In this article, we tell you about the myths surrounding the profession of social work.
The figure of the social work professional is traditionally called into question. The work they do, on numerous occasions, is unknown. It is because of this lack of information about the profession that myths, stereotypes or preconceived ideas arise about the role of the social work professional. To begin with, let’s briefly walk through the definition and goals of the profession.
Table of Contents
What is Social Work?
We could define it as a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Consequently, the development of the profession is based on:
The social work professional, in the exercise of his profession, must adapt to the different situations of users. Their role is not just to help and provide resources. Often, they have to arbitrate, train, motivate, pacify, console …
In addition, we must not forget the developing arts of negotiation. Efforts should be made to ensure that the person using social services takes some responsibility. We can give / facilitate resources, strategies, means … But it is the user who takes ultimate responsibility for overcoming adversities.
As Loera (2009) puts it, the worker as a figure faces the misunderstanding of a society that devalues him and institutions that often do not support his work. The social worker is an agent of change who, in most cases, does not have all the means and resources to deal with the problems that people come to them. This is why negative opinions about this work can be expressed.
Myths about Social Work
We are not “Social Worker”
Prior to 1981, the term “social worker” was recognized as referring to persons who performed the above functions. It is from this year, with the approval of the Department of Education and Science of the university degree in social work, that the terminology changes and the social worker begins to be used.
Moreover, “assistant” gives a paternalistic connotation to the profession. It should not be forgotten that the aim is for the user to assume responsibilities and create skills which enable him to cope with the different situations that may arise.
They only Come to the Aid of Migrants
At this point, it is important to stress that in order to access help or a resource, it is necessary to meet certain pre-established requirements. In social services, no one is “marginalized”.
Many confuse the Caregiver with the Social Worker
No, we do not take care of people in a situation of dependency or the elderly. The people responsible for carrying out this work are caregivers, home health aides or care technicians for people in a situation of dependency.
We must appreciate the great work they do and the effort they put in every day to care for the lives of all those people who need support or supervision.
They Steal Children
In social services, children are not “taken away”. Always faced with a possible situation of lack of protection or helplessness, measures to support, educate and help parents and family prevail.
They Work with people with Disabilities or the Elderly
The social worker does not only work with people with disabilities or the elderly. In fact, a citizen of any age, of any origin, regardless of where he lives, can benefit from the services of social workers.
In this profession, we work with different groups:
People at risk of social exclusion
Inmates in correctional facilities
Therefore, the field of action is wide and varied.
Social Worker Provide Help
Before anyone accesses certain resources, a case study and assessment is done. Normally, an individualized care and integration plan is developed. Therefore, in this plan and routinely, the social worker and the user define guidelines that the latter must implement. In addition, objectives and strategies are proposed. In fact, social service personnel must monitor and verify that the agreements reached are being respected.
In conclusion, although there are surely many myths and stereotypes surrounding the figure of the professionals, we must try to normalize and make this profession visible. Social work professionals are not there to punish or convict anyone. They are professionals whose role is to support, guide and help anyone who needs it.