Though social work is a wide and pervasive field which encompasses many different careers and experiences, there is a common theoretical understanding of the needs of people and their communities which seems to speak to all of them. In this paper I will be concentrating on the theoretical background and how it applies to my personal experience within social work both in my placement and in any potential future careers. This will involve expressing my understanding of critical social work theory, how it relates to its practice, and in particular how critical approaches to ethics, power, and identity have influenced my experiences thus far within my work placement.
[...] I agree with Abramson (1996) when she mentions that most of the ethics in social work are based on the decision-making and not the decision-maker. This means that we must always keep a critical mind when looking at the person who stands behind making the professional decision. I also agree with Abramson (1996) in that character, principles, ethical theories, free will/determinism, spirituality, individual/community, and the particular ‘voice' that the social worker represents are main personal components that would direct his ethical decisions. [...]
[...] I have found this very effective in opening dialogue and I plan to continue to use it in future social work practice. In the case of my current placement setting, as I have said, there is no room for people to tell their story. This leads them to be placed in certain groups based on impersonal categories of evaluation, as though therapy is the only option. Instead, it would be more effective if the intake process based interventions off of the narrative process. [...]
[...] Conclusion In this paper I have explained what I have learned from practicing and understanding critical social work. This has involved a discussion of structuralist, postmodernist, and other critical approaches towards doing social work. Ethics, power and identity manifest themselves differently based on what approach one decides to use, but nonetheless are operative concepts no matter how they are defined. I have also advocated narrative therapy as one of the critical approaches that should be employed and developed to a greater scope and degree. [...]
[...] Instead I can name a few principles in my understanding of social work practice that hail from different theoretical camps, the overarching theories of which might even be said to stand in contradiction. For example, I find that the modernist medical approach to social work practice is overall inadequate, but I agree with Payne that there are multiple effective theories that can inform social work practice that originate out of scientific psychology (citation needed). I also believe, however, that we cannot apply strictly psychological-evidence- based approaches in working with persons. [...]
[...] Defining Critical Work Practice According to Fook, critical social work practice evolved as a respond to the modernist medical model approach to social work (citation needed). By accepting the structural notions of oppression based on power imbalances and macro-level social inequalities, critical social work tries to further the means of critical analysis by applying recently developed postmodern notions about the nature of power, authority, and equality. This new approach tends to consider oppression as a product of systematic structuring and impersonalized self-regulation through social reinforcement and habits of performance, but this is not to say that the postmodern view leaves out the personal, or subjective, element in its analyses. [...]
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