A social worker is a qualified person whose aim is to enhance overall well-being and help meet communities and people’s basic needs.
These professionals work with different people and focus on those who are vulnerable, oppressed or live in poverty.
Because of the demands of the social work role, it is important to build some confidence.
Not only do you need confidence in your role, you also need confidence in order to fight against oppression and injustice.
How to Build Confidence as a Social Worker
Social work is a rewarding job, but also an emotionally taxing one.
You have to exercise empathy, have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and be a listener and a critical thinker.
So, it’s the type of job that you decide to study for and build a career only if it’s something you like.
There are different types of social workers; here are a few different fields in which social workers operate:
Children, families, and school social workers
They might help children, families, or be part of the staff in schools.
They’re also a source of struggling parents who need help to raise their children.
When they are staff members, they work with students and teachers, addressing bullying, learning disabilities, and other barriers.
Medical and public health social workers
They might help those who are seriously ill or suffer from a chronic illness and can’t find adequate care or access to available resources.
Their role is critical because they support the clients as they navigate the many complex healthcare and public systems that coordinate healthcare.
Mental health and substance abuse social workers
They might help those who suffer from drug addiction or a mental health condition. In this case, one helpful tool is therapy and finding financially accessible rehabilitative for those who struggle with substance abuse.
They might also take part in preventive programs that address the problems before they become too big.
Working in any of these fields requires excellent confidence and self-awareness and expert knowledge of how the system works and what type of services the client can require assistance for.
Housing and financial aids are good examples; a social worker needs to know how these two essential services work in their country.
They also should be aware of two things; nothing is all black or white, and they have an essential role. A situation is not just black or white, right or wrong.
Many factors can change and influence a person or a problem, so a good social worker should be aware and consider those factors and find a solution, whether it is possible.
Their role is also fundamental; they have the power to make decisions that can either improve someone’s life or ruin it completely.
Being judgmental of someone’s situation is not helpful; different people have different coping mechanisms, and judging someone for their choices when they couldn’t do anything else or act any different, is not acceptable behavior from a qualified social worker.
Confidence is key when working in this field and here are a few tips on how to build it:
1. It’s okay not to know everything
If you expect to know everything, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Not even your supervisor knows everything, so why should you? Don’t put too much pressure on yourself; learning is part of the process, sit back, and enjoy.
2. It’s okay to ask questions to your supervisor or coworkers
Asking your supervisor questions shows that you care about your job and are willing to learn new things.
Their job is to prepare you for your new career, and they’ll gladly ask your questions, giving you extra information that they think might be useful.
They were once the ones asking the questions, so they know what’s like to be in your shoes.
3. Know what your role is
We’ve already talked about the different roles, and with different roles come different responsibilities.
Knowing precisely what your role is will make your job easier, so, if you’re not sure about it, maybe it’s time you ask your supervisor what you should be doing.
4. Practice makes it perfect
Like many things in life, the more you practice, the better you become.
Learning to do a specific job takes time and patience; if you like what you’re doing, you’ll enjoy the learning process.
Even when you think you know it all, keep your options open; there is always something new to learn, and having a humble attitude about it will make learning so much faster.
5. Listening is a big part of your work
You might be tempted to say your opinion or to answer a question right away, but remember that listening is a big part of your work, and it will help you understand a situation better.
Answering a question or trying to fix a situation without taking the time to think is not only unprofessional behavior but also dangerous.
Your job is to ensure that people have a better life, and if you rush things, you might make the wrong choices.
So, before you speak, make sure you listened and when you’re sure you did, think about what you’ve heard, and once you thought enough, make a thoughtful decision.
6. Believe in your skills
Doubting your skills, especially when you have to make a big decision, is expected. But always having doubts is not acceptable, and it might indicate that something in your personal life is not going right.
It is important to remember that your job is to help people, and if you have constant doubts, it’s better to take a break and come back once you are in a good mind space.
7. Self-care is important
Taking care of everyone but yourself might be rewarding, but it is also unhealthy.
Putting yourself first doesn’t make you selfish and putting yourself second or third or fourth and so on doesn’t make you a better person.
It would be best if you didn’t judge your self-worth on how badly you treat yourself and how well you treat others.
Refusing to listen to your body and put other people’s needs first might work at first; you might get better at certain things faster, but it will only cause problems in the long-run.
How are you going to take care of others if you’re not taking care of yourself? Is this the example you want to set?
8. You can’t fix everything
Sometimes, there isn’t a solution or a decision you can make to help someone. Accepting failure is part of the job; not everything will work out.
The best thing you can do is admit that you can’t handle that situation and ask someone else for help.
You might not be able to help that child, family, student, but someone else is.
Being a social worker isn’t about being a superhero; your primary goal should be to support vulnerable people.
It is essential to be aware of what you’re doing well and what you need to improve.
Being self-aware will pay off; you’ll get to improve your weak points and strengthen your strong ones.
10. Personal development
The importance of being in a good mental health space is part of personal development.
Sometimes it’s good to check up on yourself, say the following questions out loud “how am I feeling?”, “do I feel overwhelmed?” “do I need a break?”.
Listen to your answers, and if you aren’t feeling well, are overwhelmed, or need a break, don’t be afraid to ask your line manager.
Explain the situation to them; they’ll understand because they go through the same thing and are aware of the importance of mental health, especially as a social worker.
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