The Biopsychosocial Dimension
- Describe the Disease and Medical Models
- Describe Social Learning Theory
- Explore how biological functioning impacts our overall health
Jason’s parents have been called by the school social worker to discuss concerns related to fighting with a peer and declining grades. His parents report concerns at home with poor sibling relationships, anger issues, and “a bad attitude, always talking back, never listening or doing what we ask him to do”. They report a long family history of substance abuse and mental health issues (anxiety and depression). They report increased concerns related to this as they recently found marijuana in Jason’s room. Jason (14 y/o) reports “My parents don’t know what they’re talking about. My little brother and sister just get me in trouble because I don’t let them touch my stuff, besides, my parents don’t care, they don’t listen to me, they just want me to do what they say. And I don’t see what the big deal is with me smoking a little weed, it helps me feel better and not be so mad all the time.”
*We will continue use of this vignette for this section as well.
The BioPsychoSocial Dimension allows us to take a more specific look into theories and models as we explore client issues or concerns.
The Disease Model is a problem-oriented approach concerned with identifying a problem or dysfunction and providing an intervention to “cure” the behavioral or physiological problem. Focusing on the problem first is how many people are used to working when trying to find a solution. While we work in a strengths-based approach, the disease model is popular in many health care settings, and having understanding of use of this model allows for communication and collaboration with other professionals that may also be involved in the client’s care.
The Medical Model is a disease-based model focused on identifying a disease based on symptoms, and then curing or alleviating the problem through scientific examination and intervention. An example of this would be use of the Diagnostic and Statistical of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in clinical social work to assess symptoms reported by a client and then determine the correct diagnosis, which leads to chosen treatment modalities. This model has been widely used in social work and other professions to help conceptualize problems and interventions.
We will take a deeper look at some key elements of human biology in the following videos with an exploration of the brain, neurological functions, and genetics and their connection to wellness and how they can contribute/impact disease and issues related to this.
The Neurobiology of Stress on Brain Function.
What do others think of you? How the brain perceives other people:
What is a Healthy Mind?:
Executive Function and Self Regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. The brain needs this skill set to filter distractions, prioritize tasks, set and achieve goals, and control impulses.
3 types of brain functions:
- Working memory governs our ability to retain and manipulate distinct pieces of information over short periods of time.
Mental flexibility helps us to sustain or shift attention in response to different demands or to apply different rules in different settings.
Self-control enables us to set priorities and resists impulsive actions or responses.
These functions are highly interrelated, and the successful application of executive function skills requires them to operate in coordination with each other.
Children are not born with these skills—they are born with the potential to develop them. If children do not receive appropriate and healthy responses to their needs from their relationships with adults and the conditions in their environments, their skill development can be seriously delayed or impaired.
Functions of the Nervous System:
It is important to recognize our internal systems are interconnected and are affected by one another. Ex: how chronic stress can impact our physical health, emotional health, and functioning.
Here we look at the exploration of genetics and environment and come back to the age old question – nature vs nurture? Does one have a stronger impact than the other in shaping who we are and how we respond to our world? As in most cases, you will need to look at both and determine which may be impacting your client more.
Please continue on to Chapter 3: Lifespan Theories to learn more about Erikson’s Psychosocial development, Piaget’s Cognitive development, Frued’s Psychosexual development, and Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral development.
- Social Learning Theory explores how observations of others and their responses to us shape our learning and responses to various feelings, situations, and others.
- Piaget’s Theories of Cognitive Development states people develop cognitively from birth through teenage years in universal stages.
- Erikson’s Theories of Psychosocial Development includes 8 stages we engage in throughout our lifetime with the goal of learning to trust others, to be independent, to pursue goals and interests, to be productive and successful, to develop a sense of identity, to look for closeness and intimacy in relationships, to begin investing in work, families, and communities and focus on others, and finally to reflect on lives to either develop a sense of well-being or of despair.
- Freud’s Theory of Psychosexual Development states our moral self is shaped by society’s morals and values which gives us our sense of right and wrong. Anxiety or guilt is used to keep the ego and id in check.
- We took a deeper look at biological functioning with the brain, nervous system, and genetics and impacts they have on our overall health and functioning.
Rogers, A. (2013). Human behavior in the social environment (Fourth Edition.). New York: Routledge.
Khanacademymedicine. (2014, April 24). Functions of the Nervous System. Organ Systems [Video file]. Youtube. Standard YouTube License. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrK-FBdjGk4
Khanacademymedicine. (2013, September 17). Observational learning: Bobo doll experiment and social cognitive theory [Video file]. Youtube. Standard YouTube License. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wf3-tRpmGmY
MedXclusive Learning. (2016, September 22). Human Brain: Major Structures and their Functions [Video file]. Youtube. Standard YouTube License. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeE7Fpg061I
Scienceandnonduality. (2019, February 21). What is a Healthy Mind? Dan Siegel [Video file]. Youtube. Standard YouTube License. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A_aYHEac6I
TEDx Talks. (2017, December 8). Twins: A window into human nature [Video file]. Youtube. Standard YouTube License. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2__1Jrcpv4
TEDx Talks. (2015, November 19). What do others think of you? How the brain perceives other people [Video file]. Youtube. Standard YouTube License. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfcnlADSuQ4
Yale School of Medicine. (2019, July 15). The Neurobiology of Stress on Brain Function [Video file]. Youtube. Standard YouTube License. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9EvpJ9gZPI