Incorporating Demoralization into Social Work Practice
Lynne Briggs; Patricia Fronek
ABSTRACT: This article explores the relevance of demoralization to social work research and practice. Demoralization connects to the very core of being human. It is present in social work client groups and is an important but neglected concept in social work. Demoralization occurs when life becomes so overwhelming that daily functioning is affected and people lose all hope, agency, and the capacity to overcome their circumstances. Although a demoralized state is not recognized as a mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it is often confused with psychiatric disorders and its presence can lead to clinical conditions and suicide. This article discusses demoralization and its place in social work practice, identification, and measurement, and appropriate psychosocial interventions are also explored. The article concludes that demoralization has particular relevance to contemporary social work and should be considered in social work practice and research.