With what seems like so much upheaval in the world and in people’s personal lives, social work is more important than ever. The aim of social workers is to help communities and the people within them when they are struggling with problems, whether they be basic or complex. The core values of social work have become a hot topic as social injustices are increasingly addressed. Here are 4 key principles that guide people in this field.
Seeing Value in Others
Social work is based on the fundamental belief that every person has worth and dignity. Social workers strive to treat everyone with respect, while never losing sight of the fact that each individual has his or her own personal and cultural identity. When someone is facing adversity, a social worker’s goal is to help that person to address their concerns and work toward self-reliance. They attempt to balance the needs of the people they are assisting with the greater interest of society to achieve the best outcome for all.
Making Human Connections
Forging positive relationships between and among people can be a critical step in affecting change. In the same way that those receiving assistance are treated with dignity, they are also encouraged to take the same view of those who are working to assist them. Social workers attempt to engage with people and communities as partners, so that change can be affected as a team.
This concept of building partnerships is not unique to the area of social work, but it is a critical element. If a field centered on cooperation and collaboration is appealing to you, learn more about this career.
Behaving With Integrity
Social work is fueled by strict adherence to ethical principles, standards, and practices. Remaining trustworthy and honest, in other words, maintaining integrity can be challenging in many of life’s scenarios. To act with integrity is to find a way to begin with the right intentions and then work within a legal and ethical framework to achieve the best outcome. It also means being prepared to stand up for what is right, even when it is not easy to do so.
Seeking Social Justice
Often social workers are called upon to drive broad societal change by working on behalf of vulnerable individuals or communities. They frequently engage in activities that seek to address far-reaching injustices such as poverty, racism and discrimination. Social workers strive to provide access to resources and services that will ensure equality of opportunity for those who may be oppressed. It might sound like a lofty goal, but social workers around the world have proven capable of meeting these challenges. If you are someone who feels passionate about affecting social change, then a career path for social workers may be a good choice for you.
Regardless of whether social work is done with individuals or larger populations of people facing challenges, it should be practiced with these, and other, core principles. These principles provide a framework by which people and communities can judge the effectiveness and commitment of the social workers who are advocating for them.