What is Social Work Anyway?

When I decided to go back to school later in life to pursue social work, I soon realized how many misconceptions there are around what social workers do. Many people assumed social workers’ only role was doing child protective work, which is no surprise since that is often how social workers are portrayed in the media. In honor of social work month, let’s explore a little more about what social workers do.

Social work has a significant focus on social justice and lifting marginalized communities. The social work code of ethics includes the values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. Social work is a broad field with a focus on improving lives at a micro, mezzo and macro level. What does all that mean? Micro social work is clinical work – like what you would experience working with a therapist here at Healthy Minds.

Clinical social workers require a significant amount of post graduate training. They are the largest group of mental health providers in the United States. Mezzo social work is typically performed at the community level in places like schools, hospitals, and community centers. At the Mezzo level, social workers are developing programs to impact these various communities – things like needle exchanges or healthy baby programs. Macro social work is working at a large-scale in a more indirect way to impact communities and individuals. Macro social workers look to impact systems through work such as organization development, research, creating social policies, and lobbying at various government levels.

As you can see, social work offers a lot of interesting career opportunities as well as benefits to our broader society. Hopefully this helped you learn a bit more about the important work social workers do – if you see a social worker this month – say thanks!


About Alice McGuin:

Alice is a Supervisee in Social Work with Healthy Minds Therapy. She helps clients of all ages navigate the stressors and transitions that are inevitable in everyday life. She recognizes the most important factor to positive therapy outcomes is the therapeutic relationship. Alice strives to provide a safe, warm and even fun environment where her clients feel heard and understood. Alice knows that anyone who has the desire to change can do so and wants her clients to lead healthy and thriving lives. 

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