Biopsychosocial and Holistic Approaches to Assessment


Children have various needs depending on their environment, background, social support, and family structure. Children in dysfunctional families may present bigger challenges that affect their cognitive and social attributes. When it comes to children with behavioral or emotional issues, the challenges facing communities and schools are unprecedented. Gosling (2018) reports that a wide range of issues can impact the psychological and social-emotional development of children who live in unstable and dysfunctional households. The holistic and biopsychosocial approaches encourage the utilization of increased evidence-based connections across general and specialized agencies, as well as a shared understanding and information exchange with the agreement of those who receive it.

A: Biopsychosocial Assessment approach

Increasingly, children and adolescents are being diagnosed with mental health issues. This calls for more effective prevention methods and information on how to help children who are developing abnormally. According to most definitions, resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity socially, psychologically, or physically (Agnafors et al., 2016). Resilience is no longer viewed as a fixed, intrinsic talent but as a situational ability that can be learned and changed over time. According to Pask et al. (2018), behavioral issues and adult depression might be exacerbated by early life experiences with parental divorce, family abuse, or harassment. Similarly, there is substantial evidence to suggest that socioeconomic disadvantage increases the risk of harmful behavioral and mental health consequences.

A psychosocial approach to patients ‘needs assessment describes the relationship connecting psychological and sociological variables, or the inner self and the world around it. Because people’s social and psychological needs are intertwined, a psychosocial approach addresses them all at once. According to Agnafors et al. (2016), the psychosocial method focuses on the rebuilding of children, family, and social values and roles by exploring the connections between the internally and externally evident factors. Individuals, groups, and communities may find their positions challenged or annihilated in times of crisis, and they often need to adjust to new circumstances. The biopsychosocial approach has been applied by psychologists, family nurse practitioners, and social workers.

Beliefs and Values of the Biopsychosocial Approach

The biopsychosocial assessment provides guidelines that guide all practitioners to safeguard the core values and beliefs regarding child welfare. Commitment, dedication, integrity, and service to humanity are the central values that guide its application across all disciplines. The code of conduct upholds various regulations upon which the assessment of child services is based. One, practitioners are expected to recognize that healthy relationships are needed to enforce child welfare (Pask et al., 2018). Second, self-awareness should be observed at all times for diagnosis and service delivery.

Third, biological, social, and psychological dimensions should all be considered when developing a plan of service delivery, as recorded by Gosling (2018). Lastly, biopsychosocial assessment requires practitioners to elicit a patient’s history and deliver multi-dimensional assistance. Essentially humanistic qualities are highly valued, and it is believed that everyone following this framework is geared towards enforcing child welfare through all available means.

All of the above values are bound by one central theme; integrated working. Grant and Reupert (2016) comment that integration implies combining efforts from multi-dimensional agencies to improve children’s lives. Social presentation through self-image and self-esteem are highly valued when implementing a biopsychosocial framework. The framework further proposes that children should be assisted to develop self-care attitudes, and practices and foster good relationships with family and other members of society. These values bestow power and authority on child welfare service providers. For instance, the lead professional is given the power to guide other practitioners and give directions. It influences the treatment of diverse populations by ensuring that psychological and biological evaluation is linked to individual cultural practices.

B: Holistic Assessment Approach

The holistic approach was designed to facilitate an all-around evaluation of the needs and strengths of children and their families. Santos et al. (2018) note that the holistic approach provides an easy-to-follow process for evaluating children’s needs and strengths while considering the influence of parents, caregivers, and society. Rather than focusing on children’s needs alone, the holistic approach enables stakeholders to identify youth people’s additional needs early on and promote integrated working by supporting coordinated service delivery to suit their needs (Gosling, 2018). Medical professionals and social services apply the holistic approach in offering assistance to children and youth with special needs.

A holistic evaluation requires all practitioners involved to carefully assess the issues at hand and develop effective action plans. Grant and Reupert (2016) argue that having a solid action plan builds on your strengths while also addressing your weaknesses, which have depth, breadth, and strategic importance. The child’s capabilities and needs must be considered holistically, rather than merely in terms of the practitioners’ service interests. This is done by asking important questions and attentively listening to the replies. The holistic approach spans three key areas; child development, parents and caregivers, and their environment.

Holistic Assessment’s Values and Beliefs

A holistic health examination looks at more than just physical wellness. It also looks after your emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. For continued support across the lifespan, the patient’s entire condition is taken into account. Open, therapeutic communication is the first step in building a relationship with a patient. The fundamental value of the holistic assessment framework is the initiation and maintenance of open discussions aimed at developing patient-physician trust and well-being. This nonjudgmental, supportive diagnostic style emphasizes that a patient’s stress levels, diet, and interpersonal troubles can often exacerbate a variety of diseases.

A holistic assessment is founded on the belief that a patient’s needs are not fully met if one of the core areas (biological, sociological, cultural, and physiological) are not adequately addressed. Therefore, nurses and all stakeholders involved in attending to patients, in this case, children’s needs, are expected to concentrate on children’s and parents’ overall health. They are required to take their focus off the problem and direct their attention to patients’ beliefs, feelings, values, and the impact they have on their lives and relationships. These values bestow powers upon medical practitioners and social workers to investigate children’s families, cultural beliefs, and medical history. This influences the treatment of diverse populations by appreciating different cultural backgrounds and acting accordingly without violating patients’ beliefs.

Goals and Applications of Holistic and Biopsychosocial Assessments in Professional Practice

When it comes to child welfare practitioners, the biopsychosocial approach is being heralded as an evidence-based needs-driven instrument that would help create uniformity, assure effective early intervention, lower referral rates, and help foster the development of a common language (Santos et al., 2018). First, it aims to help practitioners gain a better understanding of the needs and strengths of children and young people earlier on and to share that understanding with the agreement of those who need it. As a second goal, practitioners helping a child or youth should have effective communication and harmonized working arrangements.

To help better decisions regarding whether or not a more specialist evaluation is required, the holistic assessment is designed to provide information that can be used as a contributing factor. Last, holistic assessment aspires to enhance coordination across general and specialized evaluations and to facilitate targeted and specialized services with better, richer evidence-based data. According to Gosling (2018), the holistic framework can be applied across multiple disciplines with professionals working at different levels. From the lead professional to all practitioners, the goal is to enforce child welfare. Child protection services, family nurse practitioners, and professionals in the criminal justice and education departments all work together to facilitate child welfare.

Biopsychosocial and Holistic Assessments’ Strengths and Weaknesses

Each assessment framework has benefits and challenges for both health practitioners and patients. The biopsychosocial approach has been applauded for its flexibility and reductionism. By considering the social, biological, and psychological aspects of a child’s needs, the biopsychosocial path leads to a comprehensive care plan that includes all relevant facets. In addition, it combines macro-level and micro-level processes to facilitate effective solutions. The main weakness of the biopsychosocial approach is cited by Santos et al. (2018) as the lack of clear boundaries between biology, psychology, and social sciences. This drawback implies that the assessment is tied to an understanding of the biological, social, and psychological aspects, which is not feasible in some situations.

The holistic approach entails an analysis of all factors, internal and external, that include a child’s emotional well-being, family conditions, and environmental factors that affect a child’s welfare. The strengths of this approach are tied to its ability to help children develop self-awareness and maintain healthy family relationships. A holistic approach also helps children build self-identity and derive multiple benefits from the care given. However, it has been criticized for its greatest weakness; the failure to pinpoint a particular cause of the problem (Santos et al., 2018). Essentially, it fails to indicate the role played by each actor independent of the others.

Critical Skills required for holistic and Biopsychosocial assessments

Health assessment and intervention require that all stakeholders involved in its implementation possess various skills and values that enable high-quality service delivery. First, a practitioner is expected to have critical thinking skills. It entails developing solutions that satisfy the social, biological, and psychological needs of children, which have to be well-thought-out. Second, one must have good communication skills to create fruitful relationships with clients. Third, they must respect the client’s rights and obtain informed consent before any service (Gosling, 2018). Lastly, they must work collaboratively with professionals across all relevant disciples. If social worker lacks any of these skills, they may encounter challenges finding viable solutions to the problems affecting the children in need of protection and support.

Personal Reflection and Conclusion

As a future social worker, I need to develop critical communication skills and good analysis that will enable me to deliver quality services. I plan to develop and maintain an open mind to challenges and think critically about how to develop feasible solutions that cut across all disciplines. I also plan to engage in extended discussions with experts in the social work sector to learn practical ways through which assessment values are applied and the challenges involved. In conclusion, biopsychosocial and holistic assessments are applied to ensure child welfare assessment. They enable social workers, health care practitioners, and specialists in education and social justice departments to work with children and families to deliver services that improve children’s lives.


Agnafors, S., Svedin, C., Oreland, L., Bladh, M., Comasco, E., & Sydsjö, G. (2016). A biopsychosocial approach to risk and resilience on behavior in children followed from birth to age 12. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 48(4), 584-596. Web.

Gosling, P. (2018). Every child does matter: Preventing school exclusion through the common assessment framework. In constructing stories, telling tales (pp. 173-198). Routledge.

Grant, A., & Reupert, A. (2016). The impact of organizational factors and government policy on psychiatric nurses’ family-focused practice with parents who have a mental illness, their dependent children, and families in Ireland. Journal of Family Nursing, 22(2), 199–223. Web.

Pask, S., Pinto, C., Bristowe, K., Van Vliet, L., Nicholson, C., Evans, C. J.,… & Murtagh, F. E. (2018). A framework for complexity in palliative care: a qualitative study with patients, family carers and professionals. Palliative medicine, 32(6), 1078-1090. Web.

Santos, J., Bashaw, M., Mattcham, W., Cutcliffe, J., & Giacchero Vedana, K. (2018). The Biopsychosocial Approach: Towards Holistic, Person-Centred Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing Practice. Principles of Specialty Nursing, 89-101. Web.

Cite this paper

Select style


PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 5). Biopsychosocial and Holistic Approaches to Assessment. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 5). Biopsychosocial and Holistic Approaches to Assessment.

Work Cited

"Biopsychosocial and Holistic Approaches to Assessment." PsychologyWriting, 5 Sept. 2023,


PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Biopsychosocial and Holistic Approaches to Assessment'. 5 September.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Biopsychosocial and Holistic Approaches to Assessment." September 5, 2023.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Biopsychosocial and Holistic Approaches to Assessment." September 5, 2023.


PsychologyWriting. "Biopsychosocial and Holistic Approaches to Assessment." September 5, 2023.