Week 3: Psychological Theories

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GC SOC 386 GC Week 3 Discussion Latest

Week 3: Psychological Theories

Answer each question

For question 1 The Eight Stages of the Life Cycle

Watch the video “The Eight Stages of the Life Cycle” from Films on Demand.


Bio psychosocial Model

Watch the video “Bio psychosocial Model” from Films on Demand.


  1. Review the last three stages of Erickson’s psychosocial stages. Watch the videos “Bio psychosocial Model,” and “The Eight Stages of the Life Cycle.” What do you think are the critical social systems during the last three adult stages and why?

For question 2 Psychodynamic Theory: The Essential Elements

Read 6.2.16 “Psychodynamic Theory: The Essential Elements” in The Blackwell Companion to Social Work by David Martin (2013).

6.2.16 Psychodynamic Theory: The Essential Elements Jack Nathan

Whilst differences exist between different psychoanalytic schools, clinicians working within the ‘psychodynamic frame’ share certain key elements. The first key element is that the mind operates on a conscious and an unconscious level, and that there is a dynamic relationship between these two levels of consciousness that result in powerful internal psychic conflicts. For example: Tom repeatedly misses key meetings with his worker regarding having his child back home. His conscious explanations include: he ‘forgot’, ‘the traffic was bad’, etc. These accounts mask unconscious dynamics which may include being fearful of the worker’s persecuting authority (‘I’m going to be attacked for being a bad father’), Tom’s tendency to sabotage progress in their work together (‘I destroy all my relationships, even with my child’), even that he does not want his child back (‘I’m too much of a child myself to be a responsible parent’) and so on. Implicit in this form of practice is hermeneutics: ‘the making of meaning’ where the practitioner’s task is to explore the client’s behavior. This is particularly the case when confronted by what appears, at a ‘common sense’ level, contradictory: viz. Tom consciously asserts that he wants his child home. The need to understand psychic conflict and how we ‘make meaning’ of highly destructive forms of behavior is especially crystallized in clients who self-harm. For example, Sarah tells her social worker that as well as regularly burning herself, when cutting her legs with a razor blade, she pours acid on the wounds. The client is both a ‘victim’ of the cutting, burning, etc., and also the ‘perpetrator’ of these self-damaging acts. Such behaviors, however destructive, do having meaning: as a way of managing overwhelming anxiety, and/or as an expression of rage against her hated ‘weakness’ and/or a protective act ensuring that she doesn’t violently attack someone else.

Such complexities are further compounded by the hugely powerful emotions aroused in us as practitioners. We can feel particularly perplexed, when confronted by the sheer violence of the self-harmer. This touches on another key feature, namely that ‘meaning making’ fundamentally arises out of the relationship with the worker. This places the client– practitioner interaction at the heart of the work. This does not mean the outside world is ignored, as engaging and negotiating with external reality is essential to therapeutic progress. The relationship is a ‘working laboratory’ exploring how the client functions ‘out there’, by paying careful attention to what is happening in treatment. For example, in a supervision group, Femi, a mental health social worker, presents a first meeting with Barbara, who accuses him of wanting to section her. A picture emerges of a woman who was abused by her father over many years. It then becomes clearer that Barbara comes to the meeting with a predetermined sense of an abusing male authority figure, mirroring her experience of her father. Freud referred to this phenomenon as the transference, by which he meant that experiences ‘belonging’ to the past are inevitably experienced in the present. Barbara carries an historical burden that corrupts her relationships in her current life. It is through the seminal work by Bowlby (1971) on attachment that we have come to understand these processes in greater detail. What we now understand is that Barbara views the new worker through the prism of a pre-existing ‘internal working model’.

To make sense of these dynamics requires an emotional strength and self-knowledge as powerful emotions are inevitably aroused in the practitioner. Freud called this the counter-transference, by which is meant the totality of the practitioner’s emotional responses to their client. He suggested that our own personal issues can limit the work with our clients, hence the importance of personal therapy for therapists. However, the counter-transference can also tell the practitioner something that the client is not conscious of. For example, when a client spoke in a flat, detached manner about not having seen his 3-year-old daughter for two years, I felt a tearful sadness and suggested that he was not letting me know just how upset he was feeling. He began to cry describing with a forlorn intensity the longing for his beloved daughter: an experience he had so penetratingly communicated non-verbally to me. Such experiences reflect a further key feature, namely the use of defenses – in this case, projection , a mechanism whereby the client ‘pushes’ feelings he does not want to experience onto me; I then have his sense of unacknowledged anguish about his daughter. From today’s vantage point it is difficult to appreciate just how revolutionary Freud’s work really was. Unlike conventional practice at the time that was geared to making symptoms disappear through hypnosis, Freud encouraged his mostly female patients to ‘free associate’ i.e. to talk about whatever came to mind. Personal experiences, however strange or bizarre, were now being taken seriously as ‘signals from the unconscious’ with profound idiosyncratic meaning and not simply the hysterical ranting’s of the ‘mad’.

Psychodynamic work is designed for use with any service user wishing to think about their part in what ‘happens to them’. One client put it succinctly: ‘After 10 years of failed relationships, I concluded that there was only one common denominator: it was me.’ She needed to find out what ‘goes wrong’ through engaging in a relationship with a therapist. Because of the emphasis on making the unconscious conscious, the client has to have some capacity to take responsibility for these insights and therefore subsequent behaviors. In modified forms of psychodynamic work, the practitioner can support such change through the use of more cognitive and behavioral techniques. Thus, other than the limitations imposed by clients who are actively abusing drugs or alcohol, there are no constraints on undertaking psychodynamic treatment. Psychodynamic work has 120 years of scholarship behind it. There is a growing body of evidence in both short and long-term work with depression and the range of personality disorders based on metallization-based therapy and transference- focused psychotherapy.

  1. Write a reflection on “Psychodynamic Theory: The Essential Elements” by Jack Nathan. Discuss the concepts of transference and countertransference. Review the CSWE core competencies and behaviors. Which competencies and practice behaviors address the issues presented in transference and countertransference situation? Explain your rationale. Post your reflection to the Discussion Forum.

For assignment Application of Psychosocial Theory to Gerontology Systems

Electronic Resource1. National Association of Social Workers

Use the NASW Code of Ethics as a resource for the Topic 3 assignments.


  1. Erik Erikson’s Identity Crisis: Who am I?

Watch the YouTube video: Erik Erikson’s Identity Crisis: Who am I?

  1. Person-Centered and Participant-Directed Social Work Competencies

Read “Person-Centered and Participant-Directed Social Work Competencies” (2016) from the Council on Social Work Education website.


  1. Geriatric Social Work Competency Scale II with Life-long Leadership Skills

Read and review “Geriatric Social Work Competency Scale II with Life-long Leadership Skills: Social Work Practice Behaviors in the Field of Aging” from the Council on Social Work Education website.


  1. Alzheimer’s Patient Case Study

Watch the video “Alzheimer’s Patient Case Study” from Films on Demand in the GCU library.


GC SOC 386 Week 3 Application of Psychosocial Theory to Gerontology Systems Latest

Review all the resources for this topic and watch the video Alzheimer’s Patient Case Study. Write a 750- to 1,000-word essay that includes the following:

  1. What do you think the role of the generalist practitioner would be for the caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients?
  2. Include your recommendations for coping with the following challenges for the Alzheimer’s patient and the caregiver: biological, social, cultural, psychological, and spiritual development.
  3. Based on the competencies from the Geriatric Social Work Competency Scale II, discuss what skills you would most like to gain as a beginning practitioner in the field of aging/gerontology?
  4. Reflect on the knowledge that you gained from watching this video. Analyze why or why not you might have an interest in working with seniors or the elderly.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion. Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide

Application of Psychosocial Theory to Gerontology Systems

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