Personal Epistemology
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Social Work

Social work is a profession that encourages social change and the empowerment of people to improve their welfare. The profession also entails solving problems affecting human relationships. Social work comes into play when human beings interrelate with their surroundings. The principal goals of social work are to empower individuals to realize their full potential, supplement their lives, and avert dysfunctions. The profession is interconnected to principles, values, and practice. In terms of values, social work is found in the regard for dignity, integrity, and equity. The desire to assist the disadvantaged members of society attaining their human needs and realize their full potential justifies and motivates social work.

In terms of theory, social work acknowledges the intricacies faced by humans in their interaction with their environment. Thus, social work relies on social, cultural and human development theories to explore multifaceted scenarios. In terms of practice, social work tackles inequalities, obstacles, and injustices in societies. The profession responds to critical situations and crises experienced by humans in their interactions with the environment. The profession also requires people to apply a range of techniques and skills to address these situations.

Work of a Social Worker

Social workers are professionals tasked with supporting vulnerable populations in periods of difficulties or harm. These professionals perform many functions. First, a social worker responds to complex situations. A social worker is equipped with leadership skills to find solutions to complex or confusing situations involving disadvantaged families or individuals. A social worker must possess analytical skills to find solutions to complex family situations that require immediate interventions. This specialist is also charged with assessing and managing risks. As stated earlier, social work involves supporting and preventing people from possible harms. A social worker, therefore, evaluates and manages risks that may cause serious harms to people. These risks may originate internally (from the people themselves) or externally (from their environment). The profession expects a social worker to intervene in such situations and advise these people on the appropriate courses of action to take. A social worker also addresses social exclusion and hardships or challenges. Social workers help individuals overcome the challenging situations or hardships they are facing. For instance, they can assist populations living in despicable poverty conditions or poor health. They can also assist disadvantaged people like the disabled by maximizing their strengths and potential.

Basic Assumptions about People

Societies have different categories of persons. People can be bad, good, or between bad and good. The badness or goodness of people depends on their perceptions and environments. An environment has a significant influence on whether a person becomes bad or good. For instance, a person raised up in a setting that glorifies material wealth may become bad as they pursue the powers that come up with these riches. Such a person will be tempted to cheat or steal to become rich. This individual may continue to cheat, kill, or steal while at the top to maintain their status. Similarly, an environment that glorifies morality will nurture a good person. A moral setting will encourage people to pursue wealth or richness through righteous, legitimate, and honest means. Such an environment may also raise a person who believes that unrighteous and immoral riches are unjustified and pointless.

How People Come to Be Good, Bad, or Somewhere in Between

People become good or bad for many reasons. First, a person may become good or bad because of good or bad past experiences. A person who has gone through good experiences in the past is likely to become good while a person with past bad experiences is likely to become bad. For example, a person who loses all his financial investment through fraud schemes or swindling may become bad to revenge on their tribulations. Conversely, a person who has not had a bad past may lack the motivation to do bad things; thus, they will remain good. The other reason people become bad is imbalance in society. A person may become bad because of injustices or inequality they experience in society. An individual raised in a lower socioeconomic community may choose to become a thief in an attempt to alleviate the injustices or imbalance. Such a person may regard the world or life as being unfair. A person can also become bad to derive pleasure. For instance, a serial killer or rapist may find pleasure in making his victims suffer.

Development and Origins of Problems

Problems originate from socioeconomic factors. Socioeconomic factors refer to issues that affect the social and economic position of individuals or families. For example, a problem like a crime may originate from unbalanced poverty levels in society. Poverty may drive people to delve into crime. A problem may also arise from disparities in health care access and levels of educational attainment. Disparities in health care access may lead to health problems and suffering. Lower levels of educational attainment may also spur problems as it prevents individuals from pursuing vital economic opportunities. My ethnic-racial background shapes the problems I face because it determines the chances I have in accessing quality health care, justice, and education.

Why People Seek or do not Seek Help

People seek or do not seek help for various reasons. For instance, people seek or do not seek help depending on their perceived capacity to tackle their problems. A person will not seek help if they deem their problem too overpowering to handle, and vice versa. The nature or condition of a person may also determine whether he seeks or not seek help. For example, a person suffering from psychosis or dementia may not realize that they have a problem or should seek help. A person under the influence of drugs or alcohol may also not realize that they need help.

Cause of Change in People

People change for three primary reasons. First, people change because of the knowledge they acquire. An individual with a wealth of knowledge may change because they have different alternatives of doing things. Second, a person may change because of being tired of their existing situation. An individual may become bored of doing things in a similar way for long. They may consider doing it in another way. Third, an individual may change because they have suffered for long in their existing situation. They may change their position to reduce this suffering.

Handling Conflicts and Disagreements

People handle disagreements and conflicts in different ways. First, people handle conflicts through confrontations. In this strategy, one party considers themselves to be right and the other one to be wrong. The parties find themselves in a win-lose situation. The other strategy is avoidance. In this strategy, the parties may choose to avoid the disagreement through silence or not taking actions. Individuals choose this strategy to avert breaking relationships. The other strategy is to give in. Some people handle conflicts by conceding to the party with a stronger or more realistic argument. A party will yield to the other party to maintain peace. Some people handle conflicts and disagreements through compromise. Compromise is whereby the two conflicting parties agree to negotiate and reach a middle ground. My socio-political perspectives encourage me to employ compromise in handling conflicts and disagreements. I prefer to negotiate with my adversary to arrive at a common ground or a win-win situation. This strategy also maintains relationships.

Primary Communication Style

My primary communication style is direct communication. I prefer to air straightforwardly my views or opinions on issues when communicating with others. I also use clear statements to convince others to adopt my views. As a direct communicator, I focus on convincing and persuading my audience to adopt my stand on issues. My socio-political perspectives shape my style of communication by motivating me to make orders and act on them. I try to make orders in a respectable and inoffensive manner and steadfastly prompt people to act.

Groups of People I Hope to Struggle with in my Clinical Practice

I am anticipating to struggle with non-Christian groups in my clinical practice. My clinical setting is open to people from all religious backgrounds. Thus, I expect to come to contact with persons who have different beliefs from mine. Being a Christian, I will have difficulties in carrying out my clinical practices to the expectations of Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and other religious groups. For instance, these groups may exhibit overt hostility, bias, discrimination and abuse towards me in their local settings. Uneasiness in working with this group of people, for example, may arise from clinical practices that appear to contradict their religious beliefs. For instance, this population may be unwelcoming to the open discussion of sexual health and use of contraceptives.

Identified Changes towards Working with Such Groups

To ensure a productive relationship with this group of people, I will use a network of local religious leaders to eliminate gray areas in any clinical intervention in practice. Second, I will ensure that I gather knowledge about different religious customs before attending to these populations. Gathering knowledge about the beliefs of these populations will enable me to use interventions or engage in talks that are not controversial. Third, I will prepare these clients for programs that may evoke controversies. For instance, I will prepare Hindus and Muslims for programs that may involve elements of Christianity and vice versa.

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