SRV Theory

Description of SRV Theory

Social Role Valorization, or SRV for short, is a dynamic set of ideas useful for making positive change in the lives of people disadvantaged because of their status in society. SRV is utilized mainly in service to children and adults with impairments as well as elders, but it can be helpful to uplift the social situation of any person or group.

A basic tenet of role-valorizing efforts is the notion that the good things any society has to offer are more easily accessible to people who have valued social roles. Conversely, people who have devalued social roles, or very few or marginally valued ones, have a much harder time obtaining the good things of life available to those with valued social status. Therefore valued social roles and the positive status that typically attends them are a key to obtaining the benefits inherent in any given culture.

SRV is easily understood and can be readily implemented by the motivated person, including by family members and human service staff on all levels. In human services broadly, it taps into existing practices deeply rooted in social science research.

“SOCIAL ROLE VALORIZATION” (SRV) is the name given to a concept for transacting human relationships and human service, formulated in 1983 by Wolf Wolfensberger, Ph.D., as the successor to his earlier formulation of the principle of normalization (Lemay, 1995; Wolfensberger, 1972; Wolfensberger, 1983). His most recent definition of Social Role Val- orization is: “The application of empirical knowledge to the shaping of the current or potential social roles of a party (i.e., person, group, or class) — primarily by means of enhancement of the party’s competencies & image — so that these are, as much as possible, positively valued in the eyes of the perceivers” (Wolfensberger & Thomas, 2005).

Read complete article by Joe Osburn

From Normalization to SRV

In 1991 a panel of 178 experts in the field of mental retardation, using a Delphi technique, identified Wolf Wolfensberger’s 1972 book The Principle of Normalization in Human Services as the most important “classic” work in mental retardation, of a possible 11,300 articles and books published in the field over roughly 50 years (Heller et al., 1991).  Most professionals in the field of human services have heard of the principle of normalization or have, at least, some idea of what it suggests.  However, their views concerning normalization are often based on misunderstandings rather than on an actual reading of basic normalization literature (Wolfensberger, 1980).

Read the complete article by Raymond Lemay

Learning About SRV

There are many ways to learn about SRV including doing web searches on Social Role Valorization.

This website provides under Resources a series of articles on SRV, and a link to the SRV Journal, as well as access to a Bookstore where one finds publications about SRV and related subjects.

Over the years, literally thousands of individuals have learned about SRV through training events and some of the current events are listed under Training & Events.

Training events about PASSING, a program evaluation tool, are another way for people to learn about the application of SRV in a human service setting. More information about PASSING is included under the menu item PASSING.

Learn About SRV History


Wolf Wolfensberger - In honor of a Man & His Life's Work
SRV Journal - A helpful addition to the International SRV Training Culture