An analysis of the use of communication skills within a social practice setting
- Empathy: According to Trevithick.
- Goal setting.
- Rogers' client centred approach.
- Communication with those with disabilities.
In this essay I will attempt to analyse the use of communication skills within a practice setting. I will briefly acknowledge the six areas of skill studied in the communication module and analyse, in more detail, two of these areas; empathy and working with difference. I will examine communication theory in relation to practice and reflect on the usefulness of the learning undertaken, during role-plays, in preparation for practice. Social work practice is a skilled activity that requires effective communication in order to enhance the lives of others. Trevithick (2000:1) notes that 'Social work is located within some of the most complex problems and perplexing areas of human experience, and for this reason, social work is, and has to be, a highly skilled activity.' Pierson and Thomas (2002:95) recognise that '..in social work and social welfare agencies, good, clear, accurate communication is essential' and that 'all workers need to develop appropriate communication skills both for face-to-face and for written communications'.
[...] Goal setting requires skilful judgement; goals need to be challenging but more importantly, realistically achievable. The sixth key skill, working with difference, involves the recognition of differences between the worker and client. These differences may be subtle or very much evident; they may be linked to a person's gender, ability, sexuality, age, ethnicity, cultural or religious beliefs. The failure for a worker to recognise and value diversity and to recognise the discrimination and oppression their client experiences as a result of difference will undoubtedly affect their ability to practice anti-oppressively. [...]
[...] In order to help us develop an understanding of the nature of communication and the ways in which our communication skills can impact on another, we draw our knowledge from various theoretical perspectives. Milner and O'Byrne (2002:70) note that ?Theories help us to develop informed opinions when they increase our understanding of the likely relationships between events in peoples lives'. Egan (2004) takes a humanistic approach to communication and presents a four stage model with which to work. Stage one examines the ?present state', whereby, a worker will enable the client to tell their story. [...]
[...] SCIE (2004:1) recognise that ?Good communication is at the heart of best practice in social work.' Leonard (1984, cited in Dalrymple and Burke 1995:65) note that ?user groups are invariably marginalised', firstly within their own environment where they are ?seen as a threat within their own community' and secondly, by the isolation forced upon them when labelled as different. Effective communication allows the building of trusting relationships, which enable the worker and client to successfully work in partnership with the elimination of any power imbalance. [...]