The Person-in-Environment Approach: Professional Ideology and Practice of Social Workers in Israel

By Weiss-Gal, Idit | Social Work, January 2008 | Go to article overview

The Person-in-Environment Approach: Professional Ideology and Practice of Social Workers in Israel


Weiss-Gal, Idit, Social Work


Person-in-environment is a core concept in social work worldwide (Hare, 2004). Some even claim that this concept, which characterizes social work as a profession that seeks to change and improve the lives of individuals and society and the relationship between them, is what distinguishes social work from other helping professions (Gibelman, 1999; Johnson, 1999; Karls & Wandrei, 1995; Stuart, 1999). Thus, it is little wonder that many scholars view the person-in-environment approach as a central approach in social work (Buchbinder, Eisikovits, & Karnieli-Miller, 2004; Johnson; Kondrat, 2002; Minahan, 1981; Schneider & Netting, 1999).

The present study examines the extent to which the person-in-environment approach is part of the professional ideology of social workers in Israel and the degree to which they actualize it in their professional practice.

THE PERSON-IN-ENVIRONMENT APPROACH: DEFINITION AND MANIFESTATIONS

The person-in-environment approach views the individual and his or her multiple environments as a dynamic, interactive system, in which each component simultaneously affects and is affected by the other (Hare, 2004). It views the individual and his or her environments as forming an ecosystem, consisting of the individual, all the systems with which the individual has reciprocal relationships, the wider environment in which the individual acts, and all the mutual interrelationships that occur between the individual and the various subsystems. Within this ecosystem, individuals are influenced by and influence their environments through their actions (Johnson & Yanca, 2001; Kondrat, 2002).

The person-in-environment concept is manifested in the dual aspirations of the profession to provide personal care and further social justice. More specifically, the social work profession seeks to augment the ability of individuals, families, groups, and communities to solve their problems, realize their potential, and enhance their lives, while effecting social reforms intended to remove societal obstacles to the individual's well-being, to reduce inequality, and to increase social justice (Dominelli, 2004; Gambrill, 1983; Gibelman, 1999; Hare, 2004; Haynes, 1998; Lynn, 1999; Minahan, 1981; Morell, 1987).

The profession's dual aspirations are reflected in social work codes of ethics in different parts of the world (Banks, 2001). For example, the first two ethical principles in the NASW Code of Ethics are (1) service, which entails helping individuals, and (2) social justice, which entails challenging social injustices (NASW, 2000). In a similar vein, the Israeli social work Code of Ethics states that "social work directs its professional activities to helping the individual and the society" (Israeli Association of Social Workers [ISASW], 1994, p. 2) and that every social worker is "obligated to work to foster change in the individual and the society" (p. 6). The person-in-environment concept is also reflected in calls by scholars and educators in different countries for social workers to refrain from an either--or division between the individualistic and social aims of the profession, but rather to combine the two (Dominelli, 2002; Franklin, 1990; Haynes & Mickelson, 2003; Haynes &White, 1999; Lynn, 1999; Schneider & Netting, 1999).

The person-in-environment approach is also manifested in the general consensus in the professional community that social workers should use interventions at both the individual psychological level and the social level. Hare (2004) presented the approach as an organizing principle that brings together a continuity of interventions, beginning with psychotherapy or clinical social work; going through family therapy, group work, empowerment, case management, mediation, social action, advocacy, and policy formation; and ending with social development. The need to integrate interventions at different levels is also emphasized in social work codes of ethics. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Person-in-Environment Approach: Professional Ideology and Practice of Social Workers in Israel
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.