There are many facets to social work Essay and many different angles a person can look at what drives the need. In this essay I will critically examine three approaches to social work. These three include the Structural Perspective, the First Nations perspective and the Feminist Perspective. To start off, looking at social work from a Structural Prospective is helping a worker to see from a wide scope lens. In Karen’s story on the tape An Interview with four social workers, we see a boy helped more by broadening the scope and looking at the invisible walls surrounding him.
By identifying these invisible walls we see more of a different perspective and helps us deal with the problem in a different light. Each individual holds different beliefs; assumptions and values of life, and many angles need to be explored to evaluate a case.
When I was young I saw my family as very needy because of the lack of money and trying to feed eleven in all was very frustrating for my father. My family was very proud and going on welfare was the last resort. Back in the 60’s, if a family was on welfare the whole community new about it and we were labeled at school as ‘poor’. Bags of clothes would appear on our doorstep, and nobody would know where they came from.
The attitude of today is much different with regards to helping others. People are more willing to give openly and help each other through hard times.
When I think back now, my family had many private troubles, which are now public issues. Some of these include incest, family violence, child abuse, learning disabilities, grief, poverty, teenage pregnancy, eating disorders, residential school abuse, sexual abuse, and young offenders. The invisible wall I see now that had a lot to do with the private troubles appearing was classism. Friends, teachers, parents, counselors, coworkers, and relatives labeled us in society.
Teachers blamed my lack of concentration on my work at school as “Radical child, maybe we should put her in a special class where she will stand out more.” Being a rebel was the only way I knew how to cope and to me this was not a choice, but a reactive response to my circumstances. If I were a social worker reviewing my case as a child in grade four, I would definitely take the structural perspective approach to understanding the situation. These workers are concerned with changing the oppressive structures, which have brought on the private troubles in the first place.
According to the Social Work Module 1V, “Structural social workers believe that only when the primary structures of oppression are dismantled can social justice occur.” (p 69) These oppressive structures that surrounded my family growing up, preserved my family well and enabled the dysfunction to flourish.
According to my own philosophy, we did not choose this way of life, it chose us. My family was unwilling to work with the ministry because my parents were too proud to admit there was any kind of problem. Back then I think social work was more in the form of a Band-Aid that had a hard time getting past the ‘why is this happening’ stage. Because of this uncommon ground between the social workers and my parents, to critically look at the situation and to develop a personal and political plan of action was out of the question. This definitely contributed to holding back any help that my family needed. This definitely put a damper on the Structural Perspective being able to thrive in my home.
As I grew older and started socializing more with kids my own age, I became aware of how other families lived. My family was not singled out anymore for being different. I learned that other families had personal troubles, sometimes more intense than ours, which was ironically a sigh of relief. During my teen years I had many dealings with native people whether they be friends, acquaintances, or me looking after their children. Back in the 70’s we didn’t refer to them as ‘First Nations People’ mainly because they probably weren’t recognized by society in this .