Use of self and its importance in social practice

Social Work-People Skills

  Use of self and its importance in social practice

Use of self involves the ability to connect with individual’s own feelings and being emotionally alert or bright. Use of self assists in appreciating the strength of emotions and their impact in informing vital practices such as appointment, evaluation and decision making. It helps to appreciate the value of associating to those in need, in suffering, and those in anger. It brings about the art of knowing the relationship dynamics and being informed of the transformative potential of the relationship that social workers have with the user of social services. Conscious use of self is a term common in social work, explaining the ability to purposefully and deliberately use personal motivation and capability to communicate and interact with others in a manner that brings about change (Ahmad, 1990). It actually becomes easier to come to terms with this concept when put in the context of a helping relationship, in which a social worker is guiding a pre-set change progression.

Use of self is a notion that is very unavoidable in the area of social work. The concept has transformed from its ancient prominence regarding social restructuring to its current emphasis on clinical practice. This seems to have moved the center of attention from conscious use of self at several levels of involvement, to self-awareness within a one-on-one assisting relationship. The efforts to get knowledge about oneself have been looked into as a building stone for nonclinical social work activities-such as earning maintenance work, job training, child wellbeing, and nutritional support (Flaskas, 2007). The weight of the whole issue of conscious use of self as regards the field of social work call for a deeper emphasis of self-awareness as the basis of appreciating the function of conscious use of self, in the development of effective helping relationships at micro and macro levels of intervention. In other words, converting one’s self into an instrument of change is not just about playing better duets.

Variables that shape interpersonal relationships

Critical studies into the elements that shape interpersonal relationship show that there are two broad principles that characterize the interplay of personality and societal relationships. The first is the unconsciousness. This has to do with memories, feelings and fantasies which provoke anxiety to the extent that they need to be repressed. Some good amount of these kinds of feelings and memories can be retrieved through the process of self alertness which any social worker can assist to facilitate (Flaskas, 2007). The second principle is the counter transference. Social workers are very vulnerable largely because of their emotional openness which can possibly cause counter transference. It is actually what the clients become to the social worker with regard to feelings/patterns of their relationship.

Reflection on the values to have in placement

One of the most important aspects I need in social work practice is my personality. Although important to social work practice, the social worker’s hypothetical point of reference and knowledge of skills seem to have very minimal impact on client fulfillment as compared to the social worker’s genuineness, and how they use individuality traits as a therapeutic tool. What is necessary with regard to being authentic is to reflect my “real self” often. When I inadvertently meet my client while doing some shopping or at a social place during the weekend, he/she should be in a position to engage me freely (Rogers, 1957). In other words, social workers have to take into account how they really are and understand how they can integrate the two roles. The first step in achieving authentic incorporation is setting time for personal discovery. In placement, one should form a list of the major personality attributes and establishes how they can assist the social worker to communicate to clients, as well as limiting individual efficacy is a useful work out.

Personal belief is the other aspect of self that impacts social work practice. Belief systems need to be religious or divine in nature. In the contrary, belief systems can be a means of organizing, understanding and making good judgment of the world ones lives in. Often, in social work this is often referred to as individual “worldview”. It is paramount for any students of social work to assess their personal views regarding the world that surrounds them. Questions that come in mind include; what do an individual believe about the scenery of humankind? How does a potential social worker view the idea of suffering and pain? What does the life generally entail? As a social worker, I am able to understand my personal view regarding the world and life (Edwards & Bess, 1998). By defining my worldview, I am better positioned to understand the congruence between my personal philosophies, as well as ethics and values regarding the profession of social work and that of the clients. It is crucial to evaluate such vales impact on the development of relationships with clients and the manner in which individual beliefs are likely to have a negative impact on direct services.

Relational dynamics is the third aspect in which self can be used. Rogers (1957) found that the sufficient and the essential conditions that shape the foundation of all assisting social worker- client relationships. These include similarity, unconditional positive consideration, and understanding. A combination of the necessary and sufficient conditions into a personal and restorative relationship is very important when attending to the clients in an effective manner. Having conducted an interview with a client, social work students should review their attainment level, in regards to utilization of essential and satisfactory factors in the course of the interview process and the manner in which future interviews anxiety can be upgraded.

Consciousness in relation to personal anxiety when dealing with field restorative relationships is the fourth component that relates to application of self. It is common to feel anxious and worried during the first stages of field placement. It is very normal to undergo anxiety when attending to clients. It is however advisable to avoid becoming paralyzed by fear or to stay in denial as to experiencing anxiety, but instead to embrace the anxiety (Dewane, 2006). When a social worker first experience anxiety, it is important to realize that it is the sense of self that is speaking to the social worker. As a social worker, I will endeavor to discuss my experience of anxiety with clients during field seminar, or with my field instructor, or with my agency supervisor, as such are important steps to remedying my anxiety and preventing its impact on my relationship with clients.

A final aspect of importance in placement is self-disclosure. Sharing own experiences and past problems can often bring to normal a client’s experience and provide a platform for modeling suitable behaviors and responses. However, it is important to keep in mind that inappropriate self-disclosure can make a client lack confidence in the social worker’s abilities and hence role reversal in the assisting relationship. In my placement, I will ensure that when I am about to self-disclose information to a client, I will ask myself whether what I am doing is on behalf of the clients, or for my own interest. The aim of Self-disclosing my experiences will be critical. In addition, the manner in which I can predict whether sharing whatever I shares with the clients is beneficial to them in whichever way will come in my mind. In addition, I may want to seek the client’s permission to self-disclose by informing them of my reason for self-disclosure and what I anticipate the usefulness of such a disclosure will entail. It should really be a highly skilled activity.