Discuss Some Of The Obstacles That Can Hold Social Workers Back, In Their Efforts To Achieve And Maintain Good Practice.

1001 words - 4 pages

Social work is a caring and rewarding profession that involves working with vulnerable members of society, enabling them to acquire a better life for themselves. Although Social work does have its benefits and sense of achievements it can also be very challenging and stressful for the worker. There is a general awareness, of some of the barriers that social workers face in their profession, but there is also an essential need to promote awareness in developing skills and strategies in how to deal with these barriers, when they arise in practice. (www.techdis.ac.uk)The public and media often portray the Social work profession in a negative light. The media in particular usually only have interest in the social work profession when major failures surrounding child neglect and abuse cases occur within the system. These kinds of negative attitudes in general can lead to low expectations of social work practice in the eyes of the public, service users and other professional networks that social workers deal with. Social workers are rarely recognised for the vast amount of good they do in society, it seems most of the time they are in a no win situation, ‘damned if they do, damned if they don’t’. (Thompson, 2005)One of the core conditions of social work practice is being able to develop a trusting relationship with the service user. Because of the negative misconceptions that the public and media hold of social workers this can cause a real barrier when trying to establish an effective working partnership. It is therefore essential for the social worker to take these views into account and deal with them effectively, whilst not giving any reasons for these stereotypical ideas to be reinforced. (Parton & O’Byrne, 2000)Other professional networks that social workers deal with for example doctors and nurses can hold negative stereotypical ideas that social workers in general can be manipulative, unorganised and unreliable, with unrealistic views of society. It is important to remain focused and not let these negative views and attitudes undermine confidence or commitment. (Thompson, 2005)Each professional has different obligations towards the service user and while health professionals look for a diagnosis and treatment, social work is more holistic in its approach, and views the individual within a wider context of their personal, cultural and social circumstances. (www.societyguardian.co.uk)Because social work is such a challenging and demanding profession, there is a high potential for stress to develop amongst social workers. Social workers work with vulnerable people, they share people’s problems and pain, and this can have an emotional strain on workers. They can find themselves in all kinds of unpredictable situations like having to face dissatisfied service users who may use threats of violence and aggression. Thompson (2005) highlights other factors associated with stress among social workers, these...

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