There are risks associated with social work that many don’t speak of. One of the greatest dangers associated with the profession is feeling that knowledge of many other subjects is irrelevant(sloth). It happens to many professions, and I’m not implying social workers don’t work hard, hell it’s in our name. But there is a definite mark of the social work profession that leaves most of its inhabitants woefully ignorant of things like: science, technology, politics, policy, research, economics, etc. Sure, some things are taught in school, a gloss over of a broad topic that will at the very best, encourage some to further pursue it on their own.
And I might be wrong, it might be that people are much more informed of new ideas, concepts, philosophies, and advances and just never speak of it, or employ the information. This is worse. Most people can rehearse Freud’s overall theories, despite the length that we’ve gone to discredit him. How many people though can discuss the implication of Nietzsche’s Master-slave morality? Or, what it might mean that scientists discovered fairly certain proof of the Higgs-Boson particle? If you believe that they don’t have an impact on you, and on the work you do, then we need to rethink our role. Take the same advice we give to kids. Try to learn something new each day. Go beyond your comfort zone to a subject you have little information on and see how it can make sense of things within your own life, and the job you do.
By: Courtney Kidd, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer
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Courtney, thank you for these important ideas. Our profession is “social”. How can a social worker relate to clients without a deeper understanding of how we as humans have created our different cultures, social connectivity, life perspectives, etc. When I wrote my BSW thesis, I utilized every textbook in my four-year program except algebra (and you could say that was in the stats) from the humanities, psychology, sociology, literature, social work, history, and so on. I was taught that I would read at least three books on a particular subject for every client I encountered. I would add that social workers need “the big picture” to place our work in the context of the client’s world.