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Biopsychosocial Spiritual Assessment

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Updated: Jul 20th, 2020


Biopsychosocial spiritual approach in social work is used to study the effects of biological, psychological, social and physical factors on the human behaviour (Green, 2002). These dimensions play a critical role in the determination of the behaviour of an individual. The life of an individual is surrounded by many dimensions, each of which has an effect to his/her overall behaviour.

These dimensions can be broadly divided into personal, environmental and time dimensions. The personality of an individual, his ego, emotion and cognition are crucial factors of an individual while using this approach (Green, 2002). In the biopsychosocial approach, the behaviour that is exhibited by humans is believed to be depending on their biological, psychological and social aspects.

The biology and psychology of an individual are inseparable. This is because the psychology (cognition and emotions) affect the overall health and well being of an individual. In further research, scientists have discovered that the psychology and social aspects of humans are also interrelated. That is why they refer to the brain as the social mind.

This therefore suggests that the brain is not only wired for social life but it also recognises they physical environment which an individual. These three factors therefore work hand in hand to determine the behaviour of an individual. The personal dimension of human beings is composed of the psychological, biological and spiritual aspects of an individual.

The biological aspect of an individual comprises of the body cell, organs and physiological systems. These aspects determine the physical appearance, anatomy, physiology and the health of an individual. The effectiveness and stability of these aspects play a critical role in the determination of the behaviour of an individual. The psychological system of humans comprises of the mind and mental processes.

This enables an individual to capture process and interpret information within him and his surroundings. It determines the ability of an individual to view life from a critical aspect that is different from everybody else, making him/her to be unique. All these depend on the cognition and emotion of an individual. These factors affect the conscious thinking process, feeling and emotions of human beings.

The spiritual system is the part of a human being that searches for the meaning and purpose of life (Ambrose, 2006). This is the part in an individual that poses questions about life, building up a lot of curiosity. It drives the morality of an individual. It determines the ethics, justice, creativity, religion, sociality, contemplation, relationships and the freedom of choice.

This system has a lot of influence in the behaviour of an individual, especially his/her social aspect of life. This is what determines the kind of person an individual is, how he views things and how he relates to other people in the society. The environmental dimension of a human being is composed of a number of factors. These are the factors which surround a person affecting his/her day to day activities.

Some of these factors include: the physical environment, social institutions, culture, families, dyads, small groups, communities and formal organisations. The physical environment is composed of natural and anthropogenic structures that surround human beings. They include: houses, mountains, the sun, rivers, lakes, vegetation and so on.

This form part of the environment where an individual lives and operates in. It varies from place to place and time to time. Culture is a formal behaviour that common within a given group of people. It affects the behaviour and material artefacts of an individual. It comprises of customs, beliefs traditions and values (Cournoyer, 2008).

A Dyad is the relationship that exists between two individuals. This is can be between a parent and child, husband and wife, teacher and student and so on. Family on the other hand is the relationship that exists between three or more individuals. This can either be nuclear family composed of father mother and child/children or extended families that include more family members who are related to each other with blood or marriage.

Small groups on the other hand are associations that are created by individuals to achieve common goals and objectives. Welfare clubs, youth groups, neighbourhood watch and sports club are just examples of these groups. The last dimension of a human being is time. It comprises of trends, cycles, shifts and linear time. Trends can be defined as definite patterns of change that occur through the life of an individual.

These patterns can be predicted with a certain degree of accuracy based on a number of known factors. Examples of trends that are being experienced in the world currently include the development of the United States into a multicultural state, the incorporation of information technology in the operations of various sectors of the economy and the climatic changes that are being experienced due to global warming. Trends affect the short term and long term life of a human being.

Cycles on the other hand are patterns of change that repeat themselves after a definite period of time. Examples of cycles include the different seasons of weather, the rise and fall of the economy, days of the week and months of the year and so on. Cycles give the human mind an aspect of planning his life by setting and can also be used to measure the success of an individual with time (Edward, 2010).

Shifts are sudden changes in the life of an individual. This may be a change in living standards and the changes in the environment due to disasters and natural calamities. Liner time is viewing life on a straight line. This is where time is viewed as either past, present or future.

To assess the biopsychosocial spiritual aspect of a human being, one needs to understand all of these concepts and apply various methods and tools to come up with the final result. By doing so, one would have understood all the aspects of an individual that may have led to the development of his/her behaviour. It therefore takes a keen study and research to come up with such diagnosis.

Biopsychosocial Assessment of Maria

Maria was a 17 year old Columbian girl struggling to make it in life. The poor working condition coupled with the hard life that she was experiencing back at home; Maria decided to come to the United States in search of a better life. However, she had to smuggle drugs to earn her ticket into the country.

Things did not turn up to her expectations and in the process one of her companions died. Finally she had a chance to go back home but she decided to stay in the states. I had the chance to perform a biopsychosocial assessment on her. I was determined to gather as much information as during the sessions that we had together.

To achieve this, I ensured the she was comfortable and had trust in me. I gave her a chance to give her side of the story but in the process I was keen to ensure that she was telling me the truth. I was also interested in determining her mental state of mind. I was therefore keen on her reactions, behaviour emotions and speech. These factors could tell a lot about her state of mind.

The first thing which I wanted to determine is the problem which she was facing, what caused it and how it has affected her life. I was able to get this information by giving her a chance to tell her side of the story. From my analysis, I was able to conclude that her main problem was the lack of a stable job and good income was her main problem.

Due to this, Maria had to struggle to earn a living; a move that made her make a number of wrong choices in her life, smuggling drugs into the united states being one of them. After determining her problem, I wanted to know what factors of her life led to the development of this problem. I discovered that Maria was born in a poor family; she therefore lacked the opportunity of getting a good life and education.

Once she became mature, she had to support her family, including her sister who was pregnant. On top of this, she got pregnant with a man whom she did not love. Desperate to earn a living and determined to make it in life, Maria offered herself to be used as a drug mule to smuggle drugs into the United States. She is optimistic that life would be better here than back at home.

Maria has no history of any medical problems. She is physically fit, a factor which has sustained her through the hard work that she has been engaging in all through her life. I did not identify any mental disorders in her. She is a woman of good personality bases on principles and ethics which she had learned from her culture. That is why she was noble enough to raise money to send the body of her counterpart for burial back home.

Her family is engaged since they have been living together all through their lives apart from this time that she is in the United States. Her main basic needs at the moment are food, shelter and clothing for herself and her baby to come. She does not know where to start from since she is in a foreign state which is not familiar to her.

To make the matters worse, she is in the country illegally. This will make her chances of getting a job to be harder. Despite all this, Maria is composed and optimistic that the future is bright. She just has to struggle and work harder.

From this assessment, I was able to conclude that Maria is of sound body and mind. The main cause of her problems was due to her poor background, a burden which she has to carry with her and if things do not work out for the better she will transfer them to her unborn baby. This is just one among the many cases which are being experienced all over the world.

Type of Contract

I will develop a formal contract with my client. The development of the contract begun during the exploration period when I was trying to identify the clients problem and continued throughout the process. The relationship that developed between us during this process led to the establishment of a formal contract of service.

According to Cournoyer (2008) the skills that are required to set up a contract between a social worker and a client include: reflecting and identifying an issue, establishing goals, developing an action plan, evaluating the progress and summarising the contract (p. 296).

These basic steps will assist on the formulation and making of a stable contract that will protect the interest of both parties which are involved in the contract. As a social worker, I will exercise professional ethics and values to ensure that all the requirements of the contract are met so that the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved are respected.


We were able to set up three goals between my client and I which had to be achieved by the end of our sessions. The first goal was for her to accept her biopsychosocial status. This will enable her to be true to herself and formulate means through which she could overcome this burden and make her life better. The second goal was to improve her self esteem. From my assessment, I noted that my client had a low self esteem.

She had the belief that she could not get a good job or interact with other people since she was a person from a poor background. I believe that she was experiencing the same problems back at home and that is why almost all her friends were of a similar upbringing. Having a high self esteem will improve her social skills; she will be able to interact with almost everyone in the society.

It will therefore be much easier for her to get information which might lead her to a good job. The last goal was to process documents which will ensure that she is staying legally in the United States. This will make her a peace of mind, guarantee her a safe stay in the country and it will be easier for her to get a good job. All this goals aim at making her life to be better by improving all the dimensions of her life.

Professional Ethics Dilemmas

My role as a social worker will be to improve the life of my client and make it better (Zastro, 2009). However, during this process there are several incidences where the boundary of ethics which guide my profession is crossed. This will lead to a professional ethic dilemma. The repercussions of such cases might be very severe at times. While dealing with Maria, I might get emotional due to her sad story and decide to assist her beyond the limits of my profession.

In the process, I would have been assisting an alien who is in the country illegally. This will automatically make me her accomplice. By doing this, i would have acted beyond my powers and at the same time I would have been committing a federal offence. This will have a negative impact on my career and question my professional ethics.


Ambrose, S.D. (2006). Religion and psychology: new research. Boston: Nova Publishers

Cournoyer, B. (2008). The social work skills workbook. New York: Cengage Learning.

Edward, P.M (2010). A handbook of Psychology. London: Sage

Green, R.R. (2002). Resiliency: an integrated approach to practice, policy, and research. Michigan: NASW Press

Zastro, C. (2009). The Practice of Social Work: A Comprehensive Worktext. New York: Cengage Learning.

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