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Home > Arhiva > 2010 > Numar: 2 > Reţelele sociale şi importanţa lor în asistenţa socială [Social Networks and their Importance in Social Work]

 Reţelele sociale şi importanţa lor în asistenţa socială [Social Networks and their Importance in Social Work]

  • Mihaela Gotea (Lecturer, PhD, Transilvania University of Braşov, Faculty of Sociology and Communication, Department of Social and Communication Sciences, E-mail:

Each social network is typically composed of family members as well as nonfamily members such as friends, coworkers, neighbors and so on. Personal relationships with these individuals can significantly impact one’s physical and mental well-being. Social networks can exert influence in a number of ways, from the early stages of childhood to early, middle and late adulthood. The social influences of the ego-centered networks can be either positive or negative. In social work, consideration of networks is not exclusive to working with or in communities, they are crucial also when focusing on work with individuals, couples and families. In the context of clinical social work, there are three different networking strategies, mentioned by Coulshed and Orme (1998), that can be useful: network therapy (a therapeutic approach where network is seen as a change agent), problem-solving network meetings (bringing together formal and informal persons, in order to sort out who is doing what) and network construction (assessment of personal networks in order to sustain, change or build new networks). In this paper, I present theoretical aspects of social networks, as well as some methodological issues in assessing personal networks.

Keywords: social networks, ego-centered network, network assessment