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In social work practice universalisation[1] is a supportive intervention used by the therapist to reassure and encourage his/her client. Universalisation places the client’s experience in the context of other individuals who are experiencing the same, or similar challenges, and seeks to help the client grasp that his/her feelings and experiences are not uncommon given the circumstances. The therapist or social worker using this supportive intervention intends to “normalize” the client’s experience of his/her emotions and reactions to the presenting challenge. By normalising the client’s experience the therapist is attempting to help avert the client’s natural feelings of “being alone”, or that “no one understands me”.

For example, a therapist working with a 21-year-old client who is experiencing rejection from her family and friends after admitting that she is a lesbian will use universalisation. The therapist will explain that many other young adults who have revealed their sexual orientation undergo the same rejection and scrutiny from peers and parents. The therapist will follow this up by telling her that her emotional response to the rejection is likewise normal and not at all uncommon given the circumstances.

Universalisation (Cosmopolitanism)

Universalisation is an atchup to the world to incipient concept describing the next phase of human development, marking the transition from trans-national to interplanetary relations and much more aggressive exploitation of opportunities that lie beyond the confines of Earth. As both a process and an end state, universalisation implies an increasingly pervasive, abiding and singular human focus not only on global issues per se but on social, technological, economic and cultural challenges and opportunities extending into our solar system, our galaxy, and well beyond where cooperation supersedes conflict negotiation. Its origins are associated with incipient expansion of social, economic, and political relationships that have emerged in the wake of globalization and that increasingly define the planet and its place within the broader universe. The concept was first inspired by Kwame Anthony Appiah's work on cosmopolitanism, and particularly his emphasis on the need to develop a transcendent, collaborative model of human interaction that looks beyond the limited confines of current human relationships.[2] Underlying principles and activities associated with universalisation have also been discussed in a number of works dealing with prospective human exploitation of natural resources in space.[3][4][5] Evidence of the transition from globalisation to the century of "universalisation" is provided by the exponential growth in outer space activity across all sectors of human endeavour, including exploration (global investments by national governments and consortia of $65 billion annually),[6] governance (the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, the International Association for Space Safety), commerce (aerospace industries such as Boeing, Teledyne, MDA), resource exploitation (Moon Express), Tourism (Virgin Galactic, XCOR), communications (satellites, probes, inter-planetary internet), Education (the International Space University, Singularity University, International Institute of Space Commerce), research (observatories at Hawaii, Chile, the Square Kilometer Array, Hubble), and settlement (Mars One).


  1. Mattaini, M.A., Lowery C.T., & Meyer C.H. (Eds.) (1998). The Foundations of Social Work Practice (2nd ed.). Washington: NASW Press.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Appiah, Kwame (2006). Cosmopolitanism. New York: W. W. Norton.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. De Man, Philip (November 2010). "The Exploitation of Outer Space and Celestial Bodies". Leuven Center for Global Governance Studies. Working Paper Number 54.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Tennen, Leslie I. (2010). "Towards a New Regime for Exploitation of Outer Space Mineral Resources". Nebraska Law Review (88).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Robles, Stephen (November 2013). "Commercialization, law and governance in outer space". The International.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (2014). The Space Economy at a Glance 2011. Paris: OECD.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>