Essential Skills for Social Work Practice


The profession of social work plays a very important role in society. Its main purpose is to improve the quality of life and the well-being of individuals, families and social groups; participate in a professional and effective way in solving social problems that affect them directly and have a strong impact on the entire society. Social work contributes to the stability of society through the welfare of each of its members. It plays a key role in the equitable distribution of opportunities among the poorest layers of society.

This is a profession, which can only be developed, in such an advanced society like ours, which cares about the health and living conditions of each of its members. Only a developed and democratic society like this has the resources and the will to lend a hand to each of its members.

Social workers are professionals who specialize in helping people solve problems. They manage resources in the most effective and efficient possible way. Their training and personal skills allow them to establish relations of cooperation with all kinds of people at all levels of society, both beneficiaries and to with the political, economic, and cultural institutions that support it. They have the capacity for crisis intervention when necessary, and to work according to a plan when it is possible to anticipate future actions.

Social workers help Individuals, families, and groups restore or enhance their capacity for social functioning. They work to create societal conditions that support communities in need. Social workers help people overcoming some of life's most difficult challenges: poverty, discrimination, abuse, addiction, physical illness, divorce, loss, unemployment, educational problems, disability, and mental illness. They help preventing crises and counseling individuals, families, and communities to cope more effectively with the stresses of everyday life.

The social worker is also a constant source of two-way information, educating and informing their patients and giving to the institution a necessary feedback on the effectiveness and reach of their efforts. They actively participate in the process of collecting, processing and analyzing information through various channels such as surveys, interviews and questionnaires. This way they can continuously improve their work, increasing their results. The correct data allows social organizations to establish new goals and develop strategies, programs and plans to achieve them.

The nature of the work object of the social worker makes their importance more significant. They work with humans who, in one way or another, are vulnerable and sometimes even can be a danger to themselves or to society. So the social worker must have emotional skills that will provide a special sensitivity to treat with respect and understanding for others. They are agents of change, based on the understanding and acceptance of the individual. The interest in people must be genuine, inspired by a strong vocation for helping others.

One of the main tasks of the social worker is to help people developing the ability to look after themselves and ensure effective and permanent support to the ones that definitely cannot reach that capacity. Their duties in this regard are:

• Engagement: The social worker must first engage the client to promote a collaborative relationship.

• Assessment: Information must be gathered. This will allow generating a plan of action to help the client.

• Planning: Negotiate and formulate an action plan.

• Implementation: Promote resource acquisition and enhance role performance.

• Monitor and Evaluation: Follow the achievement of short-term goals and attainment of extent to which client is following through.

• Supportive Counseling: Affirming, challenging, encouraging, informing, and exploring options.

• Graduated Disengagement: Seeking to replace the social worker with a naturally occurring resource, from the individual and his environment.

Social work is a professional nobleman with implicit values ​​of service, social justice, human dignity, integrity, and clinical competence. It's an honor and a privilege for me to be part of this profession.

For me one of the most important problems is to ensure continuity of human values in our society for future generations. I consider prevention essential for this, preventing the development of maladaptive personalities in its earliest stages. Juvenile delinquency, initiation into drugs, child prostitution, teenage pregnancy, and child abuse are several problems that appear in the earliest stages of life. Prevention and treatment of all these problems have many common elements.

It is a priority to work with children and families to prevent the emergence of deviations and delinquent behaviors, encouraging the formation of values in consideration of the negative trends. It is important to work to prevent the initial manifestations, and re-educate the cases where deviations have already begun. All this must be done with respect for individuality and personal rights.

I think that children are the most vulnerable members of society. They have inability to fend for themselves economically. Systems of values and principles are present in children and youths, which have not yet been consolidated. It is at that stage of life where many of the most important life decisions are made without sufficient information for the proper decision-making.

It is also at that stage where society has more possibilities to reform their deviant members. It is easier to educate and support a personality that is still in formation and can be molded. We can avoid more harmful consequences for the individual and society controlling and modifying in time.

The institutions in charge of social work should be closely linked to the school and home. I believe that school in particular is the most conducive to identify problems that often arise in the family environment. Since an institution is much more open and accessible than the house, where privacy and law sometimes become difficult to access early, before the problems take uncontrollable dimensions. In school, children and adolescents are inserted in a medium that allows them to socialize and openly manifest, without the controlling authority of parents. Early diagnosis is very necessary. The detection and timely attendance of a dysfunctional home or a child without adequate family support is a benefit for the child and for society, by providing healthy and honest individuals.

Education is a process that not only communicates knowledge and information; it also creates values, behavior patterns, communicating rules and mechanisms of adaptation to life in society. Through the school we can get home and the individual.

I would work to create educational institutions with greater family involvement. I want to be able to help whole families to overcome difficult situations such as domestic violence, family dysfunction, poverty, etc. I would help save the future of many children by improving their home environment, thereby helping not only a child or young person, but a whole family and thereby the entire community.

Every family dynamic is different, therefore I strongly believe in the need for a comprehensive management. The approach to working with cases in school and with families in the home is very effective. I see the problem as a kind of tree trunk that always has ramifications into many areas of society and also has roots that are introduced into deeper causes.

I think the social work profession has much to contribute in reforming the educational system to make it more effective in the treatment and prevention of social problems involving individuals at early ages. I think education and social work in the twenty-first century must be more closely linked to new technologies. The inclination of the younger generation for a growing online presence and its increasingly close relationship with electronic devices must be harnessed for the benefit of prevention and social work. Technology is a powerful ally if you know how to use it. I believe we can greatly influence society communicating positive values ​​and patterns of social behavior through the media most used by children and youth.

I would also work to promote growth opportunities for study and people who need rehabilitation after filing criminal conduct and received the punishment of society. The study and vocational training creates many possibilities for the person who is being rehabilitated at an early age. The number of options that the rehabilitated person has before him will be increased by the new opportunities, provided by the vocational training. The higher chances they have to study, the greater opportunities to recover from their negative past and to build a prosperous future for themselves and their families.

I grew up in a family environment that encouraged personal growth and ensured mutual support of relatives and respect for the interests of each. I received family support, and I learned to appreciate the importance of family and support among human beings in society.

From an early age I discovered within me a sense of solidarity with people in difficulty, and an inner desire to bring about change and provide solutions to these difficulties. I felt a constant need to understand people, understand the basis of their feelings, to discover the reasons for their behavior. I imagined the minds of people as a totally unknown inner world, full of planets and galaxies. I admired how each individual has different answers to the same problem, and how different results were achieved under the same conditions and in the same environment. I realized they were people with their psychology, their values and their individual characteristics that made the difference. I noted that the interests and needs were different at different ages and vary between people of different sexes.

Besides this, I always felt admiration for independent people who can guide their lives and make their own decisions. Later on, I realized that the ability to excel and achieve goals can develop if the person is willing to, and if he receives the necessary help and support.

I understood that there was a great diversity of people and they all had different backgrounds, different needs and capabilities. The development possibilities vary from one person to another. I learned to understand diversity even before studying a profession specialized in understanding and helping people.

When the time to pursue higher education came, I had no doubt that my vocation was in the field of social work and counseling. I had an endless curiosity to understand people and their behavior.

Studies in the School of Psychology at the University of Havana changed me as a person, helped shape my vision of the world, got the best of me as a person and illuminated my vocation to work with people. Training in the career helped me develop basic skills such as emotional self-awareness, the ability to identify others’ people’s emotions and the ability to motivate. In particular I discovered the importance of empathy, the ability to put oneself in the other's shoes, understand how others feel, what they think, understand and accept their behavior.

My degree in Psychology significantly contributed in my formation as human being. I believe that solidarity, faith in human betterment and resilience of human beings in any difficult situation are part of a philosophy of life. It was strengthened within me in the student stage. University also gave me the necessary tools to understand and help people in difficulties.

Later, clinical practice and several years of community work gave me a thorough workout. I trained in handling all situations in working with people in difficulty of physical, mental health or difficult economic situation. I was able to help people of all ages and backgrounds. I learned the importance of prevention. Cases of great gravity can be avoided with more effective preventive work; in every way is much better to prevent than cure. I could feel the professional fulfillment through the satisfaction of seeing my patients achieve changes and overcome trauma.

I can conclude that what has motivated me more to social work is a vocation to help people, which have been reinforced over several years of work in the field of mental health and community work.

The practice of social work requires knowledge of human development and behavior, of social, economic and cultural Institutions, and of the interaction of all these factors. Social workers help people of all backgrounds address their own psychosocial needs through services and advocacy.

I feel the task of engaging clients in the programs and ensure their cooperation as a challenge that I can do. I like to collect information relevant to my work and respect the confidentiality and privacy of individuals. I am discreet; I realize that what I know of them should be used only for the purpose of helping them. I know I have organizational and planning skills and would like to apply these to create a plan of action in each case. I can negotiate and implement that plan. I like to follow up on what I start and not desist until the target.

I like to immerse myself in the midst of the people I care for. I want to find information in their own sources. I think that the processes of change in individuals and groups are complex and progress requires effort and personal sacrifice. Sometimes not enough to engage in a change, you must be committed to the same if you want to generate leadership. To understand the dynamics that happen within families and communities must be very close in order to have accurate and current state of the process. I definitely like to work with people.

I always like to evaluate what I do to determine how I can improve it. I like to explore new options. I enjoy when I see that the results of my work are sustainable in the long term.

I think my most significant strengths for the study and practice of social work are my behavioral and technical skills. Personalized attention marked by a rich experience working directly with human beings with mental illness or social disorders; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, knowledge of psychiatric terms, treatments and processes, Counseling and Psychological Aid; crises management. In addition, I have leadership for Individuals and groups. I am able to give and receive coaching, Organization and attention to details, time management, punctuality, responsibility and reliability.

I think my Emotional Skills will help considerably in this field. I have the ability to quickly adapt to any environment. Have empathy and motivation; effective communication and results-oriented leadership, group formation and development of collaborative relationships, work under pressure. I am also a very goal oriented person, a fast learner, looking forward to gain knowledge in every field.

One of the weaknesses that would overcome to be satisfied is the lack of technical tools to prosecute; also the lack of knowledge about procedures and rules governing this activity in Florida. Eliminating these deficiencies is my main goal to continue studying to specialize in this field. I always like to have successful performance levels. I like the challenging environment and the growth potential of this work. The constant touch with a changing reality, in which the solution of one case leads to work with a new case, understand a different situation, help a new person, therefore, start over again and again.

My personal goals must meet two basic requirements that must allow me to grow in my career reaching ever higher levels of performance and having a social impact benefiting the greatest number of people. In that sense reaching a Master of Social Work would give me the opportunity to develop skills and acquire knowledge essential to have a high performance, acquire greater responsibilities within the organization and extend the reach of my efforts. I like working with people and solving problems. Social work is the perfect opportunity to express both vocations.

My personal mission is to develop a successful career in the area of mental health and care for people with special needs, using my professional skills and leadership. Setting programs that develop systematic activities to generate a significant social impact, improving the living conditions of different populations. Spread my efforts in an organization where my accomplishments depend on my performance and my results in meeting the objectives. Contribute to the achievement of the objectives of a challenging organization reaching higher levels of responsibility.

Among my future goals is the development and management of welfare programs. My goal is to be able to start and run my own programs within an organization with the necessary resources and take on the challenges of social work; incorporating the use of the latest technologies to make them more effective and efficient.

I firmly believe that computers and technology in general can help reduce social problems more than they contribute today. They also offer the possibility of reducing costs, increasing efficiency and may extend its benefits to many more people. There are still many untapped possibilities in this field. It is necessary to continue developing new applications and programs for the whole society to exploit these resources.

For example, you can develop a welfare program that allows the return to a normal life of people who have physical limitations but with potential for online work. The program should include training and the progressive incorporation of labor. The complexity of work tasks can be increased while necessary training skills are acquired. In the early stages, you can combine work with study. The salary received for work will be an incentive to continue in the program and reduce the costs of the benefits that the government assigns to the person.

The specific short-term goals in my career include applying to the board of the State of Florida for all certifications required for the performance in the state, having achieved the academic and experience requirements. In the medium term, I would like to manage the need to create institutions and programs that contribute to the prevention of social problems in the community, especially among its younger members. In the long term, I would like to see the results of these programs, through statistical analysis showing the decrease in negative consequences for future generations.

I wish I could see positive changes are sustained over time, thanks to the fruit of my efforts and contribution of the whole society. The greatest satisfaction that I could receive as a professional is certainly improving the quality of life of for people. I like to see my clients have a better life and be happier, participating in the improvement of the whole society. The most important thing for me is to see that my efforts have paid off, see them reflected in the results of my work and my dedication.

I have checked on the website of the College of Social Work Robert Stempel and have found very useful the program of Certificate in Addiction. I am very interested in this course, as part of the master. It would be a perfect complement to my career. It will allow me to specialize me in working with young with problems of addictions. The State of Florida requires that for professionals to practice in the field of addiction, they must be certified or licensed.

This area of concentration is very important because it prepares to work with a highly complex population. The person suffering from addiction needs specialized help and monitoring. This is a problem of great family and social impact, and it takes a holistic approach to their solution. Many valuable to society can be rescued through social work with the population of people addicted, and greater evils can be avoided by preventing.

To perform this work, a deep understanding of the addictive and rehabilitation processes is needed. It is important to know the physiological basis of these processes, their psychological manifestations and the most effective methods to help patients throughout the rehabilitation process. The social worker who interacts with addicted patients must be prepared to handle difficult situations, such as withdrawal, depressive crisis and relapse. You must have a special vocation to help people who may have a deterioration of the will and self-control, so they are often unable to help themselves.

Besides, the social worker who works in the field of addictions must have the necessary knowledge for preventive work, namely to access the most effective communication channels and develop activities with the greatest social impact. It is important to access the target population by the media that has a higher rating. It is important the promotion and dissemination of healthy behavior modes.

Another aspect of this area of concentration that I would learn is its legal implications. There are regulations and standards in the field of addiction that I should be aware of, and possible ethical conflict. Professional ethics certainly manifest in all areas of social work, but in the area of addiction and the use of illegal substances there are many requirements to meet and I want to be well prepared in that subject.

I appreciate the opportunity to apply to study for a master in this prestigious institution. I firmly believe that the more prepared the more useful to society the person can be. I am excited and proud to see how society uses financial and human resources for the welfare of each of its members. I understand that intentions are not enough, that there must be organization and planning for these efforts to produce the best results.

I have had the opportunity to work as a psychologist for several years, performing in several areas of this profession. Many of these duties are included in the profile of the Social Worker. Working with multiple social problems in various communities gave me the opportunity to develop skills to help others and develop the most effective methods for solving social problems. I understood the relationship between the problems of individual, family and community, and I began to appreciate the importance of comprehensive solutions.

That experience and skills qualify me directly with previous experience working population with chronic mental health illnesses. I have extensive experience working with people suffering from severe mental health condition. I have performed crises intervention for patients with chronic diseases, including aggressive behavior, self-mutilation and suicide attempts. I got very familiar with medical terminology and case management while working as a clinical psychologist. I have empathy and rapidly establish good relationships with patients, colleagues and people with all kinds of background. I did coaching, and developed communication and persuasion skills for working groups. I have computer and technology skills to facilitate the achievement of results and information processing. I have the ability to learn fast and self-improvement. I am focused and results oriented.

The Master in Social Work in Barry University opens many doors to my personal and professional growth. Barry University is, in my opinion, the most prestigious educational institution in Florida and one of the most recognized in the country. The professional and human quality of its staff and the high academic level of the courses are the best introduction. It would be a great honor and privilege for me to become one of its students, and I am willing to always do my best.