Communication Literature of Social Work and Human Services


In this essay you are required to discuss, analyse and reflect on the importance of the ‘use
of self’ across the social work and human services interview process (i.e. engagement,
assessment, intervention and closure and self-reflection).
You will critically analyse the importance of the use of self across the interview process
using evidence from SWHS communication literature. You will also incorporate reflections
from your role-play experiences that illustrate your growing awareness of the role of ‘use of
self’ within the SWHS communication process





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In the context of social work, the use of self-indicates the conscious use of skills, knowledge and values in making interventions with the clients. The awareness of self-indicates the use of critical skill that helped in awareness of hidden skills or the personality traits that are used for effective practice (Kaushik, 2017). Social work is defined as the provision of relationship that helps the service users in facilitating and handling negotiation in case of conflicts, tensions etc. this statement implies that “use of self” is seen as the core of the social work. In other words we can say that “use of self” in social work is equivalent to the tools that are used by professional like paintbrush by artists, or stethoscope by physicians. This example proved that role of self is very important in social work human communication and reflective practice. In the present essay we have discussed the role of self in social work communication practices by the simulation exercise of an interview that helps in identifying the use of self in the anti-oppressive framework by using the concepts of self-care and critical reflection on social practices. This essay also advocate the strategies that are of use in developing and enhancing the skill sets of the social workers. 
Use of self in the context of SWHS communication literature
The use of self in social work includes the combination of values, skills, and knowledge, in the context of ones, personal self, which includes the traits of personality, in the context of belief system of oneself. It is the use of self that enable social workers to struggle for validity, with the clients they are serving, by honoring the values and ethics that will be of high worth in social work. The social workers are seen as the duty-bound ones which helps the clients in advocating the empowerment principles by using anti-oppressive practices, by placing the needs and desires of the clients at the center of the context (Brueggemann, 2017). But in spite of that practice is the complex one as it intervene with the attributes of clients and practitioners that proved to be a success in terms of communication practices. thus to some extent social work face challenges in identifying the impact of decisions in terms of relationship attributes that how structural and power imbalances influence practices.
According to (Charpentier,2015 ) it is the use of self that enables social workers in focusing for  self-awareness which is seen as the important element in preparing and encountering with the matter related with clients , attitudes , thoughts and beliefs. These all attributes help the social worker in learning about the self-awareness that helps oneself in encountering with the attitudes and strengths of the past life. Social work is seen as the conceptual tool of investigating the client in terms of intervention model that help the client in problem-solving abilities. 
Self-care is also seen as the essential part in terms of social acre practices, as it helps the social workers in receiving information related with the self-care of their clients. The clients are encouraged with the self-care as it encourage them in relaxing and rejuvenating (Easter by-Smith, 2017). Self-care also helps the clients in recognizing when they are feeling stress, and how this stress affect them in their daily routine in terms of social work practices. The use of self-care plan help the social workers in recognizing the problems, and in finding out the best possible action plan that is of need for the client.
On the other hand reflective practice helps in exploration of interaction, experience and reflection. Various researchers have worked for the reflective practices for exploring the boundaries of reflective practices (Fook, 2017). Vital to the improvement of intelligent hypothesis was enthusiasm for the joining of hypothesis and practice, the cyclic example of experience and the cognizant utilization of that learning knowledge. For a considerable length of time, there has been a developing writing and center around experiential learning and the advancement and use of Reflective Practice. Donald Shon’s 1983 book presents ideas, for example, 'reflection on activity' and 'appearance in real life' where experts address the difficulties of their work with a sort of act of impulsiveness learned practically speaking. Reflective Practice has now been generally acknowledged and utilized as formative practices for associations, systems, and people. As Boud et al (2014) states: “Reflection is a vital human movement in which the experiences are used for evaluating the concepts”. 
Critical Reflection allows an individual in developing the abilities by exploring the experiences and actions by developing the abilities in me for developing and exploring my own experiences and actions. Reflection creates opportunities of learning by using effective tools of analyzing the true nature of challenges. Reflection on my experiences of uncertainty will lead to the positive experiences and result in effective learning. For example the concept of doing and thinking is very helpful in knowing that what we have learned and how we will work in the creative way. Critical reflection is simply a habit of creating a structure, routine or the habit which helps in studying the experiences. The reflective analysis helps in noticing the personal experiences in terms of deep examination of the previous events and it will be conducted at different intervals like every week, every day or in certain interval of months.  As a social worker it is of utmost importance to do critical reflective practices on a regular basis as it helps in creating the thought process in terms of planning that will benefit a lot in future, secondly reflective practice helps in creating a sense of clarity and safety in the area of my working. In the words of (Lupton,2014) stated that the constant way of handling issues is seen as the concern for the social worker as it helps in balancing the day to day tasks. Balance is possible by considering some thoughts, care and some policies that helps in supporting work-life balance, and understand the importance in terms of overall success and predictable work practices.
So, in the context of use of self-there are certain illusions or images which suggests that social workers employ certain set of skills that are related with self-awareness, which helps in knowing the skills of self-awareness by learning out the hidden facts, in terms of attitudes and perceptions by retaining strategies that helps in increasing awareness of oneself. 
Critical analysis of importance of use of self-based on strength-based and anti-oppressive framework
Strength-based approaches helps the social worker in identification of self by building and identifying the strengths on the basis of which we can attain our goals. As a social worker this approach helps in improving self-care abilities, by enhancing confidence in oneself and helps the clients in carrying out the daily activities in an independent way. Strength-based practices are gaining stimulus in society as it helps in dealing with self-reliance and indigenous developments, which helps in reflecting the aspects of strength approach in social work practices (Schön,2017). The strength-based approaches focus on individual not on the content, and it do not ignore problems but identify the issues on the different manner. This framework creates an opportunity in creating and recalling "oneself". For a social worker strength-based approach helps in assessing the inner strengths of the client by developing the sense of motivation and change. This approach helps in encouraging hope by focusing on the personal, professional and career prospects. On the other hand the anti-oppressive framework stands and adopts the perspective of social justice (McLeskey, 2017). The anti-oppressive practices helps in offering more stable, responsive and perceptive services according to the needs of individual and clients rather than considering their social status. In the words of (Pässilä, 2015 ) he states that a person-oriented philosophy by following the value system leads to the methodology that focus on process and outcomes by reducing the adverse effects of hierarchy and doing activities together (Baldwin,2016). Social workers need to enforce the abilities and attitudes for conducting the anti-oppressive practices in many ways by obtaining knowledge and understanding of oneself, by addressing major issues in social systems in context of issues related with personal and structural levels by adopting anti-oppressive practices (Miley, 2016). This framework help the social workers in using the concept of self by making them aware about the cultural issues and rights, that are faced by the clients mentally or physically and helps the social worker in building self-awareness and understanding that influences the communication between the workers or individuals. Romineeli(2012,pg56) argued that knowledge of oneself helps the individuals in undertaking anti-oppressive tasks that is of utmost importance for the social worker as it requires the use of different range of skills. 


Critical reflection on “use of self” from the tutorial role play


This section of the essay provide a critical analysis of the interview with the service user in the simulated role play. The simulated interview has been conducted with a 60-year-old “john” who made a contact with old age social worker team for some assistance. John is the only carer for his old aged father Tom wills, who is 90 year old, John find difficulty in caring for Tom , as he spends all day on sofa and even do not go for bed at night . He is behaving like this after the death of his wife, and now John is facing problems with Tom as John wants to send Tom to the old age house. The purpose of this interview is to work in sync with John for satisfying his current problems. As a social worker at the beginning of interview I was very nervous, but I interviewed him in a courteous manner, as these skills are essential in social worker to develop respect and trust in the eyes of client. After some introduction I placed the interview in John's control by asking him open-ended questions, for reducing the oppressive impact. I encouraged him to provide some more information regarding the problem as it helps me in drawing more information, so that I can help him in better way.
The key strength that I have identified with this interview is that the use of appropriate body language and eye contact with John  shows regards to him, which make him feel ease. The use of statements like “it has been a difficult time for you “shows the feeling of empathy, concern and genuineness”. These three attributes are must require in the person for counselling, which I feel during the interview as John is now openly speaking the concerns with me. 
John wants help in the context of Tom but with the use of open and closed-ended questions, it is found that he also wants help. As a carer I ensure him that most possible solution has been provided to both of them for the resolution of the problems faced by the two different aged individual's .i.e. Tom and John. On reflection I found that I should have been more understandable in understanding the difficulties of John as he easily discussed the problems related to health and finance with me. After going through the whole interview I found that John is undergone severe depression after the death of his wife and mother, and this aspect of John is considered as the risk factor for both Tom and John. 
Strategies to develop skills
In order to develop the desired skill set as a social worker I feel I have to focus on strategies that will be of great use as a social worker. The strategies that helped in developing skills, knowledge and performance as a professional includes supervision practices, self-care and the reflective practices. Reflective counselling practices is considered as the mindful practices , which make  the counselor aware about the strengths and limitations as counseling is done with the intention which led to personal and professional development (Danso,2015). The processes that contribute reflective practice includes development of self-awareness and use of self-care, which will be done by proper self-evaluation and client feedback , which provide an opportunity to the counselor to evaluate the current approach of counselling (Lin,2015). In addition with that supervision blend the strand of knowledge and making it incorporated in the working counselling style which will be done by the use of psychoanalytic supervision and cognitive behavioral supervision (Netting,2016). Self-care strategies are also of great use for the counsellor, which is also called as inner therapy as it helps in maintaining self-management, which led to motivation for stressful situations by building support system that helps in improving personal and work-life balance.




The use of self is vital in social work and human services communication, as without proper understanding of self the social worker is not able to achieve the desired objectives and solutions of the problem (Payne, 2016). The understanding of self-enable the social workers to understand their self which help the worker to know that whether they are in position to handle the situation or not. The use of self-help the workers in recognizing the problems in terms of counseling sessions that influence the worker in coping with problems and interact with the solutions. This essay also discuss the use of concepts like reflective practices and self-care which help the social worker in understanding the problems and provide the possible resolutions for it, by exploring strategies that help in developing and enhancement of skills.




Kaushik, A. (2017). Use of Self in Social Work: Rhetoric or Reality. Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, 14(1).
Brueggemann, M. J., Strohmayer, A., Marshall, M., Birbeck, N., & Thomas, V. (2017). Reflexive practices for the future of design education: an exercise in ethno-empathy. The Design Journal, 20(sup1), S1260-S1269.
Charpentier, J. M., & Viers, J. (2015). Communication Professionals Reflect: Reflexive Practices and a Thirst for Knowledge. Sociologies pratiques, (1), 73-81.
Lupton, D. (2014). Self-tracking modes: Reflexive self-monitoring and data practices.
Pässilä, A. H., Oikarinen, T., & Harmaakorpi, V. (2015). Collective voicing as a reflexive practice. Management Learning, 46(1), 67-86.
Miley, K. K., O'Melia, M. W., & DuBois, B. L. (2016). Generalist social work practice: An empowering approach. Pearson.
Danso, R. (2015). An integrated framework of critical cultural competence and anti-oppressive practice for social justice social work research. Qualitative social work, 14(4), 572-588.
Lin, C. H., & Wiley, A. R. (2017). Enhancing the practice of immigrant child welfare social workers in the United States. International Social Work, 0020872817742697.
Payne, M., & Askeland, G. A. (2016). Globalization and international social work: Postmodern change and challenge. Routledge.
Netting, F. E., Kettner, P. M., McMurtry, S. L., & Thomas, M. L. (2016). Social work macro practice. Pearson.
Baldwin, M. (2016). Social work, critical reflection and the learning organization. Routledge.
McLeskey, J. L., Rosenberg, M. S., & Westling, D. L. (2017). Inclusion: Effective practices for all students. Pearson.
Schön, D. A. (2017). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. Routledge.
Fook, J. (2017). Critical reflection and transformative possibilities. In Social work in a corporate era (pp. 34-48). Routledge.
Easterby-Smith, M., & Cunliffe, A. L. (2017). From reflection to practical reflexivity: Experiential learning as lived experience. In organizing reflection (pp. 44-60). Routledge.

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