Social What?

Image from whatissocialwork.org

Recently, I was contacted by one of my readers who has been contemplating entering  graduate school for Social Work, but was unsure of what direction to pursue because of uncertainty about the options that were available in terms of choosing a career path.

First, thanks for reading my blog, and for taking the time out to contact me.

I think there’s a common misconception out there that Social Work only involves adoptions or removing children from abusive homes . The images I have seen of Social Workers on television and in movies (in mostly negative or antagonistic roles), also suggest that this is the case.

Social Work aims to improve the lives of everyone, with a particularly strong focus on advocating for the most vulnerable and marginalized in society. Children continue to be among the most vulnerable, and working to ensure their protection, safety, and success continues to be a major issue.

In my view however, the reality is that the process of pursuing a degree in Social Work gives those who are passionate about making a positive impact in the lives of others a vast knowledge base about privilege, oppression and social justice, and wide range of skills that they can use to serve humanity in whatever ways they are passionate about whether it be within child protection, or another area of interest.

An MSW is a very adaptable degree, and can enable you to approach whatever work you choose to do through a social justice lens. You can find MSW’s working in law, in student affairs on college campuses, working as community organizers, in politics, in the criminal justice system, in healthcare, and a variety of other areas.

You name it, you can do it with an MSW. You can even teach (which is one of my goals for the future).

One of my driving passions is to work toward improving  intergroup relations and heal tensions between groups while continuing to engage myself in working on my own biases and helping other future social workers to do the same.

Whatever your area of interest might be, specifically if it involves helping people or working for social justice in some way, the process of obtaining an MSW can really help you to develop yourself to be able to take action.

I’m wishing you best on the search.

What issues of social justice might you be interested in?

What images of Social Workers have  you seen?

Social Workers: What are some misconceptions that you’ve come across in your work in the field?

Grace & Peace,

From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW

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I'm a Social Worker, Educator, and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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3 Responses

  1. I think to most of the public social workers are either working for CPS or they are private therapist. There is this misconception that those are the only two areas we can work in and you see social worker buying into this notion.

    An MSW is a very broad degree but you have to think out side the box and do some research on your own. Schools of social work do very little to inform students about their career options.

    • This is so true Rachel. More work needs to be done to highlight options for students who would wish to practice “nontraditional” Social Work! I’m doing my part here at N.A.H. and I know you do your best over at the Political Social Worker as well. We’ll have to talk about this in more detail sometime, as I think we could both use our platform to move towards this goal.

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