Sample Social work and Human Services on Biopsychosocial Assessment

Biopsychosocial Assessment


The paper discusses Will, a 20-year old Boston laborer, who was facing problems after a physical assault during his childhood. The case study will analyze the biopsychosocial factors, which led to Will’s case. Will is a patient who would be preferred to the home care program to enhance his full recovery from the adverse conditions of stress. In terms of the evaluation of the biopsychosocial elements, the cognitive behavioral model is useful in dealing with the stress facing Will. After the childhood incident, Will is faced with increased stress and depression.  The cognitive behavioral approach is important in assisting the patients of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Diverse and dynamic processes, techniques, skills as well as theories need to be used to find solutions to these daily encounters. The most critical in solving any problem is by determining and exploring individuals to understand the causation factors and the propagating components.  Essentially, biopsychosocial is a phenomenon, which aims at three basic human dimensions. Biopsychosocial assessments are questions, sequential in nature, which aid diagnosis by preceding treatment of an individual. They are used to obtain information on the major physical referring to the biological aspects, psychological through which thought processes are evaluated, and the social matters of an individual. In other words, biopsychosocial assessment is referred to as holistic assessment because it seeks information about all dimensions of human life (McInnis-Dittrich, 2005). It is argued by experts that physical illness could influence or be influenced by social interactions or by psychological functions. The three aspects interactively influence each other, and therefore it becomes essential to determine and assess them to understand which factor is the course of the illness and consequently device mechanisms to solve or treat it. Social and family background affects the genetic and cognitive problem situations.


            The client’s name is Will Hunting; a 20-year old Boston laborer.  His social security number is 677 67 3545.  He currently resides in Boston. This case entails a Biopsychosocial assessment of the movie “Good Will Hunting”. The movie entails a 20-year old Boston Laborer “Will Hunting”, who is an unknown genius prosecuted by assaulting a police officer in efforts to try and find his identity.  He later becomes a patient of “Williams’, a therapist and studies mathematics with Skarsgard. Will is a university student and through his classes in therapy, he develops good relations with a friend “Affle” and his girlfriend “Driver” because he desires a great future. After an appraisal of the biopsychosocial assessment, cognitive therapy is recommended the trauma that Will face from physical assault during his childhood. This therapy entails empirical research to help victims with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).               

Person, Family, Household and Community

Will assaults a man who intimidated him in his childhood and a policeman who tries to break up the war. He faces incarnation because Lambeau arranges for him to forgo jail on condition that he agrees to study mathematics under his supervision.  This is with an aim to assist will seek simultaneous psychotherapy. At first, Will agrees but treats his therapist with contempt by refusing to open up because of his bourgeois mind about therapists. The therapists refuse to treat Will further. Lambeau is annoyed by Will and invites Williams, who is his roommate and a friend and teaching psychology in the community college in Bunker Hill. Williams challenges the defense mechanism applied by Will and after few sessions, he starts to open up.

William, the psychotherapist, uses a story of how he met his wife and paid her ticket to 1975 World Series after love in first sight. This story is appealing to Will because William is not regretting this decision. William neither regrets his decision nor his future years of marriage. His wife was dying of cancer yet he stood by her. This story motivates Will and he builds relationship with Skylar though he did not tell him the truth about his past and refuses to show her around as well as his friends. Through this, Will challenges Williams to take responsibility of his life and move on from issues surrounding the death of his wife. Further, Will mocks job interviews arranged by Lambeau. For instance, he turns down a position at the National Security Agency criticizing the acts of the interviewer. As Skylar asks Will to move with her to California, she declines and pushes her away. By doing this, Will reveals to Skylar that he is an orphan and that his father physically abused him.

Despite Skylar’s confession that she loves him, Will denies loving Skylar and moves away from her. He dismisses her research but William points out that Will is very skillful at foreseeing his future in his relationship with other individuals that he intentionally sabotages to avoid emotional pain. After Will refuses to show how he wants his future life to be, William throws him out of his sessions and Will decides to a laborer for the rest of his life and by telling his friend, he tells him that that will be an insult to all his friends to waste his potential. Through a discussion among Will, Wiliams and Lambeau, both Lambeau and William confess to Will that they are also victims of child abuse. William convinces Will that Will is responsible for his inner demons. Through this, Will agrees to accept job offers, overcome his problems and reconcile with his friends.

Issues of concern

Current Stressors

A wide range of practitioners, such as Williams and Lambeau utilize biopsychosocial assessment. Both psychologists and ancient philosophers have presented practical evidence that each sphere has a strong impact on other dimensions of life and this influence can be closely interlinked. The biopsychosocial assessment questions are categorized into the three distinct spheres and in the order from the possible historical elements to the current situation. For instance, in the case of Will, the information enquired pertains: family history of his stress, and its impact on his negative perception about his future life because of his physical abuse by his father.

Strengths, Competencies and Resources

Psychological Assessment

Will faces various stressors, posttraumatic stress disorder, and risks of jail from fights and assault are determined. Thought processes, personality traits, distorted thought, and believe patterns are also highlighted. The intention here is to come up with psychological techniques, theories, and application of skills to help the Will and challenge distorted thoughts, as well as come up with realistic beliefs and sound perception of nature.


Sociological Questions

Will encounters hard times of relationships, economics factor, and living arrangements are some of the questions. The manner in which the Will interacts with the environment is represented by the questions. His interpersonal relations in school are examined. Depending with the presented problem, biopsychosocial assessments are done based on the historical factors of the individual.

Historical Factors

Will should have attended sessions that does not require in-depth assessment, such as the family history of the illness. The assessment forms are designed in a way, which makes it possible for the Williams to get much information within a short period of time. The essence of the psychological based assessment should be to tap the strength of Will. Such focus calls out for competency-based assessment. Great emphasis is thus put on these strengths Will at the same time try to minimize the weakness. William and Lambeau invest heavily on this approach to help Will acquire basic personal strength hidden in his mind. These strengths used include attributes such as resilience, self-efficacy, high self esteem, positive attitude and self-motivation.

Will desires to structure a reliable and valid biopsychosocial assessment results and it is therefore required that therapists like William should be aware that clients like Will may either lie intentionally or by omission. It is proposed that proper skills ought to be employed during exploration of the key components of the client’s life and to determine whether novel information creates new means to visualize an aimed aspect or issue. When focusing on the social conditions experience, efforts are placed on the external forces. At times, a formulation model may be used to highlight social aspect of precipitating, perpetuating, predisposing and protective factors. William and Lambeau should mostly apply this. They should use medics to emphasize on internal forces, biological and psychological experiences. They should have recognized the ability of Will to change and take responsibility for their own decisions within the broader view of socio-cultural forces pushing them.

Will is seen to be located in culture and in conduct with active interaction and relationship in all spheres of the society. Dialectically, it is worthy putting into consideration all angles of one’s life because individuals all have the ability to manipulate either positively or negatively by our surrounding. By the use of biopsychosocial assessment, the individual’s personal aptitude to make decisions and select choice is discovered. Psychological illnesses, which may be caused by social problems like poor interaction during childhood and physical assault like in the case of Will leading to stress, can also be determined.      William and Lambeau should use the biopsychosocial assessment such as chain.

Will is seen as located in the core of series of continuous concentric circles and as an active recipient of the influence of the immediate environment including family, girlfriend, and the community. The experiences associated with race, ethnicity, age, social status, class and ability affairs together with cultural diversity adversely or positively affect the individual’s harmony. In some cases, some of the illnesses originate from intrapersonal and interpersonal interactions. It is expected that William should demonstrate competency and appear to Will in full strength and encourage him to pursue on with life. With such an image, Will could have trusted Williams.

Will is seen as active and not passive contributor to the treatment. It is important to see the patient as not only emotional and psychological being, but also as an intellect. Through this, Will is viewed as an individual with ability to explore the society he/she is living in. By the fact that everyone has ideas and entitled to opinion, psychological assessment leads to cognitive therapy. A whole is greater than the sum of its parts is one of the proven facts to support biopsychosocial as a reliable tool. Assessing the past is an essential source of empowerment for the client for he/she will be taken through a journey of reflection and the courage to move forward with strength is rejuvenated and given the patient the responsibility for personal choice and proper decisions putting them in a better place to cope with the environment. This would have restored harmony and internal peace nourished at extremely early stages.

William needs a platform to use clinical and scientific way as well as their merits to handle Will’s case. The assessment explains, teaches, and decodes the language that the experts use. It is therefore important that William could have shared it with Will for their own analysis. Ethically, before conducting the assessment William should have had an informed consent of Will. The efficiency of biopsychosocial assessment is determined by the skills and the experience of the therapist and the nature of the problem presented. For more complex problem situation, special assessment is used by and expert. In case the practitioner feels not competed to use the biopsychosocial assessment, he/she is recommended to refer. This is because improper application of this assessment may lead to more destruction to the patient.

William should have had attention to cultural competency. The framing of the questions should be sensitive to the socio-cultural factors. For this case, Will tend to be like isolated and alienated socially and this may be misinterpreted as signs of withdraw or anti-social behavior. Incase were individualism is a challenge, the basic self-destructive behaviors are challenged to reflect and re-exam oneself as well as the client in collective view. The debate about nature and nurture is closely associated with the development of the biopsychosocial assessment. The disagreement about what between the two factor that influence the well being and to what extend does each contribute to the disharmony in one’s life lead to this assessment.

Theories under Biopsychosocial Assessment

Will’s biopsychosocial assessment is based on behavior. Behavior is response to environmental stimuli. All behaviors are acquired through conditioning. Change from the current state to better and productive life is what takes the client to the therapist. When the history of behavior of the patient is evaluated, the therapist gets to know what new behavior needs to be learned and at the same time identify those, which have to be unlearned. Behavioral theory could have helped to solve the problem faced by Will.

Cognitive Theory

This theory aims on the internal states, which include problem solving, attention, motivation and decision-making. It is determined by the level of motivation if the client dictates to trust in their abilities and believe that they have the necessary resources to solve their challenges. In this case, thought processes of Will affected his decision making. Posttraumatic stress disorder occurs when the patients constantly recalls unfavorable moment in life, which comes inform of nightmare, shock, and depression. In this case, Will remembers the physical assault the he underwent.


Psychoanalytic Theory

Psychoanalytic theory was initiated by Sigmund Freud to relate the early childhood experiences and adulthood. Evaluation and identification of fixation is to help a client like Will to solve those conflicts to lead a freer life. Freud also came up with dream analysis. He believed that dreams are just but reflection of daily encounters.


Biopsychosocial assessment has been shown to be an essential tool in providing the answers to origin and causes of certain illness. By examining the case of Will and Williams, the dialectic view broadens the opportunity to manage both internal and external environment and maximize the ability of Will to make choices, which will enable him/her with capacity to cope with the dynamics of the interpersonal relationships. The interrelation of the influence of three spheres of life: physical, psychological and social can potentially yield a severe state adversely affecting the life of the patience. Therefore, it important to explore with client his/her experiences which greatly aids them to reflect and gain strength. The primary purpose of biopsychosocial is to discover the strengths of the client and to cultivate them while at the same time minimizing the weakness. Personal attributes are the psychological strength while good diet and immunity represents the physical strengths. Proper social relationships are important for psychological development and empowerment


McInnis-Dittrich, K. (2005). Social work with elders: A biopsychosocial approach to assessment and intervention. Allyn & Bacon.