldMental Health surveys. Psychological medicine, 44(6), 1303-1317.
  • Clement, S., Schauman, O., Graham, T., Maggioni, F., Evans-Lacko, S., Bezborodovs, N., & Thornicroft, G. (2015). What is the impact of mental health-related stigma on help seeking? A systematic review of quantitative and qualitative studies. Psychological medicine, 45(1),11-27.
  • Dean, S., Britt, E., Bell, E., Stanley, J., & Collings, S. (2016). Motivational interviewing to enhance adolescent mental health treatment engagement: a randomized clinical trial. Psychological medicine, 46(9), 1961-1969.
  • Gould, N., & Taylor, I. (2017). Reflective learning for social work: research, theory and practice. Routledge
  • Healy, K. (2014). Social work theories in context: Creating frameworks for practice. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Hepworth, D. H., Rooney, R. H., Rooney, G. D., & Strom-Gottfried, K. (2016). Empowermentseries: Direct social work practice: Theory and skills. Nelson Education.
  • Lee, J. A., & Hudson, R. E. (2017). Empowerment Approach to Social Work Treatment. Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches, 142.
  • Payne, M. (2015). Modern social work theory. Oxford University Press.
  • Teater, B. (2014). An introduction to applying social work theories and methods. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
  • Turner, F. J. (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches. Oxford University Press.

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