Communication in Social Work

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“Social work is about people. It is also about words” (Rojek et al, 1998: 1). Without an effective exchange between the social worker and the client, there can be no positive progress,…

Introduction

communication is a reciprocal process among all these factions, some of which are not overly amenable to reciprocal interaction, begins to highlight why effective communication skills must be developed for a social worker to be effective. At the same time, it is important to remember that communication does not refer to just words, but also to a whole body of unspoken language that is depicted in letters, tone of voice over the phone or body language and facial expression in face to face meetings. According to Koprowska (2005: 6), “The quality of the relationship and the quality of communication are deeply connected with each other … Communication is by definition interactive.” To help foster effective communication skills, it is helpful to both practice and analyse practice as a means of determining what was done well and what could be improved upon. Toward this end, a video recording of one social worker’s encounter with a client will be analysed to determine what was effective and what could be improved.
The video analysed is available through Facebook, submitted by Gavin Lacey. It depicts the arrival of a social worker at the home of a young woman with two very young boys. The sound quality is poor, making it difficult at times to discern what is being said, particularly at the beginning when the case is introduced, presumably providing the viewer with the same basic information the social worker has been provided as to this particular family situation. The video spans from the social worker’s arrival at the apartment, through the beginning stages of the initial interview with the young woman. Rather than depicting through to the end of the interview, the video cuts off after approximately three minutes of conversation.
The scenario presented in the video is that of Sylvia Walker, the social worker, visiting with Lorraine, a young woman with two young boys who has been reported as not properly caring for the boys. The opening segment of ...
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