Why We Need a Biopsychosocial Perspective with Vulnerable Oppressed and At Risk Clients.pdf - Smith College Studies in Social Work ISSN 0037-7317(Print

Why We Need a Biopsychosocial Perspective with Vulnerable Oppressed and At Risk Clients.pdf

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Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at Smith College Studies in Social Work ISSN: 0037-7317 (Print) 1553-0426 (Online) Journal homepage: Why We Need a Biopsychosocial Perspective with Vulnerable, Oppressed, and At-Risk Clients Joan Berzoff To cite this article: Joan Berzoff (2011) Why We Need a Biopsychosocial Perspective with Vulnerable, Oppressed, and At-Risk Clients, Smith College Studies in Social Work, 81:2-3, 132-166, DOI: 10.1080/00377317.2011.590768 To link to this article: Published online: 29 Jul 2011. Submit your article to this journal Article views: 10895 View related articles Citing articles: 11 View citing articles
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Smith College Studies in Social Work , 81:132–166, 2011 ISSN: 0037-7317 print/1553-0426 online DOI: 10.1080/00377317.2011.590768 Why We Need a Biopsychosocial Perspective with Vulnerable, Oppressed, and At-Risk Clients JOAN BERZOFF Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA This article considers why we need to take a biopsychosocial perspective in assessment and treatment of individuals. Using psychological concepts drawn from drive theory, ego psychology, object relations, attachment theory, self psychology and relational theory, the author makes explicit the need to connect these ideas with social and biological contexts. Arguing that psychodynamic theories contain the social as well as the psychological, the author traces Freud’s social commitments, the role of critical race theory, the importance of social contexts in shaping development while also considering the effects of neglect, trauma and abuse on the developing brain. Holding in mind all of these positions, is what makes clinical social work truly the impossible profession. KEYWORDS drive theory, ego psychology, average expectable environment, object relations, self psychology, relational enact- ments, critical race theory, social contexts in which clients are seen, stress hormones, trauma, abuse and brain development TAKING A BIOPSYCHOSOCIAL STANCE This article is about practicing psychodynamically with those who are vul- nerable, at risk, and oppressed. Whether one is working with clients in a prison or a homeless shelter, with a person who is chronically mentally ill, or with mothers who suffer from addictions or who are pregnant and From Falling Through the Cracks edited by Joan Berzoff. Copyright © 2011 Columbia University Press. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Address correspondence to Professor Joan Berzoff, MSW, EdD, Smith College School for Social Work, Lilly Hall, Northampton, MA 01063, USA. E-mail: [email protected] 132
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Biopsychosocial Perspective 133 parenting and living in poverty or who give their children up to orphan- ages, an exploration of their inner lives is invaluable. When we work with someone who has been oppressed on the basis of sexual orientation, ability, language, culture, or race, we must also be able to enter into this client’s
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