Social Work and Human Services Paper on Person-in-Environment Perspective

The perspective of Person in Environment

The approach of Person in Environment proffers a guideline for the social work practice (Kemp, Whittaker, & Tracy, 1997). Accordingly, it shows the importance of understanding an individual as well as his or her behavior based on the context. The framework is used to assess an individual, the problems they present, and his strengths. Person-in-environment perspective relies on the social-medical model and the bio-psycho-social model.

The bio-psycho-social model relates the outcome of a disease to intricate, variable interactions various factors. These factors include psychological factors, biological factors, and social factors. Some advantages of using this design include: the model considers a micro and macro factors when analyzing a patient; the model concentrates on having an all-round healthy environment; lastly cure and good health does not solely rely on health experts, but partly on the control of the patients. The downside of this model is that it assumes that all mental illnesses are bio-psycho-social, which is not always true. The model can easily confuse a new user (Bennett, 2011).

The medical model attributes abnormal behavior to physical challenges that can be treated medically. This design encourages more research into an illness, rather than making assumptions. The knowledge of the causes of illness helps to put in place preventative measures, and many successful treatments have been developed from research (In Walsh, In Craik, & In Price, 2014). The model, however, ignores the views that sickness and health are relative and are social constructs.

The person-in-environment perspectives rely on the principles of the biopsychosocial model. The perspective looks beyond the medical causes of disease and illness. It takes into consideration the psychological and social constructs of illness. The bio-psycho-social model will still be compatible with the person-in-environment perspective. This is because the later looks into a person in his environment, besides the medical point of view. The perspective is likely to rely more on the bio-psycho-social model in the future.



Bennett, P. (2011). Abnormal and clinical psychology (1st ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Kemp, S., Whittaker, J., & Tracy, E. (1997). Person-environment practice (1st ed.). New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

In Walsh, W. B., In Craik, K. H., & In Price, R. H. (2014). Person-environment psychology: New directions and perspectives. London: Psychology Press, 2014.