Title: Social Work Values, Participation And Empowerment

2558 words - 10 pages

With reference to social work practice, discuss of the following.The value base of social work practiceUsing a service user group of your choice to illustrate your answer.Social work value is a phrase that is difficult to define. Values can take a number of meanings depending on the usage and context of the setting.In everyday language values is used to refer and describe one or all of the following: religious, moral, political or ideological principles, beliefs or attitudes.Values in social work context refers to a set of fundamental moral/ethical principles to which social workers are/should/ought to be committed, for example, Code of Conduct for Social Workers as set by General Social Care Council.To be able to answer the question fully we need to explain what we mean by social work value base and from where the values have originated.So much literature on social work values has concentrated on formulating lists of principles about how social workers should interact with service users. Most of the lists of principles are underpinned by the basic principle 'respect for persons', which can be argued is the foundation stone of social work values. (Plant 1970)The principle of 'respect for persons' originates from Kant, an eighteenth century German philosopher.So what do we mean by a principle? Beauchamp (1996, pp. 80-1) defines principle asa fundamental standard of conduct on which many otherstandard and judgements depend. A principle is an essentialnorm in a system of thought or belief, forming a basis ofmoral reasoning in that system.It is also important to distinguish a principle from a rule. A rule is more specific and narrow in scope. Whereas, a principle is much broader in its scope.Social work derives it value base primarily from four basic sources, namely, Kantian, Utilitarian and Common Morality and Professional Code of ConductBiestek (1961) an American catholic priest in the late 1950s is widely acclaimed to be the source/originator of a set of values that seeks to define how social workers should behave with their service users.Biestek put forward a list of seven principles, which have been highly influential in shaping social work values. Biestek regarded his principles as an instrument to effective practice and a tool to be used by social workers tohelping the client achieve a better adjustment betweenhimself and his (sic) environment. (Biestek 1961, p.12)Biestek seven principles are:One) Individualisation. This is the recognition of service users unique qualities based upon the rights of the service user not to be treated just as a human being but as this human being.Two) Purposeful Expression of Feeling. This is the recognition of the service users right to express their feelings both positive and negative freely. The social worker should listen purposefully without condemnation and give empathy and encouragement where necessary.Three) Controlled Emotional Involvement. This principle requires the social worker to be sensitive to...

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