People have had different stereotypes about social work. The primary belief rested on the premise that social work practice is about helping other people with different problems. The professional practice has met a series of challenges. Although the existing stereotype has had no basis, people continue to consider social workers as lesser individuals without any meaning in society. The negative bias has affected the social work practice hindering the effectiveness of its role in society. A case in point is where I believe that failure to succeed in other careers and despair in life has been the greatest factor that made social workers engage in the practice.
However, I think that the primary criteria for entering into the profession are the passion for humanity. All these qualities are critical in helping the social worker become more responsive to the needs of the vulnerable people in society. According to Pray (2018), the essential quality of a social worker is social justice and service. Applying these skills culminates in the effectiveness of social work practice. If I were to engage a social worker in helping me deal with a wide range of psychosocial problems, I would embrace their roles but only to the extent that they are idle and did not get anything meaningful to do with their file. As a result, I have tended to think that social workers should address some of the problems. Also, they should try as much as possible to fit into my situation to understand the situation better.
The social worker does the functions similar to the general practitioner in the health care setting. Therefore, their role includes diagnosing problems and extensively working with other specialists. It means that the social worker should diagnose peoples’ problems and refer them to the necessary specialist (Germain and Knight 2021). The underlying stereotype that I held is that social workers are not qualified enough to help me identify the problem and solve it. I forgot that social work practice operates under the guideline, so beliefs and values are essential to community work. I failed to understand that the role of social work is to bring about sustained change in the psychosocial environment of different people. The social worker should show that he or she trusts me by disclosing some incident that may seem personal and that does not warrant public attention. The social worker will also need to develop a trusting relation and I believe this will only be possible if the social worker shows love and trust to the client. The social worker can achieve this by employing both personal and professional values
The public perception greatly differs from my beliefs. Although there are areas that the majority of the people agree on, the areas are mainly misconceptions and stereotypes. According to Bogo (2018), the social worker should exploit what is good within the community to help people cope with different problematic situations. The public’s perspective is that social workers have been coming up with different methods that help in focusing on utilizing the individual’s resources and facilitating coping mechanisms. Therefore, social workers who do not empower victims and restore them to their original state emerge ineffectively. The misconception does not acknowledge the principle that individuals are the building blocks of any society. Therefore, there is a need for collaboration between the social workers and the general society.
The emerging difference between the public perceptions from my personal belief is that social workers need to emphasize on telling me everything I should do to change my situation and the society at large. For this reason, both my belief and that of the public fail to realize the principle that social problems come at both an individual level and a societal level. Thus, there is a need for collaboration between different levels to realize a sustainable solution to the problem. Moreover, the public tends to think that social work practice should address the issues of the vulnerable in society. All these factors relate to the general perception of the social work profession.
In my community, social work forms the primary system that enhances change and stability in society. Several Non-Governmental Organizations operate in the community to initiate change and improve the overall public welfare in the society. A case in point is Red Cross that works with independent social workers to help address humanitarian conditions in society. Social workers collaborate with other organizations to develop goals and intervention mechanisms and distribute resources to meet the objective of their programs (Bogo 2018). Therefore, these Non-Governmental Organizations offer capacity building and train social workers and other specialities to improve their abilities, knowledge and skills in achieving their role of community services.
Social work originates from the efforts of society to address a wide range of issues. Therefore, social work practice in my community connects to the concept of charity work and community service. All this helps people deal with their psychosocial and humanitarian problems in a manner that matches these issues with resources that would restore their health lives, safety and productivity (Reamer and Reamer 2018). Underlying the expediency of social work in my community is the strong value system that promotes social justice. Organizations such as Red Cross serves the vulnerable in equal social, economic and political rights. Therefore, social work tends to open opportunities for everyone to access normal livelihood, focusing on those in dire need.
Activity 1E. Social Work in Your Community
During my interactions in the community, I noted a wide range of social services in my community. The observation I made is that most social workers address the problems of people suffering from sexual abuse. Understanding the social work services in my area indicates that most issues lie in protection services in the neighbourhood.
Every time I walk into this neighbourhood, I realize that different organizations help the government provide social and community services. Cases of domestic violence, sexual assault and alcoholism and drug abuse are on the rise. With the government failing in its capacity to allocate sufficient funds for the social and protection services, it leaves a huge gap that allows social workers to come in and be involved. The first time I interacted with social workers, there were addressing gender-based violence among a couple from low-income families.
My investigation exposed how the majority of the population live in the low-income brackets, exposing them to all forms of abuse, such as gender-based violence, sexual assaults, rape and drug and alcohol abuse. As a result, community service plays a significant role in intervening and offering these people counselling, recovery, medical attention, legal aid, and giving them economic activities. For this reason, most people collaborate with Non-Governmental Organizations to implement the programs of community services and protection services. Therefore, most social workers work with people on various programs that equip them with knowledge and necessary skills for their sustainable future.
Important Values and Ideology.
Social work embraces certain tenets that guide its practice. The core social values are five and encompass integrity, focus on individual dignity, provide compassionate service and embrace social justice to human relationships (Reamer and Reamer 2018). The values are critical to the effectiveness of social work programs and activities. As a result, the moral foundation of social work practice hinges on the set professional standard and ethical principles. Most social workers apply the values and ideologies to help people cope with their issues or address them. The primary goal of social work is to enhance an intervention framework that helps people address, manage and resolve different social problems. For this reason, social workers tend to elevate public service above their personal gain. They utilize their knowledge and skills in helping clients from different facets of life address their social problems such as child abuse, drug dependency or criminal behaviour.
The values that are consistent with my practice are integrity. Underlying the ethical principles of social work from CASW/ACTS Guidelines for Ethical Practice, I appreciate human relationships. As a specialist in counselling therapy, I recognize that the primary importance of human relationships is to intervene and use social workers as a vehicle for equity, change and advocacy. Therefore, social workers engage their clients, satisfy community programs, other professions, and all stakeholders in the recovery process (Reamer and Reamer 2018). The value congruence helps me promote and restore the positive functionality of the victims, their families and the larger community. Through integrity, I work to maintain positive relationships and victims who be from unreliable and hostile environments. As such, I am communicative and exercise patience.
The principle of the ecosystems approaches, I play the role of helping the client gain stability in their environment. The primary role of social work is to restore the life of the victim. Therefore, the ecosystem approach contributes to improving the quality of the person’s relationship with their environment. At the macro-environment level, I would face challenges that require the social worker to be culturally and socially aware of the victim’s life. For this reason, the social worker will undergo training in relevant socio-economic ad cultural areas to gain correct qualifications and be effective in the practice. Intensive training, experience and preparation will be critical to social workers in improving the goal of their programs. The challenges relate to my role preparedness because it allows me to maintain continual awareness of the program’s objectives. Thus, I will provide appropriate support and services.
Psychodynamic theory is a critical model in understanding the role of social work. The tenets of psychodynamic theory lie in helping clients understand their unconscious and patterns and emotional behaviour. I will use this theory and balance the sufferings of the clients from a wide range of issues such as mental health, medical conditions and trauma, abuse and alcoholism. The principles of psychodynamic theory help a social worker understand human behaviour. It is through intrapsychic processes, interpersonal patterns outside their conscious awareness, and childhood experiences (O’Sullivan 2019). Therefore, the psychodynamic theory will help the social worker concentrate on their client’s inner work and understand their behaviour to resolve their problems effectively.
Anti-oppressive practise (AOP) relies on the ability to recognize their biases and execute their professional safety. The anti-oppressive practice involves taking responsibility for their awareness instead of expecting them to participate in social work services to gain an education. The practices of anti-oppressive draw from the social model of difference (Dalrymple and Burke 2019). As a result, it builds on the framework of mapping racial, ethnic and gendered differences to create a context of unequal social power relationships. Therefore, practitioners need to be involved in political and legal considerations to create an environment devoid of oppression. Social workers implement anti-oppressive practices by engaging individuals and social groups to address discrimination and promote positive values in the community.
Part 2. Interview a Social Worker
I interviewed a private social worker practitioner to understand social work practice’s dynamics, challenges, and general principles. The social worker engages in community services focusing on rescuing sexual workers and finding something else to do. Therefore, he partners with other Non-Organizational organizations to fulfil the objectives of his social work programs. Most of her projects are cross-function and thus operate regularly to intervene in anti-sexual abuse programs.
The interview was open, allowing the social worker the opportunity to expound on her roles, the challenges he gets, successes she can report and the overall direction of her practice. The questions focused on the different scope of values, funding, integrity and social justice. The social worker indicated that the clients’ needs, integrity and social justice form the primary focus of his social work practice. For this reason, social work promotes equality and wholesome engagement with the clients. These promote sensitivity of the society to justice and encourage everyone in the community to embrace cultural respect. Therefore, the g social worker ensures that victims of sexual abuse have access to basic resources, services and information.
Bogo, M. (2018). Social work practice: Integrating concepts, processes, and skills. Columbia University Press.
Dalrymple, J., & Burke, B. (2019). Anti-oppressive practice. In The Routledge handbook of social work theory (pp. 340-349). Routledge.
Germain, C., & Knight, C. (2021). The life model of social work practice. Columbia University Press.
O’Sullivan, N. (2019). Creating space to think and feel in child protection social work; a psychodynamic intervention. Journal of Social Work Practice, 33(1), 15-25.
Pray, K. L. (2018). When is community organization social work practice?. In ” Social Work in a Revolutionary Age” and Other Papers (pp. 274-287). University of Pennsylvania Press.
Reamer, F., & Reamer, F. G. (2018). Social work values and ethics. Columbia University Press.