Theaim of this essay is to briefly talk about my previous experience with theservice user. My learning from thePreparation for Practice Learning module would be critically analysed, and thedevelopment of the social work role historically would be discussed to thepresent day, while the concluding part of the essay will discuss about thecommunication theories that facilitate good communication skills.My Experience with the service userThecompany I worked for provide services for people who have mixture of thefollowing disabilities. Physical disabilities, mental health issue, raredisorder, intellectual disability and acquired brain injury.
Each of theservice user who attends the resource centres is supported to increasetheir independence and confidence, enabling them to improve their qualityof life. This is done through person-centred planning. The resource centreprovides a range of education, training and employment opportunities accordingto the wishes and abilities of the service user, although the activities variesdepending on their level of disability and age. Theservice user group is divided into three namely,· Thesenior (50+) have a special room for reading, colouring, drawing, knittingindividual project, community programme computers, and different kinds ofthings that makes them happy.
They also have a timetable for differentactivities each day.· Thetransitions group comprises of the young adult between ages of 16-19. Theylearn how to read and write, they do spellings, simple arithmetic and playgames. · Thelast group is the new horizon where some of the service users gathered togetherfor current affairs, art work, literacy skills, soaps and glory and many more.They also play different types of games like Biocha, the rings, cards andbingos.Theresource centre have different activities designed for every single day which Ifound very interesting, but working with the active senior at times can be verychallenging, especially when they do not feel like taking part in any of theactivities , and would rather work on their own ,rather than being dictated towhich I found frustrating at times. The main challenge was gaining the respectand trust of the service user.
At the initial stage, I thought they were beinghostile to me because at times, they just walk away and would not want to talk,each time I tried to converse with them. I never knew that some of the service user had hearing impairment and it tookme time to realise this. It was a mistake on my own part because I was notobservant and did not listen enough during the induction programme to knowwhich of the service has a particular disability. Having said that, not all theservice user behave in such manner. Some of the service did not want to haveanything to do with me as a result of being new in the organisation hence ittook them time to accept me. However,the centre has different activities for every single day. After the usual team briefing, it is veryimportant for me to wait for the other service user (forty- four in number) toarrive the centre before embarking on any programme. I always find thisrelaxing, and had no choice than to use the opportunity to chat with theservice users individually, and also get to know each other more.
Finally, I discovered a strategy in dealingwith the situation. I put on a bright smile and comments on their appearance.For example, I might say, your scarf is beautiful, or I like your jumper, ormake up.
After engaging them through conversation, I quickly ask nicely if theywould like to participate in the programme. At this stage, they found itdifficult to say no. Learning frompreparation for practiseAccording to Egan (2007), he discussed on theimportance of values and attitudes in attending to service users. For example,if I had listen attentively, I would have been able to differentiate from whichof the service user had a particular disability, especially with those who havehearing impairment. I did not pause and ponder on how my “values and attitudeare being expressed in my non-verbal and verbal behaviour”.(Lishman, 2009)Preparation for practise module has been an eyeopener for me, this is because it made me realise that every activities withthe service user, staff or managerrequires good communication skills which is one of the skills and qualitiesrequired to be a social worker. Communication Strategies are one of the essential communication skillsfor success in life and work. This made it possible for me in understanding theimpact that my verbal communication skills have on other people, whileexploring how improving these skills can make it easier for me to get along inthe workplace, and in life.
However, I have now developed the skills to askquestions and skills in listeningactively especially with the service users irrespective of their disabilitiesand definitely to others and learning what their non-verbal messages are sayingbesides knowing how to develop it into a healthy groupclimate.Development of Social work roleAccording to Spicker (2006) in the middle ages, the Christians andcharity organisations provided support for the poor in most of Europe. “Duringthe middle ages”, support was provided to the poor in most of the Europeancountries through Christian charity. The main recognised groups were the Churchand the monasteries. This made it possible for some of the people who were poorto leave their land and live in the cities.According to Curry (1998),the origin of many oftoday’s social services were laid down by the British Government before this , poor law was an attempt to cometo terms with some of the problems arising from widespread of poverty in theearly 17th to late 19th century. The poor law amendment(1834) was never a single institution, it was a group of genuine requirementsto deliver assistance to the people who were in need.
Children were born,clothes, educated and in custody at the expense of the parish. This alsoapplies to those who were mentally sick and infirm, they were also catered forinside and outside workhouse. The basis method of that relief, and themeasurable arrangements by which it was provided, involved a difficult seriesof organisations, which is related openly to the poor law. Even though theworkhouse was a vital piece of this institutional chain which was the onlyspace in which relief was given, the workhouse conditions were deliberatelyharsh as it was designed in such a way that only people who are most desperateaccepted the offer. The people who are destitute were giving the options ofeither entering the workhouse or stay outside, which gave many people theoption to die outside the road rather than go into the workhouse.
(Payne, 2005) Furthermore, the act of relief for the poor wasintroduced in 1601 in United Kingdom, There were two types of relief availableto the poor, the outdoor relief and the indoor relief. The outdoor relief wouldenable the poor to live in their own homes and they would be given money onwhich to live on, or be given relief in kind such as foods, and clothing. Whilethe indoor relief required the poor to be taken into the workhouse where theywould be made to work. (Spicker, 2006)According to Spicker (2006) 1834 Poor lawAmendment act was created by a group of private and local organisations with inadequateincome and procedures, who came from different management and administration.
As a result of this, there were discrepancies in their act and the output wasvery poor because they lacked control. The deserving poor which consists of theold and young children were responsible for each other, therefore, the elderlyparents were expected to live with their children. While the underserving poorrefers to primarily beggars, who it wasfelt, could work if they wanted to.
Moreover, the undesirable were classifiedas those moving from one place to theother, and those out of work. There was an act, passed in 1635 to punish suchundesirable and part of their punishment included forced labour and moderatewhipping (Payne, 2005)Chenoweth and McAuliffe (2012) describedsocial workers as “friendly visitors or the Almoners”, basically there were all female who camefrom middle and upper class family, who also held Christians beliefs. The roleof Social workers was to give assistance to those that were deem fit deservingpoor, who actually qualified to be helped and the undeserving poor who weremeant to be at the workhouse. Inaddition, throughout the 1800’s the concept of charity organisation which cameas a relief to the deserving and underserving poor spread quickly all over thearea. Majority of the charity organisation have the mutual principles as thepoor law. According to Payne (2005) he argued that most of the relief given bythe charity organisation made the poor more dependent on welfare, which coulddiscourage the poor from making themselves viable for employment. During thattime, religion was very powerful in the society, this led to the creation ofsome charity organisation society (CSO) in the year 1840.
Hence social work wascreated in order to prevent other charity organisation who wanted to performsimilar role, thereby creating chaos within the organisation because manypeople took advantage of the situation so as to avoid going into the workhouse.(Langan, 1993) Towards the end of 1860, the rate of poverty increased, and therelief given at the time was believed to have drained the resources of thecommunity, hence, other support were needed as it was discovered that majorityof the poor people seek relief was as a result of their condition of living.(Dulmus and Sowers, 2012).
Gleeson, (2008) discussed further on thecreation of the world first formal social worker training centre, which wasestablished in New York in the year 1898 by Mary Richmond. Although, many othertraining centre was established all over United Kingdom Australia and UnitedState of America, while In America, the professional standard of social workguidelines and rules was founded by the association of social worker in 1921.The guidelines overlook group worker and charity organisation as a result oflacking formal training. (Dulmus and Sowers, 2012).
According to Langan, (1993) social work wasestablished as a charitable organisation on the precincts of statutoryservices. Progressively social work activities became popular in the 20thcentury irrespective of the organisation who carried out professionalactivities. In the year 1970, social work was merged into statutory tools. Thestates won the right to intercedes in the right of individual and also tookover how it should be managed.
Ever since, the state have successfully takencontrol of how the affairs of the charitable organisation should be managed.The report carried out by Beveridge in 1942, according to Le Grand (2008) was viewed as the footing for the modern welfare state inthe United Kingdom. Furthermore, Beveridge report continued on the importance”to eliminate the five giants of want, squalor, idleness, ignorance anddisease: the giants of too little”. (Le Grand, 2008, p843) He also advised onsome measures which the government could implement to challenge the issues,although the report was not totally executed by government and was abandoned bythe conservative party.
After the report, in 1948 National Health Service knownas the NHS came into existence.Socialwork according to Payne (2005) developed from three main sources, namely thecharity organisation, the poor law and the settlement movement. During theregime of Margaret thatcher in 1979 there was a decline in social work,although this was as a result of many causes, for example, failure in childprotection. This portrayed social work as problematic rather than being thesolution to poverty. In the 20th century a move was made concerning developinga reasonable method towards conservatism and liberalism ,however, the welfarestate was not introduced by the liberal government but was viewed as the sourceof a state of social service.
Communication TheoriesBaker (2003) described “communication as the verbal andnon-verbal exchange of information, including all the ways in which knowledgeis transmitted and received.”(Baker 2003: 83 cited in Trevithick 2005, p116)Communication is an essential tool used by Social worker in order to be able tocommunicate effectively to the service user as debated by Wilson et al, (2008)this is because social worker need the knowledge to be subtle in understandingthe situation of the service so as to be able to build relationship with theservice user .Furthermore every relationship begins with introduction especiallywhen it comes to gaining insight into what needs to be done to bring about changes in the service users ,which could be done by conversing about the service user family, culture,values and need that will further enhance the development of rapport betweenthe service user and the social worker.When discussing with a service user, it is very important toapply the principle of active listening by listening without having tointerrupt the service user and following the Egan (2007) SOLER theory (Acronymsused to described the component of communication), the main idea of using thetheory is to be assertive when dealing with service user, especially during theinitial assessment and after. When conducting interview, it very imperativethat the service user knows the purpose of the social workers visit andconversation on the subject discussed should be subtle.
Open ended questionsshould be used so as to allow the service user expatiate further and give outmore information which the social worker might have forgotten to ask theservice user. Moreover, giving necessary information about available resourcesto service user is a form of empowerment but when social worker withholdinformation or failed to provide such is disempowering as discussed in Lishman(2009) when giving information service users need to understand what the roleof the social worker is, information should be giving in a context of trust andshould be in a written format, simple and clear which could be easily referredto. .
This is because the service user might easily forget, if the informationis giving verbally. The information should also be relevant to the specificservice user.(Lishman, 2009 P121)In conclusion, Non-verbaland verbal communication can be used in all aspect of social work practiseeither with the children, or with people who have disabilities or with theelderly. Effective communication can be used to build rapport and givesolutions to problem encountered by service users