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Social Work Skills


Social Work Skills Introduction Chapters 1 and 2 General Social Work Skills As a social worker, You will serve people in all walks of life and in all kinds of situations. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Social Work Skills

Social Work Skills
  • Introduction
  • Chapters 1 and 2

General Social Work Skills
  • As a social worker,
  • You will serve people in all walks of life and in
    all kinds of situations.
  • The range of settings in which you might serve is
    wide and varied.
  • The contexts for practice are often complex,
    demanding and challenging.
  • Competence requires adequate knowledge, ethics,
    accountability, and proficiency

Social Work Skill...
  • ... fundamental to social work practice.

Are you in the right place?
  • 47-304-01
  • Tues-Thurs
  • Room
  • Fall 2007

If so...Welcome!
About Me
Maritime School of Social Work
  • Hail from East Coast of Canada
  • Born and raised in a coal mining town
  • Went to university to study philosophy
  • Led to Social Work
  • Led to Education
  • Ended in academia
  • Been here for 30 years

About Each Other?
  • Class Exercise
  • Break into groups of 2
  • Introduce one another
  • Tell person one true statement about yourself and
    one false statement
  • Have the person try and decipher which is the
    false and which is the true statement

About Us
  • Opportunity to learn
  • Opportunity to share
  • Opportunity to grow
  • Opportunity to become hands-on, competent and
    confident social workers

Point of This Course
  • Come to know, understand and practice the steps
    important to social work practice.
  • To use case examples and situations that clearly
    illustrate the essential skills of social work
  • To work our way through summaries and
    skill-building exercises, and get involved in
    actual hands-on practice.

Teaching Methodology
  • Lectures accompanied by PowerPoint outlines,
    class and small group discussions, and
    experiential activities.
  • My responsibility
  • Provide content, and to provide the structure and
    opportunities to learn.
  • Your responsibility
  • To learn to be actively engaged in class, to be
    curious about new ideas, to be willing to try new
    skills, to ask questions when needed, and to
    complete all assignments (including assigned

Course Work and Grading
  • Refer to Course Outline
  • Assignments
  • Tests
  • Multiple Choice
  • Attendance
  • Participation

This Class RULES!
  • Respect for Self
  • Do your best
  • Positively participate in all classroom
  • Respect for Others
  • Stay on task without disturbing or distracting
  • Avoid put downs or harass others
  • Respect other peoples differences and opinions
  • Respect for School
  • Raise hand to speak
  • Enter and exit the room quietly
  • Complete all assignments on time
  • Actively listen when others are speaking

Course Text The Social Work Skills
Workbook Barry. R. Cournoyer
Available in BOOKSTORE
  • Up to here for Thus. Sept. 6th

Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Professionalism
  3. Ethical Decision Making
  4. Talking and Listening
  5. Preparing
  6. Beginning
  • Exploring
  • Assessing
  • Contracting
  • Working and Evaluating
  • Ending
  • Appendices

Student Resources
  • Text Resources
  • http//
  • Student Support Resources
  • http//
  • Student Development and Support
  • http//
  • Student Counselling Center
  • http//

Chapter 1
  • Introduction

Chapter Purpose
  • The Purpose of this chapter will be to
  • Discuss breadth and complexity of social work
  • Define and discuss the concept of social work
  • Discuss the significance of social work skills
  • Identify the phases or processes of social work
  • Discuss common factors and essential facilitative
    qualities for professional relationships
  • Discuss the purposes and functions of The Social
    Work Skills Learning Portfolio
  • Discuss the qualities and characteristics needed
    by ethical, effective social workers

Social Workersmany the splendid role
And the many splendid tasks
Do you Know Where Youre Going to?
  • What kind of social work would you like to
    practice in the future?

  • At some point in your career as a social worker,
    you might
  • Serve in a child protection capacity, responding
    to indications that a child may be at risk of
    abuse or neglect.
  • Help families improve their child-caring
    capabilities or serve in the emergency room of a
    hospital, intervening with persons and families
    in crises.
  • Lead therapy groups for children who have been
    sexually victimized or provide education and
    counselling to abusive adults.

You might also
  • Aid couples whose relationships are faltering
  • Help single parents who seek guidance and support
    in rearing their children.
  • Serve persons who abuse alcohol and drugs
  • Help family members who have been affected by the
    substance abuse of a parent, child, spouse, or
  • Work in a residential setting for youthful
    offenders, a prison for adults, or a psychiatric

You Could Even
  • Help people who are in some way physically or
    mentally challenged.
  • Serve in a school system or perhaps as a
    consultant to a police department.
  • Function in a crisis intervention capacity for a
    suicide prevention service.

The Social workers role - a tiered approach
Social Workers can also work in a variety of
  • Health and Community Services
  • Health Care
  • Communities
  • Long-term care
  • Justice
  • Research
  • Self-employment
  • (Hick, 2002, p. 61)

Real Life Scenario
  1. Listen to the following audio recording of a
    client-therapy session
  2. Write down what the issue is
  3. Note what techniques the therapist uses

  • The scenario demonstrates the strategic use of
    the Music Impact Inventory Scale (MIIS) with a 48
    year old grandmother who lost her grandson
    accidentally last summer. Gordon was 5 years old
    and drowned in the family swimming pool. This is
    the six grief session that I have had with this

  • You may ask yourself,
  • "Can I possibly learn what I need to so that I
    can serve competently as a social worker in all
    those places, serving such different people, and
    helping them to address such complex issues?"
  • The answer to that question is certainly No!
  • You can acquire expertise in those skills that
    are common to social work practice

Regardless of situation or setting
  • Social workers are trained to function
  • Within established codes of ethics and
  • Within a holistic theoretical and practice
  • By taking into account and working within the
    person-and-situation (PAS) or person-in-environmen
    t (PIE) or person-issue-situation (PIS) paradigm
  • By employing social work skills

Social Work Code of Ethics
  • Social workers pledge adherence as follows
  • The social work profession promotes social
    change, problem solving in human relationships
    and the empowerment and liberation of people to
    enhance well being.
  • Utilising theories of human behaviour and social
    systems, social work intervenes at the points
    where people interact with their environments.

Person-in-environment (PIE)
  • Social Work seeks to recognize both the client
    (person), their environment, and the interaction
    between them.
  • Florence Hollis (1964) PIE or "person-in-the
  • Stresses person's physical, social, and
    psychological realities that both define and
    limit that person.
  • Social Workers seek to examine both the personal,
    and the social aspects of all 'Problems'
    social/personal problems
  • Most intervention happens at the individual
    level, with system approaches to problem solving
    seek mainly to improve individual functioning.

For Example PIE for Child
  • It is for these reasons that this 304 course is
    invaluable, not only in your professional
    relationships but they will help you in your own
    communication skills in general
  • in truly understanding others, affirming their
    uniqueness and celebrating their individuality

Im a full human being. I want you to be able
to relate to me as one human being to another.
Social Work Skill
  • "the practice component that brings
  • knowledge and values together and
  • converts them to action as a response to
  • concern and need (Johnson, 1995, p. 55),
  • "a complex organization of behaviour
  • directed toward a particular goal or activity"
  • (Johnson, 1995, p. 431)

(No Transcript)
  • And a "social worker's capacity to use a
  • method in order to further a process
  • directed toward the accomplishment of a
  • social work purpose as that purpose finds
  • expression in a specific program or service"
  • (Smalley, 1967, p. 17).
  • Skill is "the production of specific
  • behaviours under the precise conditions
  • designated for their use"
  • (Middleman Goldberg, 1990, p. 12).

Social Work Skill
  • Circumscribed set of discrete cognitive and
    behavioural actions that
  • Derive from social work knowledge and from social
    work values, ethics, and obligations,
  • Are consistent with the essential facilitative
  • Reflect the characteristics of professionalism,
  • Comport with a social work purpose within the
    context of a phase or process of practice.

A "social worker's skills include being
proficient in communication, assessing problems
and client workability, matching needs with
resources, developing resources, and changing
social structures" (Barker, 1995).
Twelve skills outlined by the National
Association of Social Workers skills (NASW, 1981)
  1. Listen to others with understanding and purpose
  2. Elicit information and assemble relevant facts to
    prepare a social history, assessment, and report
  3. Create and maintain professional helping
  4. Observe and interpret verbal and nonverbal
    behavior and use knowledge of personality theory
    and diagnostic methods
  5. Engage clients (including individuals, families,
    groups, and communities) in efforts to resolve
    their own problems and to gain trust
  6. Discuss sensitive emotional subjects supportively
    and without being threatening

Skills Continued
  1. Create innovative solutions to clients needs
  2. Determine the need to terminate the therapeutic
  3. Conduct research, or interpret the findings of
    research and professional literature
  4. Mediate and negotiate between conflicting parties
  5. Provide inter-organizational liaison services
  6. Interpret and communicate social needs to funding
    sources, the public, or legislators

  • The skills are derived from the tasks associated
    with commonly identified phases or processes of
    social work practice, the essential facilitative
    qualities exhibited by most effective
    professional helpers, and the fundamental
    characteristics of professionalism and include

Phases or processes of social work practice
  • Preparing
  • Beginning
  • Exploring
  • Assessing
  • Contracting
  • Working and evaluating
  • Ending

  • T herapy of Limits

Common Factors Research
  • A review by Asay and Lambert (1999) of six
    decades of therapy outcomes and identified 4
    common therapeutic factors which contribute to
    successful therapeutic outcomes
  • 15 Model and Technique factors
  • 40 Client variables and extratherapeutic
  • 30 Therapeutic relationship factors such as
  • warmth, acceptance, empathic understanding, and
    client-therapist agreement
  • 15 expectancy and placebo effects

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  • Pre-existing characteristics of the client
  • Intelligence
  • Personality traits
  • Temperament
  • Ethnic background
  • Abilities
  • Family size
  • Family support
  • Social network
  • Etc.

Who are the clients?
  • Clients, like social workers, vary is several
    characteristics, but with one notable exception
  • Most clients that seek help have reached a
    point where their coping mechanisms no longer
  • Some clients seek services because someone else
    is distressed (e.g., a parent, employer, spouse,
    or other family member) or because they are
    referred, appointed or mandated to seek social
  • These clients tend to be less motivated than
  • seeking help for themselves.

Which clients tend to fare better in their
treatment outcomes?
  • Clients who do their homework tend to do
    better. That is, clients who complete
    assignments given to them by their therapists
    (e.g., keep a diary of emotions, etc.) show
    better treatment outcomes.
  • Burns Spangler (2000) reported that depressed
    patients who were homework compliant, reported
    decreases in depression.
  • Clients who are cooperative open tend to have
    better treatment outcomes than clients who are
    resistant defensive. (Orlinksy, Grawe, Parks,

  • Factors that influence the quality of the
  • relationship between therapist and the client
  • Perceived empathy
  • Acceptance
  • Warmth
  • Confidence
  • Clients selfexpression
  • Etc.

Relationship Factors The Evidence
  • Krill (1986, p. xi) suggested that the
    relationship between a social worker and a client
    is more likely to be productive when
  • Worker and client like and respect each other.
  • Client is clearly told what to expect and how to
    contribute to the helping process.
  • Worker is warm, genuine, and sincere and
    regularly expresses empathy about the client's
  • Worker and client engage in goal-directed
    activities such as practice, in session tasks,
    or between-session action steps.
  • Worker actively seeks to involve significant
    persons in the client's life in the helping

  • The quality of
  • the therapeutic
  • relationship
  • between social
  • worker and
  • individual or
  • family is critical
  • to achieving
  • successful
  • outcomes.

Characteristics associated with good therapists?
Clients prefer therapists with advanced training.
Advanced Training
Includes communication, relationship-building,
self-monitoring skills.
Good Interpersonal Skills
Should be able to listen to clients effectively
communicate with them.
Good Listening Ability
Genuineness, empathy, Unconditional positive
These promote rapport with the client build
  • The expectation of the client that the therapy
    will lead to positive change

  • Beliefs
  • Techniques
  • Procedures
  • Etc.
  • contributing to the therapists (theoretical)
    frame of reference and practice

  • Social workers have long recognized the
    importance of the relationship
  • McNeill et al (2005) found 3 common elements
    which lead to behavior change or reduction in
    problem behaviors
  • Accurate empathy, respect or warmth and
    therapeutic genuineness
  • Establishing a therapeutic relationship or
    working alliance
  • An approach that is person centered, or
    collaborative and client driven

Facilitative Qualities
  • The characteristics of effective helpers are
    often called the facilitative qualities or the
    core conditions
  • When consistently demonstrated by professionals,
    these aid in developing and maintaining a special
    rapport with their clients.
  • This rapport is sometimes called the helping
    relationship, the working relationship,
    professional rapport, or the therapeutic

The essential facilitative qualities become
critical because when social workers consistently
reflect these qualities, the risk of harming the
person-and-situation tends to decrease and the
probability of helping usually increases.
Effective Helpers
  • Regardless of theoretical orientation and choice
    of intervention approach, effective helpers tend
    to reflect common characteristics such as
  • Empathy
  • Regard
  • Authenticity
  • Professionalism in their service to others.

  • One of the Primary Skills to Master
  • A process of joining in the feelings of another,
    of feeling how and what another person
    experiences, and feeling with another person.
  • It is an understanding and appreciation of the
    thoughts, feelings, behaviours, experiences, and
    circumstances of another human being.

Empathetic Response
  • A verbal technique that acknowledges you have
    heard the clients emotional content.
  • No requirement to feel the emotion.
  • Steps
  • Identify the emotion open-ended questions
  • Identify its cause
  • Respond in a way that shows you understand the
    connection between 1 and 2
  • Why is this important?

Empathic Listening
  • A mother recalled of a time when her young
    daughter invited her to come outside and play.
  • At first, the mother intently watched as her
    daughter repeatedly hit a tether ball, but soon
    began to wonder what her own role was in the
    game. So she asked her daughter.
  • In response, the young girl matter-of-factly
    explained that every time she was successful in
    hitting the ball, the mother should congratulate
    her and say, Good job!
  • This is, essentially, the role of empathic
    listening, that of accompanying another person
    and celebrating together the fact that the other
    can begin to unpack and analyze the challenges
    being faced.
  • In the childs game, success is measured by the
    ability to have the ball and its cord wrap around
    the post.
  • In empathic listening, success is measured by the
    ability to unpack the often pain-soaked narrative
    and let it float to the surface.

Empathetic Response CAUTION
  • Some clients feel quite uneasy when the worker is
    frequently and intensively empathic.
  • They might prefer a formal encounter in which the
    worker provides direct advice and guidance in a
    business-like fashion.

Other Facilitative Factors
  • Integrity
  • Professional knowledge
  • Critical thinking and lifelong learning
  • Ethical decision making
  • Self-understanding and self-control
  • Cultural competence and acceptance of others
  • Social support and self-efficacy

  • The facilitative quality of regard or respect
    suggests an attitude of non-controlling, warm,
    caring, unconditional positive regard
    non-possessive acceptance of other persons.
  • In cross- or inter-cultural contexts, regard also
    includes the genuine acceptance of difference.
  • Respect of this nature goes well beyond basic
    tolerance to include appreciation of the value of
    diversity in human communities.

  • Authenticity refers to the genuineness and
    sincerity of a person's manner of relating.
    Reflecting fundamental honesty, an authentic
    social worker is natural, real, and personable.
  • The presentation is congruent so that verbal,
    non-verbal, and behavioural expressions reflect
  • Words and deeds match.

  • Includes several characteristics
  • integrity,
  • professional knowledge and self-efficacy,
  • ethical decision making,
  • critical thinking and lifelong learning,
  • self-understanding and self-control,
  • cultural competence and acceptance of others
  • social support.