Free «Critical Consciousness in Social Work» Essay Sample

I believe that it’s unlawful to discriminate against anyone because of their past experiences, shortcomings or current weaknesses in their social life just as Ruth’s father Max is doing to her as well as her own daughter Deirdre. I also believe in facing my conflicts and solving them rather than running away from them. In any case two people living under the same roof shouldn’t be expected to agree on all issues (Algert, 2002). In this breath, Ruth should try to understand her father’s alcoholic problem and ensure she helps him settle down rather than take it as a personal issue which makes her vacate the place they both call home. It’s not the alcoholism that makes him erratic but rather, his concern about her well being. He doesn’t agree with her whenever she goes out without informing him of her whereabouts and fears that as much as she is an adult, anything could happen to her. This fear is compounded by the fact that he doesn’t know her friends.

I have come to understand through my personal believes and practices that conflict is as a result of disagreements that are caused by dissenting  opinions over peoples desires,values,ideas,motivations or even perceptions. At first these disagreements may look trivial but it’s important to note that when a disagreement results into strong ways of thinking a severe and deeply entrenched personal obsession is at stake. Such needs could be what Ruth is experiencing. The need to be secure and safe from Max, to feel valued and respected, as well as the need to feel for intimacy and closeness.

My belief is that Fairness of relations, good upbringing and successes in life go hand in hand and it’s prudent that parents play an integral role in ensuring that their children’s upbringing is not destructed by their domestic problems. It’s only unfortunate when this destruction happens as a result of the parent’s death as in the case of Ruth’s dad who dies when she is 16.This was at a challenging age in her life since she was moving into adulthood and thus venerable to being influenced negatively by the beckoning world.

Another personal belief and practice that guides my understanding of People’s life challenges and problems is the resentment I have for disagreements for they not only result into strong emotions but lead to discomfort, hurt feelings and disappointment. If these conflicts are handled without caution they could result to breakups, irreparable rifts and resentments. On the other hand if they are resolved in a healthy way the result is strengthening of relationship bonds, understanding of antagonists and building of trust.

When Ruth’s parents die when she was 16, she capitalizes on this to abscond school and indulge in bad behaviors that make her even avoid living with her own daughter since she thinks she would be sought of a bad influence to her.  Ruth thus decides to live with Max.This is a father who also doubles up as her marital partner.

Ruth depicts a woman who was abused from an earlier age by people who were supposed to take care of her. People she trusted broke her heart and thus she doesn’t care about life. This is evident in her casual approach to life. In addition her language is full of vulgar expressions for instance when the counselor asks her what her opinion was of the counseling sessions she says she feels like she had started getting her ‘shit’ together (Algert, 2002).

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How these values and Beliefs influence my ability to engage in relationship building and assessment of people

These beliefs and values have made me advocate for people to be empowered with skills on conflict resolution. This is to ensure that once empowered, they will be in a position to confidently face disagreements and keep their professional and personal relationships growing and strong. It’s in this respect that I have been influenced to engage in relationship building by telling people to go for classes where they will be taught how to resolve conflicts instead of running away from them.

If society can understand what conflict entails as well as be able to manage and control it, then it’s possible to ensure that little harm is done to people who are close to us. These values and beliefs have influenced me to use the conflict skills I gained while I grew up rather than those I was taught to apply so as to make an ardent effort to change my conflict management approaches. My ability to engage in relationship building and assessment of people has been highly boosted by these believes and values. This is because I have realized that if conflict is not managed well, the relationship between two people may be destroyed (Algert, 2002). On the other hand if it’s solved in a positive and respectful manner it avails an opening for growth.

This in the long run does make stronger the relations between the antagonists. For instance Ruth has had a rough time trying to teach her daughter Deirdre on the best way she can avoid going out for rides with men like Max who may end up taking advantage of her only to refuse to take responsibility. She thus asks her to be responsible through taking on more taxing tasks such as taking the wood in the house. Deirdre thinks this would be too much for her. Oblivious to her, Ruth was doing this and much more when she was 16 yet Debbie is living alone and finds this overbearing. Psychologically, according to this story, people react to conflict in a number of ways; they may want to take on anybody who comes their way the way Max is doing or they may want to run away from it the way Deirdre is doing so as to avoid the encounter.

The influence of cultural assumptions in the work we do

There are various cultural assumptions that have an influence on the work we do. For instance culture dictates that the family is where most people have their roles and characters manufactured to face the outside world. Since the family is responsible for protecting and nurturing individuals, it becomes a basic unit of cultural transmission and socialization (Pitner & Sakamoto, 2005). Unfortunately some families become dysfunctional once the breadwinner like in the case of Deirdre is not in the picture or is under the influence of drugs and thus unable to take up their roles.

As much as the family is presented by cultural believes as a social cell that produces human beings to the rest of the society it’s also a place where lots of internal conflicts occur for instance the one between Ruth and the dad as well as Deirdre and the mother.

Cultural assumptions have influenced the work we do by making us assume that we need to feel supported, understood and nurtured. Yet ways in which we can meet all these desires are not consistent.

Cultural assumptions influence the work we do by making us come out strong and resolute to excel despite our dark past that could be either as a result of poor upbringing or a dysfunctional family perpetuated by alcoholism, polygamy, drug addiction, divorce, physical illness, separation, child abuse, war, spouse abuse, poverty, mental illness, or unemployment.

How does cultural knowledge and understanding play a role in aspects of social work practice?

All workers in the work place are supposed to diligently do their work in accordance with the values, standards and ethics of their profession (Pitner & Sakamoto, 2005). As a result it’s of paramount importance that all workers should recognize by what extend their professional and personal values would accommodate or conflict with the needs of their various clients. For instance, Ruth decides to seek counseling to avert a crisis in her life since she doesn’t want her emotional problems to have a negative influence in her work place. Thanks to a caring friend who advised her to seek counseling since the problem would have cut short her job.

At the age of 16 Ruth was able to not only fetch firewood as one of her social work responsibilities as dictated by culture but she was also able to do all the other household chores. However, when it comes to her daughter, all these things have changed as the society demands that a girl her age should be very serious in completing her homework and revising her notes in order to excel in class. This stark difference in culture makes Ruth feel that something is not right since her daughter is living alone and cant complete her household chores yet at her age she used to multitask.

It’s therefore important that workers do understand their own cultural and personal beliefs and values so as to appreciate the multicultural identifications of the people they work with. They should stop looking at their past problems as setbacks but rather they should appreciate them as setups to their goals and successes in life and in their work. They should thus strive to have a particular understanding of their family systems, history, values and traditions so that they are not affected when they see other people relating with their family members differently (Pitner & Sakamoto, 2005).


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