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Social Work as a Profession


Social work is a social science that deals in ensuring social justice and preserving the sanctity of life. It is a profession that deals in restoring emotional balance in human beings that becomes impaired during moments of stress. The practice pursues the well-being of society at large. The body that governs the profession is known as the National Association of social workers. Under this body, the job description of social workers is to aid in the materializing of aims and goals.

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This paper seeks to highlight the importance of the crisis theory in analysis of different types of stress and to further elaborate the codes of ethics governing the profession. It further gives the approach to problem solving. It outlines the steps in follow up procedure after treatment.

The Hope wellness centre is a counseling agency that focuses on the well being of major women and adolescents. They agency has a mission to restore social health of individuals so that they can have optimum functionality. The agency deals with issues like anger management, domestic violence, sexual offences, and substance and alcohol abuse.

One of the goals is to provide solutions to problems without sprouting new ones in the process by identifying root causes and capitalizing on them for restoration of well being to the client.

Another is to empower women and adolescents by solving the issues that cause them to deteriorate both mentally and emotionally, hereby creating hope for a better tomorrow.

Some of the values upheld in the organization include: confidentiality between the social worker and the client. No information is disclosed to anyone unless authorized by the legal framework. The company is committed to provide quality service. It has ensured this by having competent staff. Social workers who are knowledgeable in the profession and with credited experience. The company has a follow up policy to ensure full recovery of the clients it treats.

Crisis Theory

A crisis is as defined in the dictionary is a disaster, calamity, predicament, and an environmental occurrence that poses an external threat. Kaplan defines crisis as “a threat to homeostasis” (Kaplan, nod.).

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During this state of mind, it is believed that an imbalance takes place so that a person lacks focus and has difficulty in maintaining order in their way of doing things. They are not their normal selves and seem to have switched off from reality. Usually one has no enthusiasm for life and even the things they used to enjoy most do not even make sense anymore. Usually a person is confronted by a situation they cannot handle by themselves and so it poses a threat to their whole being. A crisis is clinically noted to last a span of four to six weeks.

Stressors are factors that induce stress or active crisis for that matter. They comprise events and conditions. Events are happenings that are abrupt and don’t last for long for example death of a loved one. Conditions on the other hand develop over time. Events cause situational crises while conditions cause maturational crises.

There are stages in the advancement of the six weeks period. First stage: a person experiences overwhelming pressure from stressors. If a person does cope well no crisis develops but if they succumb due to failed coping mechanisms, then a crisis materializes.

In the second phase, the victim’s concern continues to transcend. As time goes by they cannot take it anymore and they begin to seek assistance, they become emotionally distant. This translates to the third stage. The final stage is the active crisis stage. The patient is depleted of any resources that give them hope they develop fear and cannot think straight. They perceive they are going mad. The thought of going crazy scares them to their wits.

Daphne (not real name) is a twelve-year-old girl whose mother is a single parent. Due to the economic pressure the mother was crumbling under, she sent her to stay with the uncle in the city. The uncle was one of those rich influential people. The sad part is that he had a wife but he still molested Daphne. Daphne could not dare say a word because she knew the ramifications of such an action. Therefore, she stayed silent and slowly by slowly her esteem and dignity died in the hands of someone who was supposed to be helping her.

From the above situation, we see both maturational and situational crises inhere life. Maturational: her mother being single, her uncle molesting her. Situational: absence of her father. Both stressors are affecting her and her ability to deal with the situation depends on her experience on tackling complex situations prior to the present one, her perception of the problems at hand and the level of positive or negative support.

“Crisis is not a pathological state; it may occur to anyone at any stage in his or her life span.” (Golan, 1978). Meaning no one is exempted from stress. “Few of us will ever experience psychopathology first hand. Less than 20% of the population will

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Have a clinically severe depression and less than 2% a psychotic episode. But we will all experience active crisis in our lives” he argues.

Social work ethics

Ethics in social work are guidelines and rules that are meant to keep the social workers in check, accountable. To avoid inappropriate behavior and for practitioners to be able to make informed decisions on the various cases they handle. They are, basically, to maintain law and order in the profession. They also help to set standards against which other practitioners can gauge their performance. They help to sustain the credibility of the profession per se.

Some of the codes and interpretations are as follows. Social workers are not supposed to have any relationships whether out of consent or coercion that in one way or the other takes advantage of the client generally, monetarily or sexually.

The client is not to be segregated or discriminated against at any point. This could mess with the healing process of a client or cause them to develop esteem issues they never had before in extreme cases.

Social workers are to make sure them only advice on what they are competent. They are not permitted to administer treatment on trial and error basis if they are not certified to do so no matter regardless of working experience.

It is the duty of a social worker to hold in awe the sovereignty of the client.They are sworn to secrecy to keep client information confidential. In harmony with the aforementioned, they are supposed to respect the opinions and beliefs of other practitioners in the profession.

In the profession some practitioners might get sloppy on their work, it is the duty of colleagues to keep them accountable to the profession.

Change is the only constant in life so social workers need to take refresher courses per time to stay at par with revisions in the discipline is it in the codes of ethics or the practice itself. This boosts efficiency since it saves the much treasured time, both the client’s and the social worker’s.

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When attending to clients, social workers are required to have assistants to avoid overworking themselves and giving wrong diagnoses. They are also free to seek advice where need be.

Finally yet importantly social practitioners are indebted to the law. They must obey all the laws and regulations concerning the proper handling of clients. (Braniff, n.d.)

Approaches to Problem solving

Compton and Galaway refer to the problem solving process as “a series of interactions between the client system and the practitioner, involving integration of feeling, think­ing and doing, guided by a purpose and directed toward achieving an agreed-upon goal”. Before anything else, the problem has to be defined to get bearing on what action to take. People have experiences that inform their decisions in problem solving, but it is important to note that no one person can have all the information they need to solve a problem. In that light, people use heurists. Heurists are devices that contain information that acts as a standard that has been acquired through trial and error.

The process of problem solving is in stages as follows. The first phase is the contact phase: the problem has to be plainly identified. It is defined as perceived by all people involved in the situation and a clear root problem penned down. Next follows stating of goals both short term and those that will stretch into the future. The focus here is the client, how they see themselves progress, their determinations. It is also important to measure feasibility by establishing resources that will be available for implementation. Then comes validation of the process, the contract. Here the agency determines its capacity to handle the case and does further exploration into the nature of the problem. A further examination into the client’s drive, being and potential ability should be done.

The second phase is known as the Contract phase. It is broken down into four sections. The first section majors on reviewing and analysis of the circumstances surrounding the problem. One determines the relationship between the problem and the necessary requirements of the client. They also establish the issues that lubricate the existence of the problem. Questions have to be asked to bring out the strong points that the client possesses and the funds available to help in seeing the procedure through. The social worker can then determine the insights to be drawn from the profession to aid in solving the problem. They will also figure out how the information can be best incorporated into the process and what avenues to employ.

Section two of the phase is bent on deciding the best way forward and how to get there. The social worker is cautioned to avoid setting up the client for disappointment by suggesting or setting ridiculous and unrealistic goals. They are to outsource experiment and analyze different substitutes and their implications on the end result. After doing all the research the social worker can then, drawing from the options determined, decide on the principles of the practice to integrate. He or she can determine what to focus on depending on the magnitude of work that the problem demands. This way they can avoid creating more problems hen solving the root one. It also saves on time in that one is confined to the one procedure that will actually yield results instead of circumnavigating. The social worker should ensure that at this point they clearly define the responsibilities of the client and their own to avoid conflict of interests.

In the third section: prognosis, the social worker should have a projection of what they expect as outcome. They should have an opinion whether they anticipate success and how much.

The third and the final phase is the Action Phase. It has three sections: implementation of the plan, termination and Evaluation. The first section is basically delegation of duties for materialization of the agreed upon solution. Timing is essential in accomplishing this and a social worker has the challenge of determining exactly when to intervene. There has to be a clear plan on the funds and services that will be employed in realizing the plan. To achieve the aforementioned, it is essential that every team member knows exactly what he or she are assigned to do and when he or she are required to do it.

The termination section involves wrapping it up with the client. There is analysis of the outcomes. The client needs to be brought to speed on the occurrences during the process and their translations and relevance to them. In case there was a setback in the process, the client is made aware of it and further given an explanation on the causes of the failure. The social worker should be careful not to dwell on the negative so much so that it overshadows the positive elements of the process. The successes are the main objectives of the process and the client should be encouraged to focus more on these and how to sustain the impacts. At this point interaction between the client and the social worker is coming to an end and they should both be made aware of this so they can deal with it.

The worker, where he or she sits down and determines whether the set goals were achieved effectively, mostly does Evaluation. Though evaluation is progressive throughout the whole process, general evaluation has to be done. The worker reviews to establish whether the process served its purpose. In addition, whether the options that were taken were effective in bringing about the desired change in the client. He or she also investigates to determine what the client got out of the process that they could reuse in the same process or in future. The worker notes down all he or she can gather on how to help the next client with a similar situation.

When the problem solving process comes to an end it is important that the worker gets feedback on the progress of the client. The agency has avenues through which it does this. Primarily the agency maintains contact with the client to ensure full recovery. Occasional calls are made in effect to this. An extended relationship by the social worker helps the client feel cared for and so seeks to maintain the successes of the process. When they do this for as long as twenty-one days, it gets into their system and becomes a habit so they gain full recovery. The worker also goes an extra mile and visits the client at their place of residence only if they are comfortable. This helps in analyzing how well the client is restored to normalcy.

The agency also organizes sessions after the treatment sessions to get a one on one with the client. By so doing, they are able to assess first hand and from clients behavior whether they have reached full recovery or might still be struggling. It could also be an avenue to investigate whether other problems or situations cropped up because of the treatment. If any, that will be a decision that will be made by the client whether to start another episode of treatment or not, the worker will only give their advice where they deem necessary.

As a way of encouraging the recovery, the clients are called back to give talks to other clients undergoing the same cases. This way the clients still in the program get hope and the one giving the talks gains confidence. If a person can talk about what they have been through to a group of strangers then, the agency believes, there is no better gauge for an effective process.

In conclusion, any organization should have a scope that it targets to service. It is known as identifying the target audience. Hope wellness centre focuses on women and adolescents and their issues. It has values like confidentiality, competence and accountability that it upholds to the latter.

It is essential for social workers to understand the crisis theory and how it works for them to be effective in serving clients. They have to know the different types of ­­­­crises: situational and maturational and how to handle both. They have to know the phases of crisis through the 4-6 weeks that one goes through when under stress.

The workers should also understand the problem solving process and be one with it. They should internalize all the phases: Contact, Contract and Action phase. This will help them have a whole list of satisfied clients which goes a long way in creating good publicity for the agency.

Follow up and feedback is necessary and should not be neglected at any cost. They should take it as free advice on how to do it better next time. Clients should be called up to find out how they are fairing and called for sessions for analysis. They could also be visited at their homes to see how well adapted they have become. They can be called back for mentorship to others undergoing the same treatments they did.

The writer however thinks the important in the whole treatment and recovery process should involve the workers focusing all their energies in convincing the clients that the problems can be solved and that the crisis would be no sooner rather than later. Once the client believes in their ability to get well, the task becomes downhill, the client becomes motivated to get better. All that the social worker has to do is lead the way and keep the client disciplined in the process of recovery.


Braniff R., (n.d.). Ethical Decisions making: simplified strategies for complex cases. 2010. Web.

Code of Ethics. (2010.). Web.

Crisis theory & Intervention. (n.d.). 2010. Web.

Rapoport L., (1962). State of crisis: Some theoretical considerations. Web.

Social Work Treatment. (2010.). Web.

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