A Historical Exploration of the Profession of Social Work
Social work is a profession that seems to have as many definitions as it has professionals that practice it. Upon asking someone to define social work, it soon becomes glaringly apparent how all-encompassing and far-reaching the profession holds. Some focus on the profession’s commitment to advocacy and social justice, others focus on the role social work plays in people’s personal lives through case management and therapy. For the sake of uniformity, clarity and depth many organizations have set out to create a formal definition of social work. The IFSW (Global, 2014) has defined social work as “a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people.” Since the first class was offered at Columbia University in 1898 (Social Work History, n.d.), countless lives have been touched and impacted by the practice and social workers everywhere. According to the NASW (Social Work History, n.d.), there are currently over 650,000 social workers in the United States alone, but where did this profession originate? The origins of ...
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...only are sound, unbiased competent services required, the client finds security and safety in it. With the term client comes the freedom to stay true to the nature of social work. Customers have the ability to direct and even demand services, but clients depend upon the judgment and discernment of the social worker. Stepping outside of the boundaries of the client-professional relationship not only impacts services delivered, but also society views on the profession as a whole. This authority comes with the ability to provide treatment, initiate and run programming, advocate on client’s behalf and access to confidential information. I know that when I enter the field of social work one day in the future, I owe it to my clients and peers to use the authority that comes with the degree and license with caution, discretion and consideration of the impact of my actions.
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