Essay Sample on Core Skills in Social Work

Published: 2023-12-12
Essay Sample on Core Skills in Social Work
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Personal experience Social work
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1444 words
13 min read


Social work practice involves various responsibilities with individuals, groups, families, policies, communities, and other human service agencies. Peterman (2013) defined social work as "a science, an art, a profession that enables individuals to solve personal, community, and family issues and attain satisfaction in group, family, and community relationships through social work practice." Social work aims at helping individuals in need to develop capacities to realize themselves. As a profession, social work relies on tested techniques and methods (Greene, 2017). Social workers apply the methods while working with the client(s). I have been working as an intern for Senior Center, which takes care of the disabled, and in that position, I have experienced a lot on the applicability of social works. In this paper, I will share some of my experiences and lessons that I have learned on the above subject.

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Self-Awareness and Self-Reflection

Studies have described self-awareness and reflection as a critical pillar to professional development in exercising social care. The engagement in reflection helps build competence, burnout prevention, and the creation of long-life professional learning (Blakemore & Agllias, 2019). Self-awareness is the process of a health worker understanding oneself. However, within various fields, the notion of reflective exercise differs significantly (Urdang, 2010). Regardless of the numerous strains that I experience as a social worker, reflective practice has made it easy for me to learn from experience and gain new self-realizations. This practice involves the assumption examination of everyday practices (Blakemore & Agllias, 2019). Through Self-reflection, I have become more self-realistic when examining responses from my clients.

There are two forms of reflection that professionals can apply in the self-realization process: reflection-on-action and reflection-in-action (Levett-Jones et al., 2011). Reflection-on-action involves the practice of evaluating and analyzing past practices to gain knowledge to improve future practice (Levett-Jones et al., 2011). On the other hand, reflection-in-action requires that practitioners evaluate their experiences and responses as they happen (Urdang, 2010). However, the two forms of self-reflection are connected in that practitioners have to connect their moods and relate their experiences and responses to appropriate theories. As a social worker, I have been applying both reflection-on-action and reflection-in-action to evaluate the effectiveness of my service delivery.

Engaging in Reflective Practice

Regardless of the approach to reflective practice, its benefits are unlimited. According to research performed by Regan (2008) that investigated reflective exercise in social work, they identified that the study members aided from reflection by creating new thinking and learning ways. Also, reflective practice helps in nurturing professional development in practitioners. Away from the benefits, reflection also has its drawbacks. According to Urdang (2010), over-stretched or busy professionals may find reflective practice problematic and demanding. If the intention of reflection gets missed, then the whole process becomes useless. Also, if used uncritically, reflections encourage prejudices and poor practice. Therefore, as a social worker, I have been keen to avoid inappropriate use of reflection, which could ruin my reputation and career.

Mindfulness and Mindfulness Skills

According to research, mindfulness can act as a bond to creativity, thus facilitating individuals to get over and beyond evil-thinking, burnout, anxiety and judgment, mind-wandering, among other experiences that crush imagination and stifle originality (Wheeler et al., 2017). However, many people avoid it not because it is difficult, but because many tend to misunderstand it. People misinterpret not only the mindfulness concept but also the notion of creativity. This misinterpretation makes individuals fail to realize the connection between the two aspects. As a social worker, I have learned to incorporate both mindfulness and mindfulness skills in my daily experiences with clients without confusion. Utilization of these scenarios has helped my clients to gain the benefits of better quality services.

Social Work, Creativity, and Mindfulness

To identify how creativity can boost one's social work, one needs to think of mindfulness as engagement and creativity as a form of innovation. Social workers get considered problem solvers, which requires creativity. The knowledge of enhancing and increasing engagement and adequate client involvement raises the practitioner's ability to innovate. Since I learned how essential both creativity and mindfulness are, my service delivery in social work has significantly become more quality.

Promoting Stamina and Resilience

Social work, when carried out conscientiously, is a practice of the heart and the head. For one to produce effective social work, high levels of intervention and engagement get involved. The work requires presence, acceptance, self-knowledge, and flexibility (Grant, L., & Kinman, 2014). Social workers face challenges such as serving marginalized groups, communities, and families and working with limited funds (Grant, L., & Kinman, 2014). Therefore, the duty is a trying one. My work in serving people with special needs incorporates a lot of emotions. These situations, therefore, require me to have a high ability to cope with emotions and a high level of resilience.

To cope with these challenges, social workers need to be resilient. Resilience comes from the belief that everyone has personal wisdom and the capacity to persevere and learn from experience (Grant, L., & Kinman, 2014). Adopting a resilient mind helps tap the capacities and grow, even when faced with challenges. Resilience helps social workers to use their work challenges to make better meaning of life. Resilience helps in cultivating curiosity attitudes and formulate solutions that are. Resilience is the ability to regulate emotions, behaviour, and attention (Grant, L., & Kinman, 2014). With resilience, one can influence situations and events. Resilient people find meaning in all their work rather than stress. This attribute is vital for social workers as well as helps in fostering growth and client improvement (Grant, L., & Kinman, 2014). I am resilient social workers, and I depend on habits of the mind and actions to foster clear awareness and curiosity that help sustain them through my trying work.

Self-Care and Self-Compassion

Neff (2011) analyses self-compassion as simply accepting oneself with an open heart. The author elaborates on three self-compassion components. (1) self-kindness vs. self-judgment, (2) mindfulness vs. over-identification, and (3) common humanity vs. Isolation. According to her, self-care also referred to as self-compassion, entails replacing normative tendencies of being judgmental and self-critical with being understanding and gentle to oneself. Also, self-care entails an active reflection on an individual's connection with other people through shared human experience (Mills et al., 2015). Finally, self-compassion involves attention that is mindful of one's experiences. Generally, pain and suffering are part of the human experience, accompanied by joy and happiness.

Neff (2011) argued that those caregivers trained in self-compassion rarely experience compassion fatigue. The caregivers tend to experience greater satisfaction from compassion, feeling content, and energized while undertaking their work. According to Neff, these caregivers engage in substantial self-care acts, such as time breaks, adequate sleep, and eating well, among others. Also, those individuals with high levels of self-compassion tend to extend it to others.


All the mentioned attributes of caregiving seem to have a connection with each other. Thus, a caregiver who manages to incorporate all these attributes will deliver satisfying work, not to the clients alone, but also for himself. This paper is just a brief description of how the questions apply for a social work scenario. It gives a firm foundation for any future research related to this discussion. Its brevity does not warrant it unsubstantial. Limited time and space are some of the challenges that have contributed to this brevity. However, it is a vital resource for social workers and has helped me very significantly in professional growth as a social worker.


Bhikkhu, T., & Bhikkhu, T. (2007). Mindfulness defined. Retrieved November, 30, 2007.

Blakemore, T., & Agllias, K. (2019). Student reflections on vulnerability and self-awareness in a social work skills course. Australian Social Work, 72(1), 21-33.

Grant, L., & Kinman, G. (Eds.). (2014). Developing resilience for social work practice. Macmillan International Higher Education.

Greene, R. R. (2017). Case Management: An Arena for Social Work Practice. Social Work Case Management, 11-26. doi:10.4324/9781315129853-2

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2020). Keeping Things in Perspective. Mindfulness. doi:10.1007/s12671-020-01435-1

Kirkendall, A., & Krishen, A. S. (2015). Encouraging creativity in the social work classroom: Insights from a qualitative exploration. Social Work Education, 34(3), 341-354.

Langer, E. (2005). On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself through Mindful Creativity. PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi:10.1037/e542072009-031

Levett-Jones, T., Gersbach, J., Arthur, C., & Roche, J. (2011). Implementing a clinical competency assessment model that promotes critical reflection and ensures nursing graduates’ readiness for professional practice. Nurse Education in Practice, 11(1), 64-69.

Mills, J., Wand, T., & Fraser, J. (2015). On self-compassion and self-care in nursing: Selfish or essential for compassionate care?(Guest Editorial). International journal of nursing studies, 52(4), 791-793.

Neff, K. D. (2011). Self-Compassion, Self-Esteem, and Well-Being. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 5(1), 1-12. doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00330.x

Peterman, P. J. (2013). Farley, Rawle. Encyclopedia of Social Work. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.013.1117.

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