Human Behavior

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The following is a very general outline summarizing the theories covered in the NCSSS foundation classes of SSS 571: Human Behavior & the Social Environment. Theory application & integration with practice are demonstrated. This outline is only a summary of highlights; all theorists, ideas, and concepts are not included. Because human behavior is complex and the social work profession is broad, numerous theories are utilized for social work practice at the micro-meso-macro levels. These theories focus on human growth and development, psychological and social functioning, and social service delivery. Some theories emphasize social and economic justice. All theories are value-laden and come out of a socio-historical context. Thus, all theories should be critiqued with attention paid to their cross-cultural applicability. DEFINITIONS: Theory—interrelated sets of concepts and propositions, organized into a deductive system to explain relationships about certain aspects of the world (e.g., the theories listed below). Perspective—an emphasis or point of view; concepts at an earlier level of development (e.g., a “strengths perspective”) or at a broader and higher level of abstraction (ex: a “humanistic perspective” or a “developmental perspective”) Paradigm—an archetype or mode of thought; a general way of seeing the world (e.g., “modernism” or “post-modernism”) Practice Model—a guide for practitioner interaction that operationalizes theory; includes concrete actions and techniques (note: some theories have more well-developed practice models than others) Dimension—a feature that can be focused on individually or separately, but can only be understood in relation to other features (as in “dimensions of human behavior” or a “multi-dimensional approach” to human…...

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