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It is worth noting that social work implies the provision of help to people who find themselves in complex life situations. This type of interaction can require assistance, protection or counseling from the side of specialists depending on the setting. In general, the processes taking place in the socio-economic, political, and spiritual life of society determine the content of this professional activity. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on my experience of working with people and discuss the lessons learned.
One of the recent valuable experiences I was able to gain during my practice was linked to the case of my client named Christopher. He was suspected in drug distribution, and during the attempt to arrest him, Christopher shot the law enforcement officer. The situation is aggravated by the fact that he has a complex family background. He was out on bail due to the fact that he had the custody of his four children. When he was in prison, he had to transfer the guardianship over the minors to his ex-partner (the mother of children) with whom he used to have an unstable and violent relationship. The Department of Social Services Involvement (DSS) has been recurrently engaged in their case (Shulman, 2015). Despite the efforts made to aid the family, the parents did not meet parenting, substance abuse, and other requirements; therefore, the social workers had to remove minors from this nuclear family since the parents were reluctant to cooperate.
I tried to build a constructive dialogue with Christopher to discuss his criminal record and the DSS case; nonetheless, the client did not show the desire to communicate. However, he wanted to be listened to and tried to pronounce his excuses for the misconduct. At present, the man receives treatment and does his best to collaborate with DSS. According to the client and my personal observation, he is worried about the idea that his children might be separated from him for good (Shulman, 2015). In addition, he is unaware whether his children are in a safe place. The most valuable lesson that I have learned in this case is the understanding that most people simply want you to listen, and that it will be easier for them to make judgments about their conduct when they can reflect on it themselves.
Applying a Shulman Skill
As discussed above, the client has exhibited readiness to change his behavior and resolve the existing problems related to his children and criminal charges. Therefore, Shulman skill that can be best applied to the interaction is “to make a demand for work” (Moyse Steinberg, 2014, p. 33). To be more precise, it will be helpful to partialize Christopher’s concerns and break them down into smaller parts so that it is easier for him to navigate in the future course of action. Moreover, it will help prevent the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Code of Ethics Reflection
In terms of NASW Code of Ethics, all the principles are significant and essential; nevertheless, the value of dignity and worth of the person is of paramount importance in Christopher’s case (Parsons & Dickinson, 2016). The goal of the social worker should be to assist the man in the process of self-determination so that he can autonomously specify his personal value system without imposing anyone else’s point of view on him (Parsons & Dickinson, 2016). This way, Christopher will be able to build his social responsibility under no pressure and with due respect and supervision from the side of the social work specialist.
Thus, it can be concluded that Christopher’s case is rather complex. Nonetheless, the fact that he is ready to change himself evidences that the social worker will be able to help the man resolve his issues. At that point, the Code of Ethics, as well as Shulman skills, will guide and drive the conduct of the social worker so that the change process is smooth and non-violent; and so that Christopher accepts all the alterations consciously.
Moyse Steinberg, D. (2014). A mutual-aid model for social work with groups (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Parsons, R. D., & Dickinson, K. L. (2016). Ethical practice in the human services: From knowing to being. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Shulman, L. (2015). Empowerment series: The skills of helping individuals, families, groups, and communities (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.