Working on this assignment has given me a greaterclarity of the differences that lie between social work and the other helpingprofessions. Under this metaphorical “umbrella” fall the three sectors, namely socialwork, counselling and psychology. Despite the similarities of these jobfunctions, social work has a clear mission and purpose and is largely differentdue to firstly, the generalist approach, secondly, the advocacy aspect andthirdly, the involvement with the community at large.
This led me to further examine the generalistapproach of social work, where one is a Jack of all Trades. Although generallymaking it difficult to truly become the master of one, this approach allows forthe adoption of many roles that exist for a social worker, such that there is abreadth to work with in providing assistance. With the proper intent in mind,almost anything can be done in the name of social work.The fact is that the roles and responsibilities ofsocial workers can seem infinite and because of that, social workers need tohave a clearly defined understanding of what they are doing, who they are doingit for, and what they are trying to achieve by doing it. This requires strongleadership for the workers and equally strong advocacy defining the roles ofsocial workers.
With regards to advocacy, I now reflect on theinnate power that the title of social worker carries, as well as theresponsibilities that are a necessary by-product of the role. Being “on theground” and closest to the local social and political situations, socialworkers have a great duty to uncover the issues plaguing the community and toappeal to the greater population to give them voice. Social work sees a very active role with thecommunity, with a large part of it working with multiple partners to garnersupport and assistance for those being assisted. In a sense, the community andits partners are also in need of the social worker’s position to be able to recruiteach agency into their respective roles in order to come together to assist.Hardly any other professions would be able to see fit to do so or get theresponse that would be so open to social workers. If change is to be affected, social workers need tobe active in making that change a reality.
While Social workers have aresponsibility to assist the individual and affect change in their lives thereis also a responsibility to the larger majority – to inform, educate and,ultimately, revolutionise.