Defining Social Work

Student’s evaluation of student’s overall self-assessment of learning this quarter. My overall assessment of this quarter is that many providers do not seem to have a clear definition of what a social worker does. This has become evident to me through the uneducated comments of staff and the slight resistance to ________ plan to implement monthly and/or weekly check in sessions with her staff.

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Surprisingly this hasn’t changed. If I tell someone I am a social worker, the response I often get is “Oh, how do you do that work?” Whereas if I tell someone I am a clinical licensed therapist or just a therapist the response I often get is “Are you analyzing me right now?” or “Can I ask you a question…”

I will be the first to admit a social worker is hard to define. I like to tell my students and clients that the field of social work utilizes social theories to understand human problems, to help improve peoples’ lives, and to improve society. Many who work in this field specialize in assisting those life-threatening problems such as homelessness, foster care, domestic violence, terminal disease, or aiding people in overcoming addictions and life of trauma. Social workers:

  • Act as advocates for their clients
  • Educate clients and teach them new skills
  • Link clients to essential resources within the community
  • Protect vulnerable clients and ensure that their best interests are observed
  • Counsel clients who need support and assistance
  • Research social problems to look for remedies

When you hear the phrase social worker, what comes to mind?

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2 Responses to Defining Social Work

  1. Sadly, many in management have no idea

    Liked by 1 person

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