Human services relate to an interdisciplinary specialty field with the objective of addressing people’s demands through an applied or feasible knowledge base. Human services experts typically attempt to advance service users’ autonomy through civic education, engagement, social change, and health promotion at all societal levels (Writer, 2020). However, while executing their day-to-day duties, these professionals often encounter significant challenges (“What qualities make a good social worker,” n.d.). The paper provides a comprehensive summary of the interview with Mr. John Cole, a social worker in a non-governmental organization based in the U.S, and a reflection of the experience.
Summary of the Interview
Several questions were incorporated into the interview to help me gain a vivid picture of the social work profession’s fundamental concepts. These questions were developed before the interview and I also sought the respondent’s consent before recording the interview. I first inquired about the motivations behind Mr. Cole’s decision to pursue a career in social work. According to the respondent, his personal experience as a child within the foster care system played a crucial role in influencing his professional choice. He often had the desire to improve the approaches employed by experts in this field to enhance the betterment of the livelihood and services given to individuals within this populace segment.
When asked about social workers’ fundamental skills and competencies, Mr. Cole gave a comprehensive listing of the basic proficiencies and emphasized their importance in enhancing their profession’s success. Some of the skills pitched by the respondent include empathy, communication, critical thinking, organization, cultural competence, self-care, advocacy, patience, and commitment. I also inquired about the responsibilities accorded to social workers to gain an overview of an expert’s professional setting within the human services field. The fundamental duties outlined by Mr. Cole include interviewing families and individuals to evaluate and review their circumstances, perform and write assessment reports, provide support and relevant information, make referrals, and liaise with other organizations. Other tasks pitched by the interviewee include recommending and making decisions regarding the appropriate action course for clients and engaging in multidisciplinary meetings and teams to resolve critical issues. According to Mr. Cole, these experts are also tasked with maintaining precise records and preparing legal action reports, presenting evidence or proof in court, and taking part in training and supervisory meetings.
During the interview, I also sort to gain an in-depth understanding of the practice model deemed essential during the execution of crucial social work tasks. Mr. Cole responded to this particular question by listing four primary frameworks: task-centered practice (TCP), the narrative approach, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and SFBT (solution-focused brief therapy). According to the interviewee, the TCP approach demands that clients and social work experts develop specific objectives to treat or resolve target issues. The phases included under TCP include elucidating the problem, establishing goals, working on the purposes, and reviewing the plans. As reported by Mr. Cole, the narrative methodology entails helping individuals talk about their issues; its primary benefit is that it helps clients gain the objectivity and depth of their problems.
Mr. Cole further stated that experts who use the SFBT strategy typically assume that people are the experts of their problems and are responsible for their reality, to a particular extent. He highlighted that this approach centers on assisting people in developing their solutions in case of a crisis or conflict. Lastly, the respondent argued that the CBT precept is based on the idea that one’s feelings and thoughts shape their actuality and that by adjusting one’s perspective of the world, one can change how they experience it.
When asked about the essential certifications and licensures for one to practice in the U.S as a social worker, Mr. Cole gave a listing of the primary social work accreditations. According to Mr. Cole, one needs to acquire a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work and obtain the licensures and certifications that complement their academic expertise level. The respondent highlighted the credentials considered necessary for an individual to practice in the U.S (“Credentials & certifications,” n.d.). They include the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) certification and accreditation as licensed social workers (LSWs), licensed independent social workers (LICWs), approved clinical social workers (LCSWs) or licensed independent social workers (LISWs).
To get a social work license, Mr. Cole recommended that one attains the appropriate education level, applies to the state board, and receives an acceptance letter to sit for an ASWB (Association of Social Work Board) examination. Although at minimum, one needs to have an undergraduate degree in the field, Mr. Cole indicated that most licensure eligibility criteria require a person to have an MSW. Furthermore, he emphasized that individuals should obtain their academic certifications from institutions approved by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
During the interview, I also attempted to uncover the significant challenges encountered by social workers during practice. Some of the challenges outlined by Mr. Cole include unpredictable work schedules, working with vulnerable or susceptible individuals, and increased workloads. To handle these drawbacks effectively, the respondent highlighted the importance of practicing emotional resilience through implementing the mindfulness approach and focusing on work-life balance. According to Mr. Cole, the above-mentioned strategy helps him manage crises and resume to a pre-crisis condition.
The interview session represented a vital learning opportunity that fostered my understanding of the social work profession’s crucial aspects. From this activity, I became knowledgeable of the competencies and skills required in the job. Some of the proficiencies as per the interview include empathy, communication, critical thinking, organization, cultural competence, self-care, advocacy, patience, and commitment. I also familiarized myself with the professional social work setting by inquiring about experts’ duties in the specialty. Furthermore, I learned about the practice models used during task execution and their applicability in a professional setting. Lastly, I gained cognizance of the challenges encountered by social workers during practice and the necessary certifications and licensure. In conclusion, the experience and knowledge gained during the interview impacted my comprehension of this career field.
Advise, Challenges, and the Selected Respondent
Mr. Cole highlighted the importance of attaining a master’s degree in social work by arguing that most licensure eligibility criteria have been linked to this academic level. He also emphasized that individuals should enroll and graduate from institutions approved by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). In the face of challenges, the respondent recommended practicing emotional resilience through implementing the mindfulness approach and focusing on work-life balance. One major drawback encountered during this activity was scheduling the appropriate time for the interview; this is because, being a top-tier manager, Mr. Cole travels across different states regularly. I selected this particular respondent for the interview because of his academic and professional qualifications and extensive experience in the progression. The respondent has a Ph.D. in social work and has been working in the field for around twenty years.
Human services focus on the remediation and prevention of issues as well as maintaining a pledge to improving the overall life quality of the service populace through better coordination, accountability, and accessibility. I interviewed Mr. Cole, a social science professional based in the U.S, to gain an in-depth comprehension of a career in social work. This activity was crucial in improving my understanding of the fundamental concepts and challenges of the social work profession.
Credentials & certifications: Covid19 processes (n.d.). NASW. Web.
What qualities make a good social worker? (n.d.). Walden University. Web.
Writer, S. (2020). Social work license requirements. SocialWorkLicensure. Web.