Social Work as a Developing Profession

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1. Social Work as a Developing Profession

Social Work as a Profession
* What is a profession
* No clear definition of the term profession
* Describing its attributes
* By most criteria and definitions, social work meets the requirements * Greenwood’s trait-attributes (1957)
1. Systematic theory
* Worked hard to develop this attribute
* Continuing – complexity of humanity and other factors * Process of knowledge development (process model)
2. Authority & 3. Community sanction
* Power/control model becomes useful
* Only one of several professions (such as education, nursing) concerned with social functioning * before licencing laws, it was not possible to identify who is the social worker (unqualified persons) * identification strongly tied with Bachelors or Masters degrees * hence authority, community sanction and recognition of an area of expertise * Social Work Regulation Bill (June, 2004) legislation in Malta 4. Ethical Codes & 5. Culture

* Provided through associations of Social Workers
* Social work is a developing profession

Development of Social Work as a Profession
* 5 concepts are important in the development of Social Work knowledge 1. Assessment
2. Person in environment
3. Relationship
4. Process
5. Intervention

Pre – 1920
* The beginning of professional social work was a response to the social milieu of the early 20th century when new immigrants were of concern to the larger society. * First attempts were made to begin to establish social work theory. First major statement made by Mary Richmond in “Social Diagnosis” (1917). * She developed the original framework for the assessment model - but used the term ‘diagnosis’ from the medical model

* It was a period when the social sciences, particularly sociology, were highly influential on social work theory and practice. * In Social Diagnosis, emphasis was on a broad study of those factors which could be important. It was assumed that a cause-effect relationship existed. * The heart of social work was a process of careful, thorough, systematic investigation of the evidence surrounding those in need of service, and then putting that evidence together so that the worker gained an accurate picture of the situation. * Assumptions:

1. Gathering of information leads to understanding of cause of problem;
2. If cause is known, therefore remedy is simple.
* Heritage: emphasis on diagnosis (assessment - v. imp. in contemporary s.w. practice)

1921 - 1930
* changes in understanding of ‘diagnosis’;
* adoption of Freudian psychoanalytic view of the human person; * development of the concept of ‘intervention’, termed ‘treatment’ which was aimed at helping the client to ‘adjust’ and assumed deviance from normal social standards. * 3 fundamental processes important to be used by social workers: 1. use of resources;

2. help the client understand him/her self;
3. help the clients to develop the ability to ‘work out their own social program’ * the focus of attention changed from focusing on the social situation to focusing on the individual * sources of info. were no longer so varied: primary source: the individual; * assessment was better organised

* considerable emphasis was placed on the relationship between client and worker; shift from ‘doing to’ or ‘for’ to ‘working with’ the client; * it was a period when the development of a knowledge base was emphasised and attention was given to education and theory development; * group work method: emphasis more on persons than on conditions; * heritage: the movement from doing to or for, to working with the client.

1931 – 1945
* A time when 2 diagnostic approaches to s.w. practice developed: 1. The Diagnostic Approach: Gordon Hamilton: he clarified the term ‘diagnosis’; * this view led to the development...
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