Based on Audrey Haven’s SJS article “Clients and the “Poverty Mindset” What is the connection? Part I (Friday, August 9, 2013) commenting on one of my three blogs on the definition of the “Poverty Mindset,” my concept of “Poverty Mindset” seems to have been misinterpreted as rather judgmental.
Anyone who visits the FSW website and looks across its content can see that the mission and goals of the Center for Financial Social Work [FSW] totally focus on empowering clients by providing both social workers [and non-social workers] with the tools and skills to educate, motivate and support clients on the journey to sustainable, long-term financial behavioral change.
From its earliest inception in 1997 [as Femonomics – the “Gender of Money”] the Financial Social Work model/certification has managed to: 1. Identify money as a necessary, relevant and cogent social work issue. 2. Create a way for social workers to improve their own financial futures. 3. Develop the tools and skills for social workers to help clients take control of their money and gain control of their lives.
I was driven to tackle the topic of the “Poverty Mindset” in the post Clients and the “Poverty Mindset” by the fact that so many of our students, graduates, FSW community members, and countless non-profit agencies, struggle to engage clients in long-term financial behavioral change. During FSW’s history of sixteen years, I’ve observed a particular pattern of thinking and behavior underlying clients’ reluctance and tendency to self-sabotage in this area. As I began blogging, I happened to term that pattern the “Poverty Mindset.”
The “Poverty Mindset” represents [to me] a way of thinking which when clearly defined can provide a clearer understanding of how to help clients to overcome that manner of thinking. Please see our post “A Community Discussion on the “Poverty Mindset,” to read the thoughts, ideas and contributions from our FSW community on this topic.
Financial Social Work understands that poverty is an outcome of many political, social and other complex factors, circumstances and issues. It works to counter those realities with its hopeful, strength-based, interactive and introspective behavioral model which provides on-going financial education, motivation and support. The goal is to expand clients’ sense of self, self-confidence and self-awareness in ways which make examining and rethinking previously unconscious automatic thoughts and feelings regarding money for clients [largely learned in childhood] less threatening and more empowering. Please see this infographic to better understand the model.
In closing, I’d like to share a sampling of some of the exciting developments resulting from FSW work: 1) Social workers are now awarded 20 CEs from NASW national upon passing the certification exam; 2) The Financial Social Work curriculum has been taught as a distance elective at the University of Kentucky, since fall semester 2011, by an FSW graduate; 3) Financial Social Work has a chapter in the NASW Press publication: 4) Social Work Matters: The Power of Linking Policy and Practice; Financial Social Work will be included in the 2013 Oxford Press Online Encyclopedia of Social Work; and 5) evidence based research is being conducted on the FSW model.
Written by: Reeta Wolfsohn, CMSW
For more from Reeta and to learn more about Financial Social Work go to http://www.financialsocialwork.com/.
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