Applying social work skills in practice
Applying social work skills in practice

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Applying social work skills in practice

2.1 Developmental theories and experiences of care

Developmental theorists have suggested that experiences of growing up and the influence of early caregivers affect how individuals develop psychologically and socially (Dunn, 1994; Rutter and Hay, 1994; Aldgate et al., 2006). Owusu-Bempah (2006) argues that early relationships (of whatever kind) are the foundation on which future relationships are based.

It has been suggested by these authors that the way people relate to others and to the world is handed down by adult caretakers to children, and that culture, language and spiritual identity are part of the transmission of styles and beliefs from one generation to the next. However, this should not be seen deterministically, as early patterns can be changed, new ideas taken on board and positive new experiences repair earlier damaging ones.

This research also shows that a child’s individual temperament and responses are such that people make their own choices, having multi-layered and changing identities in response to new situations. A reading of biographies often very effectively illustrates the way that upbringing influences adult experience (for example, Winterson, 1985, 2012). The first activity in the section asks you to consider this from a personal point of view.

Activity 5 Experiences of early care

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