What is your Guiding Principle for Social work practice?
The reason why I chose social work practice is that theoretical approaches provide various ways of looking at the world and organizing information. Besides, various ways of organizing information influence ways of life in different communities based on their cultural beliefs, values, morals, and environmental systems. Social work is a profession that deals with the artistic and scientific needs of human beings (Niezen, Sen & Englund, 2011). My daily professional practice and life are the two key guiding principles that I use in the process of carrying out social work (National Association of Social Workers, 2005). For instance, I desire to pursue self-determination in promoting the rights of individuals.
To achieve this role, I have always applied empathy to the people whom I serve. It is worth to mention that it is not possible to pursue justice without being empathetic with the people concerned. In most cases, there are myriads of dilemmas that are encountered. These dilemmas come in the form of challenges that require innate determination and passion when carrying out social work practice (Rodney, 2007). Besides, cultural competence and awareness are my key guiding principles as a social worker. I have developed myriads of skills and knowledge in social work. These attributes have indeed built my professional wellbeing and wellness when performing various duties. Besides, these skills have formed my guiding principles when dealing with different categories of people.
The entire healthcare experiences of individuals within an environment are also embodied in social work practices. Better still, policy changes at both the micro and macro levels can be duly affected or influenced by social workers. Hence, the ability to understand and appreciate policy tools at the various levels has been a source of guiding principles that have propelled my service as a social worker (Gruskin & Daniels, 2008).
Finally, there is extensive research work carried out in healthcare practice among social workers. The research studies have been profound in providing the much needed sound knowledge, analytical, and thinking skills required in social work practice. Therefore, adequate research studies are the main benchmarks (guiding principles) in social work practices (National Association of Social Workers, 2005).
What is your Overarching lens as a professional social worker? Frameworks, assessments theories, perspectives, values, belief about Change?
Social work continues to be pertinent in relieving human suffering and fighting social injustice. The case of Sierra Leone, my home country, is a clear example. The war-ravaged country today presents a problem in need of social workers. The unending civil wars and social injustice in the country cause many people to become homeless, unemployed, and inherently poor. Many die from illnesses, hunger, malnutrition, and lack of shelter. Amidst all these problems, social evils such as drug abuse and prostitution continue to plague the population, with the youth being the most affected.
My main overarching lens as a professional social worker is to be ethical and competent when delivering various roles. It is prudent to note that social work entails close and frequent interaction with the community of people with various needs (Niezen, Sen & Englund, 2011).
My framework is based on a bio-psychosocial assessment. The latter is a tool used by the social workers when documenting the stories and case studies of their clients in their communities and also to use the client’s system to help them get treatment. My bio-psycho-social Assessment framework was based on my current employment where I work for a non-profit mental health agency that bases their assessment on the person-centered perspective. It uses the traditional assessment outline, which presents the client and their issues with a reason for a referral after the client’s demographics are assessed. As indicated in their assessment approach, clients are involved throughout the assessment process with the majority of their information coming from them and their system and current environment including their family or relatives and their community. I have decided to open my adoption agency with the above principle (National Association of Social Workers, 2005).
What knowledge skills and values related to multicultural competency do you consider important in your practice?
Multicultural competency is vital in the professional life of a social worker because there are diverse cultures to interact with regularly. The following knowledge, skills, and values, are needed in social practice (Sharon, 2008). Adequate knowledge of family systems, values, traditions, history, and culture of various groups and individuals, is vital. Moreover, the effect of culture on the health status, values, attitudes, and behaviors of clients are needed. how culturally diverse clients seek help whenever in need and communication styles, speech patterns, and language roles of clients from diverse backgrounds are integral skills and knowledge. Healthcare plan policies, environmental and social settings of clients from diverse regions or backgrounds, and the type of resources needed for different diverse customers drawn from various backgrounds should be put into consideration.
In terms of skills, the ability to address various challenging situations by being receptive, empathetic, genuine, and reflective is vital. This also calls for the ability to accept cultural diversity among various cultural groups. Finally, Skills needed to comprehend stereotypes and personal values of employees are required in social work (Beth, 2004).
Social workers should be aware of the contents of the two theories and be able to apply them in their practice. The systems theory gives social workers a good perspective of the nature of their jobs. The workers need to ask themselves at what community level they should be involved in to bring a positive change. This will be answered by understanding the different levels of systems within a particular community and the relationships within those levels. This way, the social workers will be able to know which action will bring about a positive change and at what level they need to apply the action. Assessing the human behavior in a community enables people to propose solutions that address the larger issues that affect the community. A social systems perspective emphasizes ways in which different social subsystems in a community interact with each other. It helps social workers view people and their environmental systems in the context of a larger community. The knowledge of social systems in a community is essential to understanding the purpose and process of environmental systems. The knowledge is important in assessing human interactions with the system and in acquiring practical skills. Social workers involve themselves in multiple systems that are available in their environment and they must appreciate human diversity.
The social construction theory plays a crucial role in social work practices as it prepares the social workers to understand the societies in which they work from the perspective of social constrictions. The social constrictions are necessary for dividing issues that need to be addressed by the social workers into categories that are easier to handle. Workers need to ask themselves why they need to learn about people’s cultures and traditions. The answer to this question will place them in a better position of knowing how and when to apply the assumptions of this theory in various social constructions.
The above-listed values, skills, and knowledge cannot be ignored by a social worker whenever working in a culturally diverse environment. It is equally imperative to reiterate that multicultural competency may not be complete if ethical practices are not put into the account (National Association of Social Workers, 2005). However, ethics may also vary along diverse customers. Such a situation calls for the need to learn and acquire knowledge on ethical considerations when dealing with clients from mixed cultural backgrounds. Similarly, the application of ethics should be done across the board in tandem with what is generally accepted (Rodney, 2007).
How do your knowledge of oppression and the unequal distribution of social material goods in society affect your practice with children and family?
When dealing with children and family, I have come to learn that unequal distribution of social material goods and oppression often impact women and children, more than the male members of the family. For a long time now, women have been regarded as a weaker gender in most cultural backgrounds. Although they immensely contribute to the wellbeing of families, their roles are hardly reciprocated or even appreciated (Beth, 2004). As a result, they are the worst victims of oppression that emanates from family settings. In any case, oppression in the form of domestic violence against women seems to be a chronic problem that is tearing families apart. Women have been subjected to all kinds of trauma and abuse from their male partners. As part of social work, we encounter a lot of traumatic cases of domestic violence that require urgent redress. It is surprising to note that even the civilized cultures are not spared. There are myriads of divorce cases being filed in courts every single day. Children in affected families are equal victims whenever separation or divorce among parents takes place. Most of them end up as social misfits unless they are rehabilitated and incorporated back into the community (Rodney, 2007).
In terms of the unequal distribution of social materials, I have observed that the family at large is equally affected. Resource allocation is poorly done especially at the local level. Social injustice is evident in cases where some individuals have surplus resources to utilize while others live as squalors. Although some governments have stepped up efforts to ensure that social equity prevails, a lot needs to be done to alleviate the current high levels of economic disparity.
Human rights, social and economic justice
Human rights, social and economic justice are directly associated with social work practice in several ways. For instance, the equitable distribution of resources cannot be attained in the absence of social empowerment. The latter is a vital component in society since it gives individuals and especially the poor the capacity and capabilities to overcome social challenges that face daily (Rodney, 2007). Lack of social empowerment has denied some groups of individuals in society the ability to expand their assets and capabilities. Assets include savings, livestock, housing, land, and so on. The poor cannot expand their horizon of choices without some of these necessities. Social work practice is also concerned with how governance is carried out. In cases where poor governance prevails, active and fair participation in local governance, obtaining basic services, or accessing resources and economic opportunities is a real challenge (Beth, 2004).
My cultural memberships have shaped the way I interact with others personally and professionally. Personally, my ethnic identity has greatly influenced my romantic relationships and friendships during my development. As I became more aware of white privilege and aligned myself more with a racial minority identity, I became distant from a lot of my peers because most people who made fun of me in high school were white and I felt that they could not understand what I was experiencing and my feelings. They were unaware of and/or apathetic about their privileges and social advantages.
Beth, V. S. (2004). With all deliberate speed: Civil human rights litigation as a tool for social change. Vanderbilt Law Review, 57(6), 2303-2348.
Gruskin, S., & Daniels, N. (2008). Justice and human rights: Priority setting and fair deliberative process. American Journal of Public Health, 98(9), 1573-7.
National Association of Social Workers (2005). NASW Standards for Social Work Practice. Web.
Niezen, R., Sen, A., & Englund, H. (2011). The social study of human rights. A review essay. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 53(3), 682-691.
Rodney, D. C. (2007). Social justice and pedagogy. The American Behavioral Scientist, 51(4), 579-591.
Sharon, E. F. (2008). Prelude to compatibility between human rights and intellectual property. Chicago Journal of International Law, 9(1), 171-211.