chapter  7
23 Pages

The Social-Context Model

When confronted with a client who is suffering from subjective psychological distress, it is often tempting for the therapist to investigate the person's individual functioning in detail while neglecting to look outside the individual for explanatory factors. It is always important, since we are social creatures, for a therapist to examine the social context of any psychological disturbance. The basic premise behind this chapter is that individual dysfunction and pain can emerge, not from a "ftaw" in the individual, but from pressures exerted by social institutions of the family, community, and society at large (cf. Kazdin, 1978a). Although social behavior usually helps an individual function well in the environment, when social or personal norms are in a state of ftux, individuals often feel distress because they are subject to incompatible social demands.