I’ve tried, and failed, to write this many times; the emotion of the circumstance has overwhelmed me each time. This is how the post originally began when I started it in August last year:“I write this on what should be Day 12 of the rehabilitation programme for my 12 year old son’s return home after four years in local authority care.
Feb 7, 2018
One of the most important skills for being a social worker is adaptability. Since this job involves dealing with specific and unique cases, you have to constantly upgrade your skillset and expertise through professional training and educational courses. Unlike adaptability, which is naturally developed and gained through experience, there are certain skills you might also be able to improve through hard work and effort. Here are several such skills that you should continuously try to improve in order to be a better social worker. Empathy While a lot of people believe that empathy is something you’re born with, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. In order to better understand how another person feels, you need to walk a mile in their shoes. Try role-playing and imagine what would it be like to wake up one day as a random person you’ve met on the street, your coworker, or even your barista. This is just one of the several techniques that are known to help one become more empathetic . Active listening and note-taking Another thing you need to keep in mind is that the role of a social worker is the one of a confidant, which is why you need to become great at active listening . It is well-known that people aren’t interested in what you have to say to them, rather they want you to listen. So, if you approach them with understanding and gain their trust, they are bound to become more open to accept help or advice that you can provide them with. Seeing as how some of this information may be vital, you should also know how to take notes. Writing something down during the pinnacle of another person’s emotional confession is just outright rude and disrespectful, which is why your notes need to be short and to the point. After all, by looking down to your notebook, you might miss out on a vital piece of nonverbal communication, which is an irredeemable mistake. Communication skills In the previous section, we mentioned that listening is incredibly important, as well as writing down any crucial information that you hear from your interlocutor. However, as a social worker, you have a mission to fulfill, which is why your own words need to bear a certain weight. In order for your words to really leave a deep mark, you need to develop an ability to have a shorter conversation with more impact on the other party. One of the ways to learn this skill is to sign up for life coaching courses , which might give you a new perspective on interpersonal relationships. Setting boundaries Even though you sometimes have to be friendly with the person you’re talking to in order to ease their pain or help them overcome their own barriers, you still need to know how to set boundaries. Remember that, at the end of the day, you’re a social worker with a job that needs to be done. Being too polite and too empathetic might be interpreted as a sign of weakness. This is why you need to learn how to be in control of the conversation, of course, without being impolite or menacing and establishing yourself as a person of authority. Critical thinking Listening to another person’s story, especially if it comes from their heart and you are an empathetic person, can be quite persuasive. Unfortunately, this is not something you want since, as a social worker, you need to remain level-headed and able to think rationally. Because of this, you should definitely work on your critical thinking skills and try to look at each and every scenario from, at least, several different angles. With this in mind, you are much more likely to better estimate any given situation. Conclusion Even though being a social worker isn’t as glamorous as being a businessman, a doctor, or a lawyer, the truth is that social workers are the backbone of any civilization. Without them, a huge portion of a population would be completely disconnected from the rest of the society, without any chance of redemption or comeback. Furthermore, social workers are the most humane and most compassionate part of any society. Still, the idea of a social worker is only as worthy as the people who represent it day in and day out. With these five important skills up their sleeves, there is a hope that everything will start to look up for the underprivileged as well.