Social work is a profession that helps individuals, groups, and communities to improve their social and emotional well-being. There are five main methods of social work: social casework, social group work, community organization, social welfare administration, and research.
Social work is an art of living, it describes the activities of helping individuals, groups, and communities to enhance their capacity for bringing social change and creating an evil-free society. it is subject to identifying the grassroots problems and minimizing it. Social work is a professional activity, which requires knowledge, skills, values, and potentialities and their ability is to use their own resources which, interpret into an actions in working areas.
There are enormous definitions related to social work, where views differ from one another to different practitioners, professional tried to work on it in various perspectives.
Indian Conference of Social Work (1957): Social work is a welfare activity
based on humanitarian philosophy, scientific knowledge and technical skills for
helping individuals or groups or communities, to live a rich and full life.
Bohem (1959): Social work seeks to enhance the social functioning of the
individuals, singly and in groups, by activities focused upon their social
relationships that constitute the interaction between man and his environment.
These activities can be the provision of individual and social resources and
prevention of social dysfunction.
Social work As a Profession: According to this perspective social work is a fairly new profession.
Social work as a young professional has experienced growth related to concerns
and hanging times as well as related to the process of developing its
knowledge, value, and skill bases. The
focus is on helping individuals to cope with social functioning. Social work intervention focuses on these transactions in order to influence change. Influence brings about change depending on the social worker’s capacity.
This capacity has a base in the worker’s knowledge, skills, and reputation,
among other factors. This calls for a social worker to identify needs and problems
in social functioning, to apply knowledge professional values, and skills,
including the problem-solving process.
Social work to become unique among helping professions developed
distinct methods of practice. These methods are social casework, social group
work, community organization, social welfare administration, and research.
Social casework is the first social work method pioneered by Mary Richmond.
It is “Scientific Humanism” as it uses a scientific base. Social work is based on certain values which when organized constitute the “Philosophy of Social Work”. Social work is based on faith in the essential worth and dignity of the individual. Man is an object of respect not because he is rich or powerful but became he is a human being. Social work hesitates any kind of discrimination based on caste, color, race, sex, or religion. Social work is against “Social Darwinism” and the principle of “survival of the fittest”. This means that social work does not believe that only the strong will survive in society and the weak will perish. Those who are weak, disabled, and or need care are equally important for social workers. The individual is understood as a whole with the same worth and dignity in spite of differing psychological, social, and economic aspects.
The social worker believes in the capacity of the individual and also recognizes individual differences. The individual’s self-determination is given importance. He should be understood from both domestic and cultural points of view. Social work is a combination of “idealism and realism”. To a social worker, an individual is important but society is equally important. The individual is greatly molded by social circumstances. But, ultimately the individual must bear the responsibility for his or her conduct and behavior. The worker has to solve the problem on account of which the client is disturbed.
Hence, professional social work with selected knowledge and the set of social work values has to be transformed into a professional service. A social worker has to establish a positive relationship with the clients. She should know how to interview and write reports. He or she should be able to diagnose i.e., find out the cause for the problem and finally should work out a treatment plan. An Assessment of the problem, planning for its solution, implementing the plan, and evaluating the outcome are the four major steps involved in social work. The social worker’s keen interest in helping the client, alone will not solve the problem.
The methods of social work will help his/her to understand ways of helping people. Social work methods are:
Primary methods (direct helping method)
1) Social casework
2) Social group work.
3) Community organization.
Secondary methods (Auxiliary methods)
4) Social work research.
5) Social welfare administration.
6) Social Action
These six social work methods are systematic and planned ways of helping people.
Social caseworkdeals with individual problems- individual in the total environment or as a part of it. An individual is involved in the problem as he is unable to deal with it on his own, because of reasons beyond his control. His anxiety sometimes temporarily makes him incapable of solving it. In any case, his social functioning is disturbed. The caseworker gets information regarding the client’s total environment, finds out the causes, prepares a treatment plan and with a professional relationship tries to bring about a change in the perception and attitudes of the client.
Social group work is a social work service in which a professionally qualified person helps individuals through group experience so as to help them move towards improved relationships and social functioning. In group work individuals are important and they are helped to improve their social relationships, with flexible programs, giving importance to the personality development of the individual in group functioning and relationships. The group is the medium and through it and in it, individuals are helped to make necessary changes and adjustments.
Community Organisationis another method of social work. Being made up of groups, a community means organized systems of relationships but in reality, no community is perfectly organized. Community Organisation is a process by which a systematic attempt is made to improve relationships in a community. Identifying the problems, finding out resources for solving community problems, developing social relationships, and necessary programmes to realize the objectives of the community are all involved in community organization. In this way, the community can become self-reliant and develop a co-operative attitude among its members.
Social Welfare Administration is a process through which social work services both private and public, are organized and administered. Developing programmes, mobilizing resources, involving selection and recruitment of personnel, proper organization, coordination, providing skillful and sympathetic leadership, guidance and supervision of the staff, dealing with financing and budgeting of the programmes and evaluation are, some of the functions of a social worker in administration.
Social work research is a systematic investigation for finding out new facts, test old hypotheses, verify existing theories, and discover causal relationships of the problems in which the social worker is interested. In order to scientifically initiate any kind of social work program, a systematic study of the given situation is necessary, through social work research and surveys.
Social action aims at bringing about desirable changes to ensure social progress. Creating awareness about social problems, mobilizing resources, encouraging different ‘sections of people to raise their voice against undesirable practices, and also creating pressure to bring about the legislation are some of the activities of the social workers using the method of social action. It seeks to achieve a proper balance between community needs and solutions mainly through individual and group initiatives and self-help activities