Social workers are the most significant people in the community. However, becoming a social worker is one of the most challenging occupations yet a rewarding one. Most people believe that social work is one of the difficult and complex occupations since it is accompanied by diverse and multiple tasks. Social workers are responsible for assisting individuals, families and other vulnerable people including children in coping with the challenges of life hence enhancing their lives. They act as guides and advocates while maintaining their professional relationship. They provide all possible legal, monetary help to their clients. Even though the client may be from a different background, the diversities is irrespective to the social worker as the main work is to help. From the case study, Mary who is aged 8 years undergoes challenges of alleged violence together with her siblings that forces them to move out of home. They are under neglect of their parents who are all involved in the abuse of drugs. To help solve such challenges being faced by Mary and her family, an assessment is to be taken by a social care professional so as to help solve the problem the family is undergoing.
Biestek's (1961) 7 principles
Biestek highlighted seven principles of social casework to help establish a close relation between the social worker and the client. The relationship of the social caseworker is having a dynamic interaction of attitudes and emotions with their clients and helping them achieve better changes between themselves and the surrounding (Cheung, 2015). As a result, it will meet the psycho-social needs and problems of the client and help them to live better.
One of the major principles of Biestek is individualism and it can help social care professionals in supporting and respecting Mary's family. People are unique on their own since different individuals have different qualities and traits. Social care professional must realize that the problem may be the same, but the causative is different. Therefore, the perception towards the problem and the strength of the ego should differ in every person. The caseworker should treat each individual as a separate entity with the completion of information so as to create a close relationship that will be able to solve the problem of the client. Uriz-Peman, Ballestero, and Idareta pointed out that, "social work has been notorious for failing to understand indigenous people in the content of a community or nation and has thereby stripped away context and trampled on collective rights" (2014). Due to this, social workers should be able to view the troubles of individuals in a broader social context so as to reach those clients and help solve their problems.
Purposeful Expression of Feelings
This is the acknowledgment of the need of the client in expressing their feelings freely particularly those negative ones. The social worker should purposely listen to the client without condemning or discouraging the feelings they are expressing. Lutz (2010), pointed out that it is a refusal to totally deal with the client if the caseworker cannot offer an opportunity for them to express their feelings, fears, hopes, hostility etc. every problem irrespective of big or small has an emotion attached to it and the client has the right to express it fully. When the expression is of a therapeutic nature, the caseworker is also supposed to support and encourage them.
Controlled Emotional Involvement
Here, the caseworker tries to understand the feelings and emotions of the client without emotionally getting involved in the problems of the clients. However, they can become emotionally involved by sensing and responding to the client's feelings. The worker is sensitive to those feelings, understands purposeful the meaning of them and offer an appropriate response to those feelings. However, the worker should be self-discipline and understands the purpose of the case so as to control the involvement.
Although the client may have some weaknesses and some limitation, the caseworker should accept and accommodate him/her. Of all help, acceptance is crucial since it embraces both positive and negative ideas. Acceptance does not mean condemning or making the client feel hostile even when his /her behaviors are different from the approved ones. Rather, it is accepting the reality of an individual while sustaining and conversing a sense of the innate dignity and personal value of the client.
Here, it is the quality of the casework relation by not assigning guilt or innocence of the client. The client should not be blamed nor be assigned accountability of his/her miseries but the caseworker evaluates the client's attitudes, standards and action (Lutz, 2010). A study conducted showed that a client is not likely to talk if he/she is blamed and judged. Irrespective of blame, some judgmental attitude such as praise and approval have the similar impact as a client is likely to hard a part of himself so as not to be judged.
The self-determination of the client is the practical recognition of her/his freedom through the choices and decisions one makes. Here, the caseworker is not responsible for the decisions of the client. Also, the caseworker should not in a controlling way try to pursued or manipulate the client in conforming to the preferences of the worker.
It is the preservation of the secret information that concerns the client without disclosing to third parties. Although there is a circumstance where the right or duty is greater than the right to confidentiality, the client should realize that the right to confidentiality is not always absolute.
On a daily basis, social workers encounter boundary issues that may affect them and their client either positively or negatively. Boundary issues occur when the caseworkers do more for the clients by crossing the professional line of ethical and legal social work (Reamer, 2012). Due to this, it develops a dual relationship theory that occurs when a relationship is developed between a social caseworker and the client with the exchange of favors, gifts and personal benefits. Various relationships can be developed including sexual, intimate, business or social relationships which consequently impacts negatively the working and professional life of the caseworker (Reamer, 2012). In the case study, there are various evident boundary issues that have occurred and one of them is emotional and dependency needs. Here, social worker reverses their roles with the clients by increasing the dependence. In the case study, Karen who is the key-worker for Mary makes decisions for her like when Mary feels she wants to go to the dancing classes, Karen does not approve her decisions and claims that she is not ready to face the crowd. In this case, Karen own needs are coming into play forcing Mary to depend on her. Instead of allowing Mary to go to the dancing classes which are activities to assist Mary in overcoming her family challenges, she prioritizes her benefits to the advantages of Mary.
The altruistic gesture is another boundary issue observed in the case study. Instead of Karen conducting herself with ethics and codes of conduct of her professional, she crosses the professional line by informing Mary how lovely she is and how her smile resembles that of her sister. This is unethical to what is ethical in social worker professionalism. Unanticipated circumstances is another boundary issue and in the case study, Karen seems to control Mary in seeing her mother as she gets bristles whenever she talks to her. Also, instead of supporting Mary in her education she controls her and tells the other staff team that she is the one to look after. This goes to an extent of even not allowing her to participate in community events like dancing.
Self-awareness to a Social Worker
Self-awareness is personality recognition, strength and weaknesses. Self-awareness is relevance as it prepares social-worker to encounter personal matters of the clients. However, self-awareness of an individual is usually shaped by various factors such as past experiences, social norms, other people values and prejudices. This can make it hard for the social worker to make controlled emotional participation and good judgmental attitudes towards the client. Lack of self-awareness, the social worker cannot be able to provide responsive and dexterous services to the clients. Greene (2017) suggested that knowing experiences that affect thoughts and values assist the worker to work properly with the clients by minimizing and controlling such influences that may be harmful to the clients. Self-awareness builds competence, prevent burnout and create life-long learning among the professionals. Although self-awareness is learned through experiences, Yan and Wong (2015) argue that examining assumptions of daily practice makes the social worker become more self-aware when critically evaluating their responses to daily practice situations. Though it is not right to use past experiences towards helping clients, it is useful for the social workers to share their own feelings and thoughts which will help the client make up her own stand of the decision. Therefore, self-awareness is the cornerstone of professional development as it allows social workers to deal with the problems of their clients.
Role of Continual Professional Development
In a growing globalised and bloodthirsty society, roles of continual professional development (CPD) cannot be estimated. Industries are always evolving hence creating exciting opportunities through which come with challenges (Megginson and Whitaker, 2017. To be able to remain competitive, individuals must look at CPD with a new dimension so as to differentiate themselves from other individuals. CPD is an ongoing process that ensures one becomes competent throughout the profession. In social care, CPD ensures an individual enhances their knowledge and capabilities especially after qualifying formally. CPD assist in making sure that advanced learning is progressed in a "structured, practical and relevant way to guarantee that there are applied efficiencies in learning" (Nicholls, 2014). Also, it allows the social worker to center on what certain skills and knowledge they need over a short period of time so as to be sure there is recognizable enhancement within their set of proficiency and skills. Through CPD, social workers can frequently apply attention to essential aspects of growth and take right action in reducing any shortfalls in skills. Furthermore, social workers can be able to put themselves in charge of their own professional growth and ambitions of the work environment. As a result, increasing confidence among them that later bring productivity in place of work environment.
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