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Social work is a professional and academic discipline that pursues to progress the quality of life and wellbeing of an individual, group, or community by intervening through research, policy, community organizing, direct practice, and coaching on behalf of those distressed with poverty or any real or perceived social injustices and violations of their human rights (Cavanagh & Lane, 2012). To make all this happen, social workers have to communicate with the people affected and listen their problems carefully in order to take them out from the painful situation. Social work relies heavily on communication to identify problems and solutions related to social behaviours, including family relations, workplace interactions and substance abuse. Lack of communication can lead to clients shutting down, stepping away from assistance or losing trust in their social worker. Developing strong communication skills helps social workers work more efficiently and effectively with clients, resulting in more positive outcomes with less confrontation and fewer missed opportunities.
Communication is the ability to deliver/convey the thoughts, ideas or message effectively (Pathak & Joshi, 2010). The exchange of thoughts, feelings, messages, or information, as by reading, speech, gestures, visuals, signals, writing, or behaviour is known as Communication.
Despite of the fact, that language is the main element of communication. However the linguistic structure of all the languages are same, although according to cultural differences, they are been expressed differently.
There are several skills for a social work or a psychology profession to communicate with their clients, although this essay will discuss the major communication skills which should be applied by psychological professional or a social worker towards his/her clients. Everybody needs to be heard and understood; active listening is also one of the communication skills which make it possible (Kelan, 2007). Social workers have to focus on his/her client sayings and must answer appropriately. Listening actively will make the client feel more comfortable and in this way he/she can discuss all the issues faced.
Questioning is another technique for healthier communication. It is the way in which the social worker will be able to get as much information as he/she need, to make the right decision for the client and show him/her the right path, which leads him/her towards better future.
Moreover, silence is one of the virtuous types of communication which social workers exercise. Suppose, if the client is too much upset or suffering from something of real anxiety and emotional behaviour, then silence is the skill used by social workers to calm the client down. Once, the client come to normal, then the communication takes place to resolve the issue by providing different suggestion.
Technical jargons or slangs are some of the barriers in communication that the client would not be able to understand. To make the communication effective and realistic, one must not use the slangs or jargons because social workers would not be having any idea, whether the language or technical term they are using is being understood by their clients or is passing over the head of their client.
Approaching open or closed question by the social workers is exercised while interviewing their clients. It is the quicker and easier way found to get quick response from the clients. Statistical interpretation can be assessed easily through close ended questions. Close questions are specific and are cost effective in survey method, although these questions do not offer the clients to express their desires and feelings.
Communication skills every so often focus on picking the suitable words to reflect what they’re projected to convey, especially in social work. However listening remains an important element of effective social work communication. Social workers need to be vigilant about being active listeners while collaborating with clients, who may sometimes struggle to articulate their experiences. Focus attention on what clients, co-workers or controllers are saying by listening without worrying around what your reply will be. Repeat information to make sure you’ve understood, and ask additional questions to clarify information.
When working with clients on a complex problem, non-verbal communication skills are critical for social workers. Sit or stand up straight when conversing to help stay alert. Social workers must lean towards clients when they speak to create familiarity, nodding to affirm that you’re following along. Friendly eye contact should be maintained when culturally appropriate, they should not stare or prevent their eyes in awkwardness if someone begins to weep or cry. Says Pathak & Joshi, 2010 that alteration into people’s breathing helps realize temperament; held breath might specify fear, while shallow, hasty breath might reflect annoyance or a highly emotional state.
It is basically a challenging task to understand the language of the people where one works, because of communication barrier (if any). The basic ttool for social work is communication, although to communicate effectively there need to be some research done. As on average, Social workers have to answer positively when they are asked several questions regarding the work they are doing for the wellbeing society or community.
Social work can be very physically and emotionally demanding work. When coupled with long hours and low pay and benefits, the turnover rate for social work can be quite high, especially among first-year social workers. This can be countered if supervisors use empathetic communication skills to provide support and prevent burnout. Asking your social workers focused questions can help them identify problems and solutions more quickly. Provide constructive feedback to recognize successes and defray negative effects of setbacks. Apologize for mistakes, misunderstandings or instances when you weren’t fully able to address the needs of your staff.
Social workers must consistently undergo self-examinations about beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, feelings, fears and prejudices toward clients or situations to be effective communicators. Unexamined attitudes about drug use, child neglect, cultural biases or language choice may affect how you communicate with clients.
It might be concluded that communication plays an important role in making relationship strong and to help other understand the right meaning to its best. The language social workers and psychology professionals use to communicate in their profession must be easy for the client understand. Psychology professional and social worker must ask questions, remain silent, gestures, communicate empathetically, listen, reflect and build rapport, clarify towards their clients where appropriate. Social workers or psychology professionals must be aware of assumptions held when communicating with clients, supervisors or other social workers related to the case; these may prevent them from seeing the things objectively and helping develop an appropriate solution.
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