Social Work Values Objective: Define social work and introduction to social work


Social Work Values
Objective: Define social work and introduction to social work

Social Work Values
Objective: Define social work and introduction to social work values.
Social work is a dynamic and demanding profession that requires a variety of skills and qualities. Whether these skills are innate or acquired, success in the field requires social workers to continually develop them throughout their career. While this list is not exhaustive, the following skills are vital for all social workers.
Social workers rely on their values and skills to help individuals address issues. One of the core values of social work is the importance of human relationships. To start building a strong relationship a social worker will begin applying the skills we learned about in this module. One of the most significant one being empathy.
Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand another person’s experience and point of view. NASW defines it as “the act of perceiving, understanding, experiencing and responding to the emotional state and ideas of another person.”¹
“Stepping into someone else’s shoes” and recognizing that experiences, perceptions and worldviews are unique to each individual enables social workers to better understand and build stronger relationships with clients. It is a vital skill that helps social workers to determine a client’s needs based on his or her unique experiences in order to efficiently provide services.
¹Barker, R. L. (2003). The Social Work Dictionary. 5th ed. Washington, DC: NASW Press.
The difficult thing about empathy, as you saw in the video On Empathy is that sometimes we might not agree with our client or in an attempt to be positive, we want to cheer them on and say something completely opposite so they feel better, what I like to call “the cheerleader response”. See examples below:
Client (when discussing her daughter) : “I am a terrible parent, she just doesn’t listen to me and I have to yell at her to get her attention”
In this situation we might be tempted to say “Of course you are a good parent…don’t be so hard on yourself”…however that is not true empathy. Empathy would be something like “What I hear you say is that parenting is hard” or “That sounds like a struggle, it must be very hard for you”.
Adolescent Client (when discussing his dad): “My dad hates me, he is the worst dad ever!”
In this situation we might be tempted to say “No he doesn’t! He loves you so much, he buys you food and clothes…” or “You are mad, but you know that’s not true.” An empathic response would be something such as, “I am sorry to hear that, what does it meant to you that he hates you?” or “Help me understand why he hates you, that must be lonely and hard for you…”
Submission and Grading
1. In your own words, define Social Work and state how it is different from other professions you have encountered or your own (if Social Work is not your major). See section Social Work and Other Helping Professions to help with this question.
2. Reflect on empathy, how can you practice using it to strengthen the core value of importance of human relationships. Think of your everyday interactions at work or in your community. Even if you do not work in social work, you can use empathy with any type of customer, consumer or individual in your community. In a full paragraph, describe
1. How you will implement empathy and do you think it will benefit those relationships?
2. Do you foresee any difficulties as you practice implementing empathy?
Please click on at the end of this discussion post.
(20 points total) Please see “snowman” icon on the top right-hand corner to see assignment rubric used for grading.



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