Building a Holistic Environmental Model for Global Social Work

By Deborah West.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Social workers are increasingly working with people, families and communities that are affected by the ramifications of environmental issues. Currently social work practice works from a person-in-environment perspective with particular emphasis on the social environment. Very few social work models make explicit reference to the natural environment and even fewer actually highlight the natural environment as a key factor in intervention (West, 2006). The fact that a holistic approach based on social justice and cultural inclusion is enshrined in our code of ethics (AASW, 1999) provides further impetus for exploration and development of updated theoretical frameworks. Previous work highlighted the limitations of the mainstream sociological understandings for social work education and practice (West, 2006). The current paper explores the implications of this mainstream approach in an era when global and environmental issues are increasingly impacting on social work clients. To highlight the interconnection, examples are drawn from within the Australian and international context. This article then moves to outline the key philosophical underpinnings and theory base of a holistic environmental model of social work practice.

Keywords: Social Work, Environment, Global Social Work

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.61-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 496.269KB).

Dr. Deborah West

Senior Lecturer, Social Work and Welfare Studies, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT, Australia

Deborah West is Senior Lecturer and Program Coordinator in Social Work and Welfare Studies at Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory. She holds a Master of Social Work and a PhD from Flinders University. Her current research interests include social work theory development, the role of information and communication technology in society and environmental social work.


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