Research Paper Example: Multi-theoretical Assessment of Adults in Context

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Carnegie Mellon University
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Research paper
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Theories help to explain and predict human behavior from micro and macro levels, guide social work research, inform social policy, direct social work research, give credibility to a profession, explain and predict the impact of larger social structures on human behavior, explain and predict social problems, and they are socially constructed and ideological. Theories also help us to conceptualize how and why people behave the way they do, and help us to the contextual nature of behavior. They also help us to focus our attention on the intrapsychic dynamics of psychological processes as well as the interpersonal and transpersonal dynamics of social life. The most important function of theories is that the theories we use as social workers shape the way in which we view our clients. They shape the questions we ask, the assessments we make, and ultimately the interventions we choose.

The docudrama Prayers for Bobby is constructed on the judgmentally applauded tome, Prayers for Bobby which is created on the real section of the lifetime and heritage of Bobby, a youthful gay who committed suicide in 1983 because of his mothers homophobia. His mother, Mary Griffith, the mother of Bobby Griffith, is a sincere Christian who nurtures her kids in accordance with the enthusiastic traditions of her native Presbyterian clerical in 1970s and 1980s. The life of the whole family changes after Mary finds out the secret life of Bobby. Mary takes Bobby to a psychoanalyst, who clarifies that Bobbys homosexuality is caused by lack of close association with his parentages. The psychiatrist advices Bobby to pray firmly and pursue comfort to church activities and as well arrange more socialization spell with the parents. His dad and brothers gradually comes accepts his homosexuality though his mother have faith in Supernatural being can change him. Bobby becomes despairing of his mothers appreciation and goes on to do what is supposed, but the churchs condemnation of same sex relationships and Marys efforts thatoverpower his rising conduct make him grow progressively solitary and miserable. Bobby treasure trove a homosexual boyfriend in a bar but his mother let him know that homosexuality will not be accepted in the family. Later, Bobby finds his gay boyfriend cheating on him with another gay and continues to this about his mamas arguments of preconception. After this, he commits suicide by throwing himself off a bond.

After her sons death, Mary starts to query herself and her homegrown churchs explanation of the word of God. She later learns about unforeseen backing for them and becomes familiar with a local reverend who invites her to a meeting of gays and lesbians where she then gives a talk on her struggles to cope with Bobbys behavior. Mary takes her people to San Francisco with other PFLAG associates to participate in a march in a homosexual conceit procession where she notices a boy with same characters as her late son Bobby observing the parade. She hugs the boy and vows to work tirelessly for the privileges of homosexuals.

In the book The Social System (1951), sociologist Talcott Parsons introduced structural functionalism as a major example. This structural functionalism theory is also known as the general theory of action. Parsons tried to elucidate how biological systems, personality systems, and cultural systems become integrated into the social system in ways that ensure the normative behavior on the part of individuals that is necessary to maintain the systems symmetry and survival. He expounded how the mechanisms of socialization and social control operate to structure personality systems in ways that are well-matched with the social structure. This proponent determined that each individual has anticipations of the others act and response to his own conduct, and that these prospects would be derived from the probable standards and morals of the society they constrain. He later developed the idea of roles into collectivities of roles that accompaniment each other in satisfying functions for culture. According to Parson, socialization is supported by the positive and negative authorizing of role manners that do or do not meet these expectations. Robert Merton agreed with Parsons theory though he recognized that it was difficult, believing that it was too comprehensive. Merton disapproved practical unity, saying that not all parts of modern, complex society work for the functional unity of the society. This theory is supposed to explain the behaviors of Bobby Griffith and his mother Mary Griffith which are influenced by their personality systems, cultural systems, and biological systems. Marys Christian culture leads to her disapproval of her sons homosexuality behavior while Bobbys lack of close socialization with his parents leads to him being homosexual. Later after the death of Bobby, Mary finds out that her sons behavior was influenced by his inner self.

Another theory is the dynamic systems theory which is commonly known in the social work literature as general systems theory or, simply, systems theory. This theory instigated in the fields of Physics and Mathematics. Generally, dynamic system theory goes to describe the flow of associations among the components of some whole spectacle. This was developed by Esther Thelen as it applies to developmental psychology. Thelen and Smith propose a new theory of the developmental of cognition and action, unifying recent advances in dynamic systems theory. According to Miller, this theory tries to incorporate all probable aspects that may be in action at any given growing moment. The concepts of this theory are mixed with social functionalism, creating a more conservative understanding of social systems. For example, a family of four can be thought of as a system in which each person is the subject, all family members together are mutually influencing, and family relationships are woven together into patterns and developmental processes, the family as a whole encompasses subsystems, and the family transacts with external suprasystems. This theory is supposed to explain the social behavior of Bobby Griffith and his mother Mary Griffith. Bobby is a gay and his mother is a staunch Christian who is opposed to homosexuality as it is contrary to the teachings of the scriptures of her local church. The father and siblings of Bobby slowly accepts his homosexuality way of life but his mother is stubborn enough not to accept this kind of living style.

Structural functionalism theory has several strengths and one of them is that it asserts that there are purposes for social conditions or facts. The major strength of this theory is that it looks at the whole society in other words its a macro level structural theory. In the film Prayer for Bobby, Bobby is used to represent other gays in the whole society and his mother Mary is used to represent the parents of lesbians and gays in the society. Bobbys cousin is used to represent the friends and families of gays in the society. It uses the body as a means to describe the different parts of the society. Functionalism is considered vital for the smooth running of the society. In the film Prayer for Bobby, Bobbys family is used to describe different parts of the society in that there are other gays in the society who experience withdrawal and depression because there are not accepted in the society by either their parents or other members of the society.

The weakness of this theory is that some could arguably assert that poverty serves a function in the society. In the film used in this discussion, there is no explanation that shows Bobby became gay because financial constraints of his family but it is a biological aspect as his mother found out later after his death.

The control theory has its strengths and weaknesses too. One of its strengths is that it is realistic in reflection of the world. In the films selected for this work, the theory is realistic in the reflection of the different people in the society. In the film there are two major characters who are Bobby who represent the gay members of the society and his mother Mary who represents the religious people in the society who are reluctant to accept ill behaviors among the members of their families. It is after the death of Bobby that Mary accepts the freedom and rights of gays and lesbians and dedicates her efforts to fight for their rights.

The structural functionalism theory is considered vital for the smooth running of the society. Parson explain that biological systems, cultural systems and personality systems which become integrated in the social system in ways that ensure the normative behavior on the part of individual is necessary to ensure equilibrium and survival. This theory accounts for social privileges which are then integrated to the society for equilibrium and survival. When all rights of an individual are respected by the whole society, there is an equilibrium created and hence every member of the society feel comfortable to be part of the system. This theory does not account for social oppression as it explains different systems that are integrated in the social system in ways that ensure the normative behavior on the part of the individual is necessary to ensure equilibrium and survival.

The dynamic system theory creates a more conservative understanding of the social system. This theory accounts for the influence of social privileges. The family is supposed to be mutually related and one of the members of the family can be used as the subject. The family or the society should be mutually related to each other with no oppression put on any of them. Due to this relationship, this theory does not account for social oppression.

These two theories; structural functionalism and dynamic system theory are very influential in the social work practice. In a family set up, the dynamic system theory can be very important in how the family members relate with both nuclear and extended family members. This creates an equilibrium where every family member feels equal to the other and privileges are equally enjoyed. For example, this theory helps parents relate well with their children and with good parental care the children grow with the acceptable behavior in the society because the parents are able to learn of ill behaviors from their children and correct them in time. The children may ask themselves questions such as; why do my parents want me to dress in this manner? Why do my parents advise me to avoid bad companies? With this, the children are able to develop good characters through role modelling from their parents and thus they are accepted in the society.

The structural functionalism helps one to understand biological systems, cultural systems and personality systems which ae important in how people relate in the society. In a school set up, it is important to understand the diverse systems of the school members. People come from different cultures, have different biological, and personality systems and thus it is important to integrate them in the whole set up in order to have a smooth running of the school system. For example, people come from different religious backgrounds and it is important to respect religious believes and practices of each member of students and both the teaching and non-teaching staffs in order to create a conducive environment for learning. People may ask themselves; why do some people worship in this manner? Why do some people go to worship in different days from the others? This helps the members of the society to respect each other and hence there is peace.

Social cognition theory proposes that behavior change is affected by environmental influences, personal factors, and attributes to the behavior itself. This theory can be appli...

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