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Vivine Burr (2003, p 2) and other advocates of social constructionist theory put forth the view that knowledge of constructionism enables individuals to adopt critical attitudes towards their conventional lenses for perceiving and understanding the world and their own selves. It provides humans with fresh ways of assessing ideas and things that are otherwise considered to be commonplace and accepted without demur. Numerous things like money, newspapers or citizenship are socially constructed and would not obviously have existed in the absence of society. Each of them furthermore could have well been differently constructed.

This essay analyses and critiques the use of social constructionism by social workers in the understanding human behaviour. Specific emphasis has been given to the role of constructionism use in analysing commonly held perceptions and attitudes towards mental disorders. The study is segregated into three sections that sequentially take up the use of social constructionism for social workers in understanding human behaviour, its relevance in understanding mental disorders, and its areas of ambiguity and possible misuse.