The main contribution of systems and ecological ideas to social work is to integrate interpersonal interventions involving individuals with interventions that also engage with families, communities and other social agencies. This is done through a focus on how social and personal factors interact, helping people to adapt their social environment and their reactions to it so that they can live more harmoniously. A recent emphasis on ‘green’ policy issues such as sustainability in the natural environment is a new contribution to social work and care services and connects with ecological ideas. Ecological systems theory, while it sometimes refers to green issues, is mainly concerned with the social rather than the natural environment.
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