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What Is Social Work?

• Social work and social welfare are based on
three premises:
– That the person is important
– That he or she has personal, family, and community
problems resulting from interaction with others
– That something can be done to alleviate these
problems and enrich the individual’s life
Social Welfare
• The terms social work and social welfare are often
confused and sometimes used synonymously.
• Social welfare has a broader meaning and encompasses
social work, public welfare, and other related programs
and activities.
• Social welfare is described as “the organized system of
social services and institutions, designed to aid
individuals and groups to attain satisfying standards of
life and health”, (Friedlander, 1980).
Social Welfare
• Social welfare encompasses the well-being
and interests of large number of people,
including their physical, educational,
mental, emotional, spiritual, and economic
Social Welfare
• Many professionals deliver social welfare
services, but social workers have always been
prominent welfare service providers.

• Minimum traditional standards required a

Master of Social Work degree for the
professional social worker.
Social Work
• Social work seeks to enhance the social
functioning of individuals, singly and in groups,
by activities focused upon their social
relationships which constitute the interaction
between man and his environment. (CSWE,
Social Work
• These activities can be grouped into three
– Restoration of impaired capacity.
– Provision of individual and social resources.
– Prevention of social dysfunction.
The basic functions of social work are intertwined and
Social Work
• Restoration of impaired social functioning may be
subdivided into curative and rehabilitative aspects. Its
curative aspects are to eliminate factors that have
caused breakdown of functioning, and its rehabilitative
aspects, to reorganize and rebuild interaction patterns.
• Illustrations of restoration would include assistance in
obtaining a hearing aid for a partially deaf child or
helping a rejected lonely child to be placed in a foster
Social Work
• The rehabilitative aspect might be helping the
one child to psychologically accept and live with
the hearing aid and supporting the other child as
he or she adjusts to the new foster home.
• Provision of resources, social and individual, for
more effective social functioning may be
subdivided into developmental and educational.
Social Work
• The developmental aspects are designed to further the
effectiveness of existing social resources or to bring to
full flower personal capacity for more effective social
• An example would be the services of a Family Service
Society that help Mr. and Mrs. X, through individual
and conjoint interviews, to understand each other
better and to open the channels of meaningful
communication between them.
Social Work
• The educational spectrum is designed to
acquaint the public with specific conditions and
needs for new or changing social resources.
• Again, this could be illustrated by public talks
given by staff members of a Family Service
Society, in which counseling services are
described as a resource in alleviating marriage
and family problems.
Social Work
• The third function, prevention of social
dysfunction, involves early discovery, control,
and elimination of conditions and situations that
potentially could hamper effective social
• Two main divisions: prevention of problems in
the area of interaction between individuals and
groups; the prevention of social ills.
Social Work
• Premarital counseling is an example of
prevention. That through this process couples
will be able to anticipate possible difficulties in
marital interaction.
• Prevention of social ills ordinarily falls within
the area of community organization.
• An example would be a community developing a
youth center for at risk youths for the
prevention of gang violence.
Social Work
• Social work may be defined as an art, a science, a
profession that helps people to solve personal,
group (especially family), and community
problems and to attain satisfying personal, group
and community relationships through social
work practice
• The major focus is on reducing problems in
human relationships and on enriching living
through improved human interaction.
Social Work
• Social work is an art; it requires great skills to
understand people and to help them to help
• It is a beginning science because of its problem solving
method and its attempt to be objective in ascertaining
facts and in developing principles and operational
• It is a profession because it encompasses the attributes
of a profession.
Distinguishing Characteristics of
Social Work
• Focus is on the wholeness • Use of the supervisory
and totality of the person. process provides for
• Emphasis is on the guidance and direction of
importance of the family in inexperienced workers and
molding and influencing for continuing growth of the
behavior. experienced.
• Utilization of community • Social work has a unique
resources in helping people educational program
to solve problems is very involving class work and
important. practical field work
Distinguishing Characteristics of
Social Work
• Traditional social work • The relationship is the
emphasizes three basic key in the social work
processes: casework, process.
group work, and • Social work has an
community organization. orientation in psychiatric
• Social work has concepts and places
distinctive professional considerable stress on
bodies, (NASW, CSWE). understanding people.
Distinguishing Characteristics of
Social Work
• The social in social work • Most social workers are
emphasizes on social employed in agency settings.
interactions and resultant • The basic aim of social work
social functioning and is to help clients help
malfunctioning. themselves or to help a
• Social work recognizes that community to help itself.
social problems and human • Traditionally, social workers
behavior inhere to a have provided services to
considerable degree in the individuals and families.
social institutions of
Sociology and Social Work
• The sociologist is • The social worker is
concerned about helping
particularly concerned these same people to solve
about the how, when, the problems they have and
to improve social
and why people behave functioning.
as they do in association • The social worker tries to
with others. understand the client, to
make a diagnosis, and to
• The sociologist is proceed with treatment,
helping to solve the problems
particularly interested in and change the situations for
the why of human better adjustments.
Psychiatry and Social Work
• The psychiatrist deals • The social worker
with the treatment of focuses on problems and
illness and the medical strengths in human
model. relationships.
• Places stress on • The social worker utilizes
intrapersonal dynamics, environmental and
often delving into and community resources,
handling unconscious usually operating within
motivation and related the conscious level of
factors. behavior.
Psychiatry and Social Work
• Psychiatry tends to focus • Social work concentrates on
on pathology and the strengths and the
development of potential.
healing of illness.
• The social worker is
• The psychiatrist is especially concerned about
particularly interested in social functioning involving
the internal dynamics of social and community factors
individual and group and interactions.
Psychology and Social Work
• Psychology is the study of • The social worker focuses on
the mind; it seeks to study, the person in their
explain, and change behavior. environment.
• The psychologist is interested • The social worker is
in understanding the particularly interested in the
individual and their behavior. social functioning and
• Their main focus is on relationships of clients and in
individual behavior. utilizing community
resources to meet clients’
personal and social problems.
Counseling and Social Work
• School counselors are • The social worker tends to be
generally trained in more intensive, works with
educational psychology, work the student longer, focuses
tends to be short-termed. on family constellation, and
• Marriage counselors receive utilizes community resources.
graduate training from • Marriage counseling is one
several disciplines, including particular emphasis in social
social work. work practice.
• Rehabilitation counselors are • The social worker usually
usually trained in educational assists with the emotional
psychology and utilizes and/or family problems, has
testing. fewer cases, and works with
clients more intensively.
Social Work in the World Today
• Social work is becoming more important because
thousands of persons are benefiting from its services
and are telling their friends and associates who have
problems of its many values and services.
• A prominent American made a statement that what the
United States needs most of all to improve its foreign
policy and relations is to have trained social workers as
State Department attaches where each of the official
government representative works and lives.
Social Work in the World Today
• Trained social workers in foreign countries would
understand the people and work with them where they
are, helping them to help themselves and interpreting
the United States in a much more favorable light than
in the past.
• Social work is here to stay and that in decades ahead it
will likely grow and expand its services, helping more
people with personal, family, and community problems,
especially related to adequate social functioning.
The Place of Values in Social Work

 Values clarification is an important aspect

of social work practice.
 Social workers must be concerned with
his or her own values , and control for
inappropriate intrusion into practice
situations. This is known as value
Values Held by Social Workers

 Commitment to the primary importance of

the individual in society.
 Commitment to social change to meet
socially recognized needs.
 Commitment to social justice and the
economic, physical, and mental well-
being of all in society.
Values Held by Social Workers

 Respect and appreciation for individual

and group differences.
 Commitment to developing clients’ ability
to help themselves.
 Willingness to transmit knowledge and
skills to others.
 Respect for confidentiality of relationship
with clients.
Values Held by Social Workers

 Willingness to keep personal feelings and

needs separate from professional
 Willingness to persist in efforts on behalf
of clients despite frustration.
 Commitment to a high standard of
personal and professional conduct.
Seven Principles of the Social
Work Relationship
Felix Biestek

 Recognition of the client’s need to express

feelings freely
 Worker listens purposefully
 Worker neither discourages nor condemns
the expression of feelings
 Sometimes worker actively stimulates and
encourages expression of feelings
 The worker is sensitive to the client’s feelings
 Makes effort to understand their meaning
 A purposeful, appropriate use of the worker’s
emotions in response to the client’s feelings
 Controlled and objective emotional involvement
in the client’s problem
 Controlled emotional involvement in the client as
a person
 The recognition of client’s innate dignity, worth,
equality, basic rights, and needs
– Regardless of client’s individual qualities arising from
heredity, environment, behavior, or any other source.
 Acceptance does not mean approval of the
client’s behavior, attitudes, or standards
 Acceptance includes thought and feeling
elements, and is expressed primarily in the
manner of service.
 The recognition and understanding of each
client’s unique qualities
 Differential use of principles and methods to
assist client toward change
 Individualization is based on the right of human
beings to be individuals
 Right to be treated not just a human being but as
this human being with these personal

 Based on the conviction that the helping

process precludes:
– assigning guilt or innocence
– degree of client responsibility for causation of
the problems or needs
 Does include making evaluative judgments
about the attitudes, standards, or actions of
the client
 Based upon the right of the individual to
make their own choices and decisions
 The client has a right and a need, within
certain limitations, to have freedom in
making their own decisions/choices
 Worker has a duty to respect that right, in
theory and in practice
– refrains from any direct or indirect interference
– positively helps the client to exercise that right.
 The protection of secret/private information
disclosed in the professional relationship
 Confidentiality is a basic right of the client
 An ethical obligation of the worker
 Necessary for effective helping
 The client’s right, however, is not absolute
– The client’s information is often shared with other
professional persons within the agency and in other
 Written permission is required to divulge
information to other agencies
The discipline of communication focuses on how
humans use verbal and nonverbal messages to
create meaning in various contexts (from two
person groups to mass audiences) across cultures
using a variety of channels and media.

The discipline is especially interested in the impact

of those messages on human behavior.
There are a variety of career opportunities
for those with a communication degree. Skills
Communication skills are
What is communication as a discipline? necessary to gain and
keep employment,
The communication discipline focuses on
perform well on the job,
messages, meaning and behavior.
and for career

Writers, public speakers, web site

developers, customer service
representatives, and preachers are
employed because of their ability to
communicate. send, to the way you present yourself in
From the applications and

resumes you an interview

setting, you are always

Communication studies and its related fields
are known by different names at various communicating a
universities: message.

Other careers include:

Advertising and Public Relations
Organizations also identify their communication
Public Relations In order to be a successful
department under various names:
Mass communication Health
Corporate Affairs in the workplace the skills
communication needed include:
Communication and Law Effective writing
Organizational communication Presentation skills

Interpersonal skills