Principles that Focus on the Social Worker
1) The social worker should practice social work
A student of social work is taught knowledge, skills, values, ethics and principles of social work in the theory papers. Therefore one is not expected to behave in an unprofessional manner. For example a student may come across a client who met with an accident. When he/she went to meet the client he/she may become emotional and weep. In such a situation, the worker is not expected to express his/her emotions with the client (say by shedding tears). Remember the principle of controlled emotional involvement. As a professional you should do what you are sanctioned and trained to do. You should use your professional knowledge, values and skills while dealing with the client in a niven situation.
2) The social worker should engage in conscious use of self
As a para-professional, you should work within your own abilities, capacities and limitations. Neither should you make false promises to the client nor impose your own style and beliefs, values, and attitudes on the client. As a professional the worker should develop a feeling of trust and welfare in the mind of the client.
For example, as a student placed in a community you should not make false promises to the community that you will provide them job, a “pakka road” in the village or start an income generating activity. Worker should keep in mind their social background and culture. Let us take an another example. The worker is a vegetarian and the client is a non-vegetarian.
The worker should not impose his/her life style on the client and expect the client to follow the lifestyle of the worker. A worker must be consciously aware about one’s own beliefs, perceptions, and behaviours that may have an impact on their professional relationships, as these personal attributes will surely affect the ability to be helpful to the clients.
3) The social worker should maintain professional objectivity
As a social worker you are expected to behave in a professional manner with the client by maintaining a certain distance and not getting involved personally. For example a client may request the worker to help him/her by providing financial assistance for his/her sister’s marriage. In such situation, you need to be very clear about your roles and limitations and maintain professionalism to deal with the situation tactfully.
4) The social worker should respect human diversity
As a para-professional, you should not discriminate the client on the basis of his/her cultural background, religion, sex, physical and intellectual abilities. For example a worker is dealing with a client who belongs to a minority community. It is not appropriate for a professional social worker if he/she starts avoiding the client by not visiting his/her family fearing negative reaction from the rest of the community. The social worker is expected to respect every client as human being without any judgemental attitude. A social worker must appreciate the variations within any group.
He should avoid making assumptions about any one person’s cultural identity, beliefs, or values on the basis of the person’s external characteristics or membership in a particular population or demographic group.
5) The social worker should challenge social injustice
Social worker believes that every individual has certain basic rights, such as those spelt out in the constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights issued by the United Nations. All members have the same basic rights, protection, opportunities, obligations and social benefits. Therefore, a social worker must be always prepared to do the needful to contribute to social justice by fighting social injustice.
6) The social worker should seek to enhance professional competence
A social worker should not sit aside by assuming that he/she knows each and everything on any issue under the sun. He/she should update his/her knowledge by interacting with wide range of people, seeking ideas from available and updated literature and through all
means of communication including the web. He/she should also keep himself/herself up-to-date with new concepts and theories by attending workshops, conferences, refresher courses and participation in social and academic deliberations. In fact every profession demand that the professionals must keep themselves well informed. Social work professionals are not exempted either.