Social work as a Profession

Diksha Chowdhary
As quoted by famous Greek Philosopher Aristotle; Man is a social animal, who is born in society, lives in society & dies in society. Society is indispensable for man. It is an aggregation of individuals allied by definite relations or modes of behaviour. It is also a complex mesh of social relations. This relation is the result of interaction of social people. Change is a critical aspect of society. When social people struggle to maintain pace with social change properly, they face multifaceted quandary which require professionals, knowledge based & sustainable solutions. To eradicate these problems, social work has been emerged.
Social work is a helping profession which fundamentally aims to aid the individuals, groups and community to cope with their tangled socio-economic psychological problems through enabling themselves so that they can unriddle their problems and possible troubles by helping themselves. Social work essentially believes to develop self- sufficiency and self- dependency in people. The problems are solved systematically through proper analyses of factors behind several issues. Therefore, it is visualized that social work is scientific process. Individuals are unique, having different set of strengths and weaknesses. The social worker applies different methods on different people in order to help them. Therefore, it is an art too. The discipline of Social Work is vast and has several forms. Social Work encompasses diversified procedures and methodologies that fall under it’s huge umbrella.
Never thought of diverse fields in the arena of Social Work?
Well! Get ready to dive into deep learning; to create awareness, refine your knowledge, unleash several possibilities, debunk certain myths and much more. Find out your area of interest and start off your new journey as a Social Worker!
Family & Child Welfare-
We have often heard people saying, Children are the future. Only after appropriate growth and development of children, any country can truly prosper. Although, child development can occur in the true sense only if his/her family is developed. Family development is critical for child development.
Rural and urban welfare (rural and urban development)
Community Development is the main motto of rural & urban welfare programmes. So, first of all, we need to understand what is Community Development? United Nation defines it as ‘a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems.’ Bringing positive change in different populations is the main objective of community development. Also, when we talk of community, we are talking about the need of importance of active participation from their side as well. A plethora of services are provided to succeed at this motto. It includes; education, health, shelter, social development etc.
Industrial Social Work (Labour welfare activities)
Social Worker constantly work towards improving the life of workers. They play the role of a labour welfare officer and is responsible for welfare in the industry.
The social worker, acting as a labour welfare officer, advises and assists management to provide welfare amenities for the workers e.g., canteen, crèche, rest rooms, recreation hall, etc. They also interact with government agencies on the health and safety of workers.
Medical social work (Hospital or Health setting)
In hospital or health settings, social workers assess the strengths and weaknesses of the patient and takes appropriate measures. They also coordinate the use of medical, social, educational and vocational measures, in order to help the individual to achieve the highest level of functional ability.
Psychiatric social work (mental health)
A psychiatric Social Worker prepares case records for diagnosis and helps in rehabilitation of people who are ill mentally. They strengthen the ego and educates sick to make proper adjustment
School social work (educational setting)
The social worker uses the methods of casework and group work to solve problems in schools. The social worker provides counselling to students and parents, arranges different health programmes, gives sex education to students, provides educational motivation to students, deals with ‘problem’ students’, gives career guidance to students, and provides behaviour modification techniques.
Degrees Available
Various options are available to carry forward a career in Social Work. One can opt for BSW (Bachelors in Social Work), MSW (Masters in Social Work), M.Phil. in Social Work and PhD in Social Work. Various diploma and certificate course are available to enhance and enrich your experience as a professional social worker.
Some of the top institutes to purse your degree is-
TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences), Mumbai
Department of Social Work (Delhi University), Delhi
Madras School of Social Work (University of Madras), Chennai
Loyola College of Social Sciences (University of Kerala), Thiruvananthapuram
Department of Social Work (Christ University), Bengaluru
Faculty of Social Work (Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda), Gujarat
College of Social Work (Autonomous) Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai
Karve Institute of Social Service (University of Pune), Maharashtra
Department of Social Work, (Jamia Millia Islamia), Delhi
As we have discussed all the fields in Social Work and respective roles of Social workers in each area. It is immensely important to know what attributes one should possess & develop to become a Social Worker in the true sense. Would you like to test yourself a bit? I know, that’s a YES. Let’s start by diving into some attributes and learn what exactly takes to emerge as a responsible Social Worker.
Patience- Did we talked about that Social Work cases can stretch for months or even years? If not, well you now know it! It can be very stressing for Social Worker if patient takes this much time to show progress. At times, problem just keeps on getting more complex. Social workers need to keep extreme levels of patience in order to really get to the root cause of a person’s issues in order to help them.
Empathy- I know, this must be the most expected one! It is the most important too. Social Workers have to work with people who are vulnerable and under emotional duress. Social Workers need to empathize with people, irrespective of differences that exist. Knowing what people are exactly going through is critical to the work of Social Worker. The ability to do this effectively will make anyone an outstanding social worker.
Organised- Yes, you read it right! Social Workers deal with a lot. While working on a complex case, mind is bound to get occupied heavily. Well, Social Workers can’t afford that. They need to keep their mind fresh so as to absorb new findings about the client. Social Workers need to keep themselves organized in order to focus on facts that are important.
Persistent- Social Work is not a cake walk, and Social Workers know that. They don’t give up on their clients easily, as they know that they might be their client’s last resort. They don’t give up, rather learn from their set- backs. Social Workers need to work persistently to get the grip of the thread that connects them with their clients
Flexible- Looking for a 9- 5 job! You might want to reconsider Social Work then. Social Workers may be needed to assist their clients immediately whenever required. To be a successful Social Worker, one needs to step out of their comfort zone for sure, and prove to be flexible.
There is not even an iota of doubt in saying that Social Work in India still has a long way to go. People aren’t even aware of Social Work as a course of study. There are also a lot of myths regarding Social Work that we need to debunk, like; Not everyone who help poor or needy is a Social Worker. Social Workers are trained professionals. They are qualified enough to help people to tackle their problems. Just like other professions, Social Work also deals with different fields of study, that we have already discussed before.
So, have you made your mind to be Social Worker? If yes, congratulations! A plethora of opportunities are waiting for you. Be the changemaker and make the changes you have always dreamt about.