FACULDADE DE PSICOLOGIA E DE CIÊNCIAS DA EDUCAÇÃO -                    UNIVERSIDADE DE COIMBRA                    ESCUELA ...
PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCES AND SKILLS IN SOCIAL WORK:CHALLENGES AND RESPONSIBILITIESProfessor Helena Neves Almeida (Phd)Bibl...
DEVELOPED PROGRAMPROFESSIONAL COMPETENCES AND SKILLS IN SOCIAL WORK:CHALLENGES AND RESPONSIBILITIESProfessor Helena Neves ...
2 - Actual Social Intervention Paradigms. Competences and     skills in dialogue.A - Conceptions of Competence and skillsG...
to carry out a particular activity effectively and consistently over a period oftime.Skills are characterized by the fact ...
Thompson (2000) argues, in the book Understanding social work, that skilldevelopment in social work education tends to inv...
GROUP-WORK 2             Challenges and Professional ResponsibilitiesConsider the 15 sets of skills outlined. For each of ...
ANNEXE 1Davies, Martin (1995). The essential social worker. An introductionto professional practice in the 1990s. 3rd edit...
Knowledge (204-205)“1 – Knowledge of the law:(…) the law not only draws the boundaries but increasingly demands positive b...
Social worker is essential in two ways. First, because we know that, in a complex urban world,there are certain tasks that...
ANEXXE 2Thompson, Neil (2000). Understanding social work. Preparing forpractice. N.York: Palgrave. 77-103.The skills base“...
Supporting people through the process of change        Contributing to the management of risk,….Work in organizations:Soci...
“2 - Self-aware skillsAn important component of what goes on, and an important resource to draw upon, is the socialworker ...
6 - Presentation skills (90)These skills are needed because the social worker acts as a focal point of a multidisciplinary...
Contributing to “practice teaching”        Evaluating practice (for example, inviting feedback from clients) (94)10 - Crea...
There is a need to develop resilience to the factors that can undermine, obstruct or derail thesocial worker’s motivation,...
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Madrid competences and skills in social work

  1. 1. FACULDADE DE PSICOLOGIA E DE CIÊNCIAS DA EDUCAÇÃO - UNIVERSIDADE DE COIMBRA ESCUELA UNIVERSITARIA DE TRABAJO SOCIAL - UNIVERSIDAD COMPLUTENSE (MADRID) II INTERNATIONAL PERMANENT SEMINAR Social Intervention: An European and International perspective Madrid, 17th April 2009PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCES AND SKILLS IN SOCIAL WORK:CHALLENGES AND RESPONSIBILITIESProfessor Helena Neves Almeida (Phd)helena.almeida@fpce.uc.ptProgram 0- Introduction 1- Theoretical background 2- Actual Social Intervention Paradigms. Competences and skills in dialogue. 3- Challenges and Professional ResponsibilitiesMain GoalsTo analyse and debate the new approaches of social workers’ competences andskillsTeaching MethodologyTheoretical audience and debate, in small groups. Data show and group worksupport. Professional competences and skills in social work 1 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  2. 2. PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCES AND SKILLS IN SOCIAL WORK:CHALLENGES AND RESPONSIBILITIESProfessor Helena Neves Almeida (Phd)BibliographyAlmeida, Helena (2001), Conceptions et pratique de la médiation sociale: lesmodèles de médiation dans le quotidien professionnel des assistants sociaux,Coimbra: Fundação Bissaya Barreto/Instituto Superior Bissaya Barreto.Almeida, Helena (2006). Elogio da Prática como Fonte de Teoria. In Estudos eDocumentos, Rev. Centro Português de Investigação em História e TrabalhoSocial, www.cpihts.com. (26 páginas) [19.09.07].Boterf, Guy. (1995). De la Competence, Paris: Les Editions d’Organisation.Davies, Martin (1995). The essential social worker. An introduction toprofessional practice in the 1990s. 3rd edition. England: Arena - AshgatePublishing Limited. Chap. 14 – Skills, knowledge and qualities in the essentialsocial worker, 201-207.Davies, Martin (ed) (2004). The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Work. Uk:Blackwell Publishing.Dominelli, Lena (2004). Social Work. Theory and Practice for a ChangingProfession. Cambridge: Polity Press. Cap.8 – New Directions for Social Work.Interdependence, Reciprocity, Citizenship and Social Justice. 230-248.Howe, David (1996). Surface and depth in social-work practice. In Parton, Nigel(Ed.). Social theory, social change and social work. The state of welfare. Newyork; Routledge, 77-97.Iamamoto, Marilda (1992), Renovação e Conservadorismo no Serviço Social.São Paulo: Cortez.Maluccio, Anthony (1999). Action as a vehicle for promoting competence. InCompton, Beulah R. e Galaway, Burt (Ed.). Social Work Processes. 6th edition,N. York: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company. 354-365.O’Hagan, Kieran (1996), Competence in Social Work: a Practical Guide forProfessionals, London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers ltd., 1-24.Parton, Nigel (1996). Social theory, social change and social work: anintroduction. In Parton, Nigel (Ed.). Social theory, social change and socialwork. The state of welfare. New york; Routledge, 4-18.Thompson, Neil (2000). Understanding social work. Preparing for practice.N.York: Palgrave. Professional competences and skills in social work 2 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  3. 3. DEVELOPED PROGRAMPROFESSIONAL COMPETENCES AND SKILLS IN SOCIAL WORK:CHALLENGES AND RESPONSIBILITIESProfessor Helena Neves Almeida (Phd)helena.almeida@fpce.uc.pt1 – Theoretical background: Social and scientific reasons for thethematic choiceA – Changes in society New problematics New political features Reconstruction of Social Welfare Emphasis on market principles Emergence of “government by contract” Development of more responsive New political and professional approaches Reconstruction of social work and agencies Move away from approaches to social work which are based on therapeutic modelsB – Changes in the social work profileBasic Postulates Social work is always a social construction Social Work is always in construction Social work is based on social sciences’ theories, but combining different kinds of knowledge (theory, practice and values), the daily work gives the opportunity to reformulate them or to build new theories by research. Social Work is not morally or politically neutral exercise Social work includes routine and creative ways of doingTheoretical points of view: Holistic Approach to Social Practice Social Mediation Care ManagementC – Changes in social work education and training2 - Actual Social Intervention Paradigms. Competences and skills in dialogue.A - Conceptions of competence and skillsB – Social work’s competences and skills3 - Challenges and Professional Responsibilities1 - How to develop skills?2 - How can Universities to assure good competences and skills in social work? Professional competences and skills in social work 3 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  4. 4. 2 - Actual Social Intervention Paradigms. Competences and skills in dialogue.A - Conceptions of Competence and skillsGuy le Boterf (1995) defends that the term competence includes differentkinds of knowledge: to know, to do and to be, arguing that many people havetheoretic knowledge or some skills, but are not competent, because they don’tknow to mobilize them adequately and in the right moment. To be competent isto mobilize those resources to resolve a situation.Kieran O’Hagan (1996), as the same position: professional competence is theoutcome of Knowledge, skills and values. In this way, a competent practiceincludes critical analysis and reflection.Parton (1996), analysing social worker as a “Care manager” , refers differentskills, such as: The assessment of need and risk; coordinating packages of care;costing and managing of budgets for services; and monitoring and evaluating ofprogress and outcome. There is a renewed emphasis on inter-agencycoordination and multidisciplinary joint working which has to recognise theincreasingly fragmented nature of services and expertise.According Anthony Maluccio (1999:354), in the book Social Work Processes,edited by Compton, Beulah e Galaway, human or social competence isgenerally defined as the repertoire of skills that enable the person to functioneffectively. However he does a distinction between discrete skills orcompetencies and the broader ecological or transactional concept ofcompetence, “which may be defined as the outcome of the interplay among: a person’s capacities, skills, potentialities, and other characteristics; a person’s motivation – that is, her interest, hopes, beliefs and aspirations; the qualities of the person’s impinging environment – such as social networks, environmental demands and opportunities.From this perspective flows a set of attitudes, principles, skills, and strategiesdesigned to promote effective functioning in human beings by: • promoting their empowerment • focusing on their unique coping and adaptative patterns • mobilizing their actual or potential strengths • using their life experiences in a planful way • emphasizing the role of natural helping networks • using environmental resources as major instruments of help . “Thompson (2000:82) separates competence and skills, saying that“competence” refers to a demonstrable ability to fulfil one or more aspects ofthe role, and is therefore closely linked to the notion of skill. A skill is the ability Professional competences and skills in social work 4 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  5. 5. to carry out a particular activity effectively and consistently over a period oftime.Skills are characterized by the fact that they can be learned. That’s why anumber of things that are generally regarded as qualities or relatively fixed partsof our personality are in fact skills. Examples: Patience Sensitivity Being well-organized ConfidenceB – Social work’s Competences and SkillsMartin Davies (1995) argues in the book The essential social worker, thatsociety could survive without social work, but it would be a society with a verydifferent attitude towards its marginal citizens. For this author, social worker isessential in two ways: 1 - because if social workers did not carry out certain tasksto maintain an acceptable level of humane social management, those who don’tget done and vulnerable people would suffer even more than they do now; 2 -because of the professional standards on the tasks allocated to it, reflectsdemocratic and humanist values.According the same author, social worker mobilizes Skills, Knowledge andQualities (see tab 1 and annexe 1). Tab. 1 - Social worker’s Competences Skills Knowledge Qualities Assessment Law Perseverance Writing Local Resources Confrontation and use of authority Workload Management Human Behaviour and its Creativity Social Context Assertiveness and self- Welfare Rights confidence Ability to work with hostility Skill in working within time- limits Ability to work in stress situationsSinopsis: Davies, Martin (1995). The essential social worker. An introduction to professional practice in the 1990s. 3rdedition. England: Arena - Ashgate Publishing Limited. 201-207. Professional competences and skills in social work 5 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  6. 6. Thompson (2000) argues, in the book Understanding social work, that skilldevelopment in social work education tends to involve two main elements:1 – Building on, consolidating, enhancing and sharpening existing skills2 – Recognizing, understanding and developing new skillsAccording the distinction made by this author can be identified the following 5basic competences and 15 skills (see Tab.2 and annexe 2): Tab. 2 - Social Worker’s Competences and Skills Competences Skills Communicate and engage Communication Promote and enable Self-aware Assess and plan Analysis Intervene and provide services Handling Feelings Work in organizations Self-management Develop professional competence Presentation Co-ordination Sensitivity and Observation Reflection Creativity Think on feet Humility Resilience Partnership Survival SkillsSinopsis: Thompson, Neil (2000). Understanding social work. Preparing for practice. N.York: Palgrave. 77-103As Oded Manor (2004:290) comments, in the Blackwell Encyclopedia of SocialWork, the relationship skills are the observable behaviours to which workersresort while forming, sustaining, and terminating the working alliance withclients and others involved.Exercising these skills is necessary for promoting the process of bonding,among, those involved in a collaborative working, alliance. These skills can belearned, and include: Listening actively Conveying respect Communicating empathy Expressing oneself genuinely Being specific Sharing one’s own feelingsAs we have seen, social work’s competences and skills are in permanentdialogue, and will not be separately analysed from the daily practice of thosewho operates in agencies with administrations, other professionals, teams,social partners, communities and users. In the approach of empowerment,advocacy, social mediation, partnership or other, the communicationcompetences seems to be the crucial one, which adequate using in and withdifferent context and persons allows the human and social development inrespect for the values of citizenship and quality of services provided. Professional competences and skills in social work 6 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  7. 7. GROUP-WORK 2 Challenges and Professional ResponsibilitiesConsider the 15 sets of skills outlined. For each of these, think aboutyour own level of skill development.How confident do you feel about each of these areas?In what ways do you feel you need to develop?In particular case can you “priorize” these by identifying what yousee as the tree most important?Use the spaces to make some notes.[Please note: There are no “right answers” to this exercise. It is simply anopportunity for you to reflect on your skills and begin to consider ways ofdeveloping them]3 - Challenges and Professional Responsibilities1 - How to develop skills?Experience provides the “raw materials” for skill development and capitalizes onthe potential for learning that social work practice offers.To promote skill development, we need: Reflect on practice Be prepared to change Have faith in yourself Learn from others Use supervision and training Don’t get complacentFINAL DEBATE2 - How can Universities to assure good competences and skills insocial work? Professional competences and skills in social work 7 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  8. 8. ANNEXE 1Davies, Martin (1995). The essential social worker. An introductionto professional practice in the 1990s. 3rd edition. England: Arena -Ashgate Publishing Limited. Chap. 14 – Skills, knowledge andqualities in the essential social worker, 201-207.“Society could survive without social work, but it would be a society with a verydifferent attitude towards its marginal citizens. (…) Social workers are essentialbecause of the frailties of human genetics and the ageing body, because theaberrations of the human behaviour, because plans go wrong and people die,because …Social work has emerged as one of the 20th century’s attempts to copewith such problems as best it can “. (202)Skills (203-204)1 – Interpersonal skills.Social worker have to be able to relate (talking, listening, sharing, giving, receiving,understanding, empathising, inspiring trust) not just to clients and their networks, but to allthose with whom they have dealings, especially to close colleagues, including those fromdifferent disciplinary or professional background. Social work requires cooperation andcollaboration, and the social worker must be capable of developing an effective style within herworking team…you can not be a social worker unless you can relate to other people in a fruitfuland personal manner….” Interpersonal skills “allow the social worker to communicate throughcounselling (including the art of listening), through more directive interviewing (advising), ingroups…” (203)“2 - Assessment skills.All social workers have to review the social and psychological aspects of each case, and thenprepare assessments in the light of their enquiries…The quality of their performance may haveincalculable consequences for good or ill, on the subjects of their attention.3 – Writing skills.Most assessment have to be presented in written form. Such skills include gathering relevantinformation, keeping it in note form, then turning it into a convincing and professionallyimpressive document that incorporates an appropriate and persuasive recommendation….4 – Workload Management skills.Social workers have to handle complex pressures from a variety of conflicting directions, andthey must have skills to cope with them in an organised fashion.” (204) Professional competences and skills in social work 8 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  9. 9. Knowledge (204-205)“1 – Knowledge of the law:(…) the law not only draws the boundaries but increasingly demands positive behaviour fromsocial work profession. Competent practice depends on the social worker knowing the details ofrelevant legislation, and constantly updating her knowledge in the light of emergent case lawand new statutory instruments.” (204)“2 - Knowledge of local resources:In case of change of job, it must begin afresh the task of getting to know the neighbourhood, itssocial and demographic structure and the availability of helping agencies. The professionallyefficient social worker will always have a working networking (…)The network will varydepending on the social worker’s own specialist interests but it may well include: specialistworkers within her own agency, the social security system, voluntary agencies in the vicinity,self-help groups, psychiatric services, general medical practitioners, the job centre, the courtsystem, schools, and available accommodation in lodgings and hostels.3 - Knowledge of human behaviour and its social context:A social worker is neither a psychologist nor an applied sociologist. (…) she/he needs anamalgam of experience, personality and accumulated knowledge, including some coverage ofrelevant psychology and sociology. Sociology has made social workers aware of stigmas,discrimination, and gender and race issues; psychology has taught us about family relationships,child development and interpersonal conflict.4 - Knowledge of welfare rights:(…) in an increasing number of instances, the client’s rights may need to be represented againstthe social worker’s own employer, the social services department.(…) it is not unreasonable todemand that all social workers should have a basic sensitivity to welfare rights issues, that theyshould know where to refer clients who need advice and that they should be prepared to act inan advocacy role whenever necessary and appropriate.” (205)Qualities (205-207)“(…) the broader notion of qualities provides a more accurate picture of whatsocial workers themselves say about their professional profile.Moore (1992) has provided a list of skills necessary for high–quality child protection socialworker (…)” (205) “Perseverance Skill in confrontation and the use of authority Ability to create action Assertiveness and being appropriately self-confident Ability to work with hostility Skill in working within time-limits Ability to work in stress situations” (206)“The social worker is jointly accountable both to her(/his) client and to the agency, and, becauseof this duality, social work must inevitably reflect a degree of tension and ambiguity, and beincreasingly ill-at-ease and eventually untenable in any society under absolute rule or a state ofanarchy. (…) Professional competences and skills in social work 9 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  10. 10. Social worker is essential in two ways. First, because we know that, in a complex urban world,there are certain tasks that need to be carried out if we are to maintain an acceptable level ofhumane social management; if social workers did not carry out these tasks, they would not getdone – and vulnerable people would suffer even more than they do now. And second, (…)because of the professional standards on the tasks allocated to it(…that) … reflect democraticand humanist values…” (207) Professional competences and skills in social work 10 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  11. 11. ANEXXE 2Thompson, Neil (2000). Understanding social work. Preparing forpractice. N.York: Palgrave. 77-103.The skills base“CompetencesThe term “competence” refers to a demonstrable ability to fulfil one or moreaspects of the role, and is therefore closely linked to the notion of skill.(77)“Communicate and engage:being able to get your message across clearly and effectively (…) with: Clients, carers and other members of the community People within one’s own organization in order to make best use of the resources, facilities and support available Colleagues of other organizations in order to develop, consolidate and benefit from multidisciplinary networksTo engage implies being able to enter in an effective working relationship based on a degree oftrust and respect. (…) it is possible to communicate very well but still not succeed in engaging.Promote and enable:Promote opportunities for people to use their own strengths and expertise to enable them tomeet their responsibilities, secure rights and achieve change” (78).This passage implies important points: “A focus on strengths (as well as weaknesses) People’s own expertise Meeting responsibilities and securing rights Achieving changeAssess and plan:This mean gathering information to form a picture of the key elements of the situation, thestrengths and weaknesses, the steps that have to be taken to resolve the situation and so on. Thishas to be done in partnership so that the plans developed are shared”.(79)“Intervene and provide services:Assessment is the precursor to intervention. Being able to identify the steps that need to betaken is one thing, being able to take them is another, involving another set of skills: A range of problem-solving activities geared towards empowering people Providing and managing a package of care-related services or other supportive measures Professional competences and skills in social work 11 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  12. 12. Supporting people through the process of change Contributing to the management of risk,….Work in organizations:Social workers do not operate independently of their employing organization. It is necessary todevelop the ability to work within that organization by: Playing a part in the planning, monitoring and control of resources Working as an accountable professional within the context of agency policies and procedures Contributing to wider organizational processes, such as evaluation of the impact and appropriateness of policies and practices within the agency “(80)“Develop professional competence:One expectation of professional practice is that practitioners continue to learn and develop. (…)This involves: Using information sources appropriately Reflecting upon and critically evaluating one’s own practice Being flexible and responsive Contributing to the resolution of professional dilemmas and conflicts, balancing rights, needs and perspectives Making use of learning opportunities through supervision, training, appraisal and so on.” (81)“SkillsA skill is the ability to carry out a particular activity effectively and consistentlyover a period of time. Skills are characterized by the fact that they can belearned. (…) a number of things that are generally regarded as qualities orrelatively fixed parts of our personality are in fact skills. Examples: (82) Patience Sensitivity Being well-organized ConfidenceSocial worker’ SkillsSkill development in social work education tends to involve two main elements:1 – Building on, consolidating, enhancing and sharpening existing skills2 – Recognizing, understanding and developing new skills“Neil Thompson dived up the basis skills into 15 categories: (83)1 - Communication skillsCommunication Forms :Verbal, Telephone, Non-verbal, Writting Professional competences and skills in social work 12 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  13. 13. “2 - Self-aware skillsAn important component of what goes on, and an important resource to draw upon, is the socialworker him- or herself. We are constantly giving people a picture of who we are and what we arelike. It is important that we develop the skill of “keeping in touch” with our feelings.Self-awareness is something that can develop over time, but not automatically do so.” (86)The longer we go without reflecting on (what effect other people and situations are having onus), the more ingrained and fixed our view can become – and thus potentially more out of touchwith reality.3 - “Analytical skillsThe ability to analyse involves breaking a situation or issue down into its component parts sothat the interconnections and patterns can be uncovered. It involves: Identifying the key issues within a particular situation, sorting out the important bits from a mass of information Recognizing patterns across a range of factors, noticing interconnections Understanding the processes that feed into the situation and flow from it (inputs and outputs)These skills are used in a number of ways in the context of actual practice; Planning Assessment Review Evaluation Problem-solving Setting prioritiesAsking 3 questions can encourage analytical skills: What patterns can be detected here? Whatappear to be the most important elements in this situation? What appear to be the importantconnections or inter-relationships?” (87)4 - Handling Feelings“Social work is a professional activity with a significant emotional component (…) because itinvolves dealing with people who are experiencing distress, disadvantage and discriminationand other related difficulties, and it involves processes of change, often painful change, forexample, in coming to terms with a loss or responding to a crisis”.It “involves developing sensitivity and observation skills (87)”5 - Self-management skillsThey underpin all the other skills involved in working with people. Thompson focus on three: Assertiveness: means striking a balance between being aggressive and submissive, enabling both parties to interact constructively and both to achieve their aims. This involves being able to communicate and negotiate. Stress management: Monitoring own levels of pressure, developing coping abilities and being willing to seek out support when needed. Time management: Being clear about how best to use the time and personal resources available. (89) Professional competences and skills in social work 13 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  14. 14. 6 - Presentation skills (90)These skills are needed because the social worker acts as a focal point of a multidisciplinarynetwork. In this point of view he or she needs to be able to present information clearly andeffectively to groups of people. 5 basic elements can be summarized: Be prepared Be clear about the purpose Get the balance right Get the tone right Relax7 - Co-ordination SkillsCo-ordination is part of the process of time management, but there are other aspects: Care management: co-ordinateing a package of care related measures for an individual or family in need of community care services, co-ordinating the envolvement of various people to monitor the process, review its effectiveness and appropriateness and intervene where necessary. Multidisciplinary work: Maintaining good links with a wide range of groups as part of the social work process, from assessment, trough intervention and review, to termination and evaluation. Workload management: Social workers have to be careful that they not overload themselves with work to the point where they are not functioning properly, or where they are experiencing stress. Co-ordination skills include the ability to co-ordinate oneself in terms of setting priorities. (92)8 - Sensitivity and Observation SkillsTwo central aspects of sensitivity can be readily identified: (93)1 – Reading body language: non-verbal communication is a very powerful medium forconveying feelings2 – Empathy: Involves understanding or appreciating the feelings of others, but withoutnecessary experiencing them.Other important issues to consider: Interpersonal dynamics Power relations The “light in the fridge” paradox Crisis points Awareness of difference9 - Reflection SkillsBeing able to learn from our practice is a precursor for the development of other skills.Reflective practice involves avoiding uncritical, routinized practice by remaining open to newideas, new perspectives and new approaches.Strategies: Frequent reviews of practice Using opportunities for formal supervision and appraisal Using informal supervision and support Undertaking in-service training as and when appropriate Professional competences and skills in social work 14 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  15. 15. Contributing to “practice teaching” Evaluating practice (for example, inviting feedback from clients) (94)10 - CreativityDeveloping the skills involved in creativity is an important contribution to good practice. Amajor part of developing creativity is to break free of routines, and to look at situations from adifferent perspective. (95) Creativity can be linked with confidence and security. The moreconfident we are and the more secure we feel about our abilities, the more likely we are to thinkand act creatively. (96)11 - Think on your feetFor many aspects of social work there is ascope for careful and deliberate planning, with noneed to rush about. However, at times, there is a need for a very quick response. Situations canarise where it is necessary to think on our feet, to be able to react quickly but without panicking.The danger of acting rashly in pressurized situations is one we have to be wary of. What stepscan we take to minimize the risk of panicking?Thompson proposes: Anticipate Keep channels of communication open Acknowledge feelings Get an overview of the situation Keep calm Keep a clear focus12 - HumilityIs a quality of freedom from pride or arrogance, the skill of being able to recognize thelimitations of what can be achieved in difficult and constraining circumstances whilst remainingpositive and constructive.In this respect, humility would be characterized by:Not having unrealistic expectations about what can be achievedRecognizing our limitationsAcknowledging the enormity of social work task in seeking to address personal and socialproblemsUnderstanding that new challenges can arise at any momentRecognizing that we regularly run the risk of making errors. (97)13 - ResilienceSocial work is a demanding occupation that can be physically, mentally and emotionallydraining. The ability to be resilient to the pressures, demands, frustrations and disappointmentsof the work include: Having to say “no” when the demand exceed supply Encountering solutions for which there is no apparent solution Applying for funding or resources Making a good progress in a particular situation Team colleagues or others within a multidisciplinary network Professional competences and skills in social work 15 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)
  16. 16. There is a need to develop resilience to the factors that can undermine, obstruct or derail thesocial worker’s motivation, efforts or achievements. This can involve: A commitment to making a success of social work as far as possible A willingness and ability to stand back from the situation and not let it get the social worker down A well developed set of coping skills A support network to be drawn upon as and when required.A sense of humour can be also be a very valuable resource to be able to draw up! (98)14 - Partnership SkillsWorking in partnership has to be recognized as a highly-skilled activity. It requires the ability tocommunicate and engage, to assess and plan, to be sensitive and observant,…The skill of working in partnership needs to be able and will to use power to empower. (…)Working in partnership involves facilitating the collective use of power on the part of theseinvolved to meet needs, resolve difficulties,…Social work involves control as well as care. It isimportant not slip into a medical model of social work, where social worker is seen as the“expert” who “diagnoses” the problem and “prescribes” a “cure”. Such model has the tendencyto disempower people and can prove counter-productive. (99)15 - Survival SkillsThompson dives the survival skills into two groups:1 – Self-care skills: This includes the self-management and time-management skills and theability to recognize the satisfactions social work offers, maintaining the enthusiasm andcommitment for high-quality professional practice.2 – Influencing skills: The ability to influence individuals, groups and organizations, withoutcoercing or exploiting, is a central part of successful social worker’s repertoire, a skill to develop.(100) Professional competences and skills in social work 16 Helena Neves Almeida (Madrid, 17 April 2009)

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