Professor Richard Ramsay
Professor of Social Work
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BOOKS:  A work in Progress

Karls JM, O'Keefe M, National Association of Social Workers (2008). Person-in-Environment System Manual, 2nd Edition (with CompuPIE CD).  Washinton, DC: NASW Press. (The Person-In Environment System Manual, 2nd Edition, is an update to the original 1994 release. The PIE Manual, 2nd Edition, complements the Person-in-Environment System: The PIE Classification System for Social Functioning Problems edited by James M. Karls and Karin E. Wandrei (1994). While the textbook is still relevant, Karls and O'Keefe were able to apply this model to the 21st Century social worker.)

Karls JM, Wandrei KE, National Association of Social Workers. California Chapter (1988). Person-in-environment (PIE): a system for describing, classifying, and coding problems of social functioning. California: National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter.

National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter (1986). The Person-in-environment (PIE): a coding system for the problems social functioning: final report. Washington, DC: National Association of Social Workers, Program Advancement Fund.

Appleby GA, Colon E, Hamilton J (2007). Diversity, oppression, and social functioning: person-in-environment assessment and intervention (Second Edition). Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon. Amazon.

Appleby GA,  Colon E, Hamilton J (2001). Diversity, oppression, and social functioning : person-in-environment assessment and intervention (First Edition). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Anderson R, Carter I, Lowe GR (1999). Human behavior in the social environment: A social systems approach (Fifth Edition). Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter.
Amazon. Google Books.

Kemp SP, Whittaker JK, Tracy EM (1997). Person-environment practice: the social ecology of interpersonal helping. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
Amazon. Google Books.

Dziegielewski SF (2009). Social work practice and psychopharmacology: a person-in-environment approach. New York: Springer.

Segal EA, Gerdes KE, Steiner S (2009). An Introduction to the Profession of Social Work: Becoming a Change Agent (Second Edition). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Amazon. Google Books.

Zapf, Michael Kim (2009). Social Work and the Environment: Understanding People and Place. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.


Ramsay R, Karls J (1999)
. Person in environment classification system: adding CD-ROM options to the social work learning menu. New Technology in the Human Services, 12(3/4): 17 - 28.

Karls JM, et al. (1997). The Use of the PIE (Person-in-Environment) System in Social Work Education. Journal of Social Work Education, 33(1): 49-58.

Williams JBW, Karls JM, Wandrei K (1989)
. The Person-in-Environment (PIE) System for Describing Problems of Social Functioning. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 40: 1125-1127.
Google Search.

Kemp SP (2001). Environment Through a Gendered Lens: From Person-in-Environment to Woman-in-Environment. Affilia, 16(1): 7-30.

Rogge M, Cox M (2001). The Person-in-Environment Perspective in Social Work Journals: A Computer-Assisted Content Analysis. Journal of Social Service Research, 28(2): 47-68.

Nicotera, Nicole (2007). Measuring Neighborhood: A Conundrum for Human Services Researchers and Practitioners. American Journal of Community Psychology, 40(1/2): 26-51.

Saleebey, Dennis (1992). Biology's Challenge to Social Work: Embodying the Person-in-Environment Perspective. Social Work, 37(2): 112-118.

Kondrat ME (2002). Actor-centered social work re-visioning "person-in-environment" through a critical theory lens. Social Work, 47(4): 435-448. Abstract. Google Search.

Buchbinder E, Eisikovits Z, Karnieli-Miller O (2004). Social Workers’ Perceptions of the Balance between the Psychological and the Social. Social Service Review, 8(4): 531-552.

Weiss-Gal, Idit (2008). The Person-in-Environment Approach: Professional Ideology and Practice of Social Workers in Israel. Social Work, 53(1): 65-75. Abstract. Google Search.

van Wormer, Katherine (2005). Concepts for Contemporary Social Work: Globalization, Oppression, Social Exclusion, Human Rights, Etc. Social Work & Society, 3(1). PDF.

Lengyel, Tom (2000). Social Work’s Struggle with "Person-In-Environment". The Roundtable, 3(8): 10-. Full Text.

Saari, Carolyn (1992). The person-in-environment reconsidered: New theoretical bridges. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 9: 205-219.

Cornell, Kathryn L. (2006). Person-In-Situation: History, Theory, and New Directions for Social Work Practice. Praxis, 6: 50-57.

Naivalu A, Walton E (2006). Finding identity, security, and meaning in a pressured environment: the tornado model. Advances in Socal Work, 7(1): 20-32.
PDF. Download Page.

West, Deborah (2007). Building a Holistic Environmental Model for Global Social Work. International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 2(4): 61-65.

Zapf MK (2006). Transforming Social Work’s Understanding of Person and Environment: Spirituality and the “Common Ground”. Paper presented at The First North American Conference on Spirituality and Social Work, Renison College University of Waterloo.

Canadian Association of Social Workers (2008). Social Work Scope of Practice. Approved by the CASW Board May, 2008. Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian Association of Social Workers.


Global Alliance for a Deep-Ecological Social Work: A Partnership of Social Workers for environmental Concerns. -
Resource Bibliography (2008): SSW 711–712: Unit 1: Person-in-Environment.

Health Canada: Best Practices - Concurrent Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders (2002).

Assessing Psychosocial Functioning

Finally, both mental health and substance use assessment must look at the broader psychosocial functioning of the person including such basic needs as housing, access to food, social supports, work, education and training.64 This would also include an assessment of high-risk behaviour for HIV and Hepatitis C (e.g., needle sharing), violence and victimization. The most comprehensive protocol for the assessment and classification of social functioning is the Person-in-Environment System (PIE).221,222 This assessment tool has been developed by the social work profession and is consistent with the broad bio-psychosocial perspective of addictions and mental health. It complements the diagnostic-based assessment process underlying DSM-IV and its predecessors* by focusing separately on factors related to social functioning (e.g., family, friendships, community) and environmental problems (e.g., access to food, housing, employment) and subsequently incorporating mental and physical health diagnosis. Clinician ratings of severity, duration and coping are included in the system.

While there are few published accounts of the application of the PIE assessment process for people with concurrent disorders223 the approach has a high degree of face validity given the important role that psychosocial functioning plays in determining the course and outcomes of concurrent disorders (see subsections below). The length of the PIE assessment process (on average 90 minutes) may limit its application in some settings. However, a computerized version is pending and this should considerably reduce time for administration and scoring. The short version of PIE [mini-PIE] may be scored by the mental health/substance abuse counselor in less than 15 minutes. There is reliability and validity data for the use of PIE in various human services contexts...

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