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社會工作的雙焦點取向 The dual focus orientation in Social Work

簡介 Introduction

Throughout its history, individuals’ social functioning and social change have been the fundamental hallmarks of social work (Dulmus & Sowers, 2012). This dual-focus mission is a long-standing orientation in social work (Weick, 1999), in which person-in-environment (PIE) orientation serves as core components of its knowledge base (Cornell, 2006). This PIE orientation is almost universally accepted in social work, as it provides a framework for exploring and intervening in such networks in their complexity. The subject Human Behavior and Social Environment in social work training is a major platform to advocate such a dual-focus orientation, which in fact present a multidimensional PIE framework. This dual-focus-logical orientation is important in making social work different from other intervention-oriented disciplines, which either focus on social functioning (e.g., counselling, clinical psychology, psychiatry) or social change (e.g., social activism, social revolution). In other words, it is this unique “change agent” role that differentiates social workers from other healthcare professionals. Although this dual focus orientation has been perceived as a unique theoretical foundation of social work, it has not established a stable structure at an operational level. This is the case in Hong Kong, as well as the case in the global context. For example, what is considered “HBSE” is not really a universal consensus in the social work field. There are diverse models of HBSE in the social work curriculum. A 2005 study in the USA indicated that HBSE textbooks and course outlines revealed the lack of agreement among social work educators about what constitutes HBSE (Taylor, Austin, & Mulroy, 2005; Taylor, Mulroy, & Austin, 2005). Of the 20 schools requiring only one foundation HB& SE course (several schools sent different versions of the same course outline, thus proportions given are based on the outlines received), 35% (9) focused on the life cycle, 19% (5) emphasized systems, and another 19% (5) presented primarily theories. The lack of proper expertise and method has made this dual focus orientation becomes a bifurcated structure of social work practice (micro and macro), and this split forces a premature and unnecessarily narrow focus in study and practice. There are considerable debate about the relationship between human development, behavior, and the social environment (Bloom & Klein, 1997). There are criticisms noting that the social work knowledge education, in actual practice, is too individually focused (Mulroy & Austin, 2005), too environmentally focused (Han, 2010), or not attending adequately to the nature of transactions between the person and the environment (Kondrat, 2002). Vodde and Gallant (2002) sees that the dual-focus mission (personal and environmental) has become a bifurcated structure of social work practice (micro and macro), and this split forces a premature and unnecessarily narrow focus in study and practice.


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