5 Things Every Community Social Worker Needs to Know

Every Community Social Worker Should Know These 5 Things

  • Financial Skills and Money
  • Domestic Violence Literacy
  • Listening Skills
  • Trauma Informed Care
  • Facts About Human Sexuality

Community social workers get into the profession because they care about other people and they want to help them, and there are five areas in which they can gain knowledge to strengthen their practice. Today’s social needs and family crises may be overwhelming to even the most dedicated social worker. Armed with knowledge in key areas of personal and social functioning, community social workers can be better-prepared to assist. Holistic perspectives in social work combine knowledge and skill in communications and listening, understanding emotions and trauma reactions, and knowledge of financial realities and interpersonal relationships.

Financial Skills and Money

No matter what other problems a client may have, they are certain to be affected by finances. Financial self-sufficiency is a goal of many social work case plans. Financial problems make many other situations worse, from homelessness to family violence, and depression. Social workers cannot change the present culture which measures success in terms of money, but they can assist clients in achieving more success in money management and increasing their income. Fear of financial problems leads to avoidance, which is guaranteed to produce a negative outcome. A key social work skill involves helping clients to face money issues and motivate and support them in solve them.

Domestic Violence

Intimate partner violence has been viewed as a family or personal problem for years, but new research provides insight that social workers can benefit from. Criminal assault may occur at least once in 25 to 50% of marriages, Mark Sandel wrote in The New Social Worker. Social workers may encounter men who are battered by male partners or female partners, but 95% of violence that results in emergency room visits remains perpetrated on females by males. Domestic violence is motivated by one partner’s desire for power and control and is not exclusively anger-based.

Listening and Communication Skills

Many people involved in helping professions believe they are great listeners, but they may often neglect basic listening skills. The adage “listen more often than you speak,” applies to all of your interactions as a social worker. Simple listening may reveal many opportunities to better assist and work with your clients. Clients may also lack communication skills and can be so traumatized they are unable to communicate calmly and rationally. Working to keep control over your statements and actions will help increase your chances of success.

Trauma Informed Care (TIC)

According to Elisa Kawam and Marcos J Martinez in The New Social Worker, Trauma Informed Care (TIC) leads to a shift in the way you will view your clients and how you work with them. Trauma affects mental and physical functioning, social interactions, and coping mechanisms. The first principle of TIC is “do no harm.” Trauma Informed Care means you will screen for trauma first, then assist the client to receive treatment for trauma if it is found before undertaking other parts of a client’s plan.

Facts About Human Sexuality

Gender identity, biological sex, and gender expression are all separate and different concepts, although the terms are often used interchangeably. Jeremy Irvin, LMSW, M.Ed. and Kimberly McKay described the differences in The New Social Worker. Social workers can better serve their clients by understanding that a client’s biological sex, whether male, female, or intersex, is a physical concept. Gender identity is determined by how the client views themselves. Culture tends to reinforce binary concepts in sexuality and gender: either all-male, or all-female, but the truth is more diverse.

Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Masters in Social Work: 2018

New social workers need many different skills and areas of knowledge to work successfully with their clients in today’s increasingly challenging social work environment. Social workers can focus on five important skills, from good communication and listening to understanding diverse human sexuality in order to help.