Toward a possible big book of exam content, here are some key theorists and their theories--all worth knowing for the social work exam:

Attachment Theory

Key Theorists: John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth

Focuses on the bond between infants and their caregivers and how this early attachment influences emotional and social development throughout life.

Cognitive-Behavioral Theory

Key Theorists: Albert Ellis, Aaron Beck

Explores the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns to promote positive behavioral change.

Ecological Systems Theory

Key Theorist: Urie Bronfenbrenner

Focuses on the influence of various environmental systems on individual development. The microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem are the key components of this theory.

Family Systems Theory

Key Theorist: Murray Bowen

Emphasizes the interconnectedness of family members and how they influence one another's behavior, emotions, and functioning within the family unit. 

Ego Psychology

Theorists: Anna Freud, Erik Erikson, Heinz Hartmann.

Developed as an extension of Sigmund Freud's original psychoanalytic theory. Emphasizes the adaptive and defensive functions of the ego. 

Feminist Theory

Key Theorists: Various feminist scholars (e.g., Carol Gilligan, bell hooks)

Examines how gender inequalities and social structures affect individuals and aims to promote gender equality and social justice.

Person-Centered Theory

Key Theorist: Carl Rogers

Emphasizes the importance of the therapeutic relationship and unconditional positive regard in facilitating personal growth and self-actualization.

Psychodynamic Theory

Key Theorists: Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Erik Erikson

Emphasizes the role of unconscious processes and early childhood experiences in shaping personality and behavior.

Social Learning Theory

Key Theorist: Albert Bandura

Posits that individuals learn through observation and imitation of others. It emphasizes the role of modeling and reinforcement in shaping behavior.

Structural Family Therapy

Key Theorist: Salvador Minuchin

Focuses on understanding and addressing the patterns and dynamics within family systems that contribute to individual and relational difficulties.

Systems Theory

Key Theorist: Ludwig von Bertalanffy

Views social systems as interconnected and interdependent entities. It emphasizes the understanding of relationships, interactions, and feedback loops within these systems.

Strengths Perspective

Key Theorist: Dennis Saleebey

Focuses on identifying and building upon clients' strengths and resources to empower them and promote positive change.

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July 25, 2023
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