The influence of psychology on social work

Scope for alternative perspectives on attachment and spirituality in developing societies

  • Raymond Ogunade University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
  • Paul Rees Swansea University, Wales, UK
Keywords: indigenous spirituality, attachment globalisation, psychological theory


Social work in industrialised countries has traditionally looked to psychology for theory. As the professions have evolved this dependence has remained strong. However, both professions increasingly recognise that the application of psychological theory in social work can be problematic, especially in certain contexts. For the purpose of illustration this paper firstly explores the dominance of Attachment Theory in social work despite its questionable deterministic assertions. Second, the lack of regard psychology has typically shown towards matters of spirituality and the consequential influence on social work is discussed. The potential implications for social work in developing societies of adopting similar outlooks on attachment issues and spirituality are considered. A collaborative international social work training initiative (Nigerian-United Kingdom) serves to contextualise these considerations. The paper concludes that social work in developing societies should be judicious when drawing on psychological theory and ensure due attention is paid to indigenous knowledge.

Author Biographies

Raymond Ogunade, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria

Department of Religions, Faculty of Arts

Paul Rees, Swansea University, Wales, UK

School of Human and Health Sciences