Top 7 Principle of Social Work

Top 7 Principles of Social Work

The top 7 principles of social work are acceptance, individualization, self-determination, non-judgmental attitude, confidentiality, purposeful expression of feeling, and control of emotional involvement. These principles guide social workers in their work with clients, helping them to provide effective and ethical services.

Read: MCQ on Social Work Principles 

7 Principles of Social Work -Principles are declarations of what to do and what not to do to achieve the best results while conducting social work. They serve as reference points for professionals performing fieldwork. To conduct a profession, principles are elaborations of ideals in the form of understandable words. The principle of belief in an individual's or a group's or a community's self-determination, for example, expresses the value of dignity and worth of a person. The ideas have stood the test of time and are based on experience and research.

A principle is a verbalized statement of an observed uniformity in the context of a particular class of objects... The mechanisms by which we move from one circumstance to another are principles, which are general rules or laws, conceptions, fundamental truths, and universally accepted tenets.

Social work is subject; it determines the interrelationship between theory and practice. Theories always help to improve social functioning. Social Work Profession promotes social change, problem-solving in human relationships, and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilizing theories into the practice of human behavior and social systems, here it intervenes at the points where people interact with their environment. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work. It is a helping profession which is conducted with a variety of methods including both primary and secondary methods.

7 Principles of Social Work 

  1. Principle of Acceptance 
  2. Principle of Individualization
  3. Principle of Communication
  4. Principle of Determination
  5. Principle of Confidentiality 
  6. Principle of Non-Judgmental Attitudes
  7. Principle of Control Emotional Involvement 

1-Acceptance Principle:

In order to achieve optimum results, both the client and the social work practitioner must accept each other. The client must accept the worker because the worker is assisting the client in overcoming his or her problem condition. In social work circumstances, the client may approach the social worker directly, the agency may designate the social worker, or someone may refer the client to the social worker. Unless the client believes that the social worker has the capability to comprehend his/her predicament and is interested in assisting him/her in resolving the problem, the client may refuse to cooperate in the relationship in which the social work intervention is to be planned. Any skepticism about the social worker's competence expressed by the client causes major obstacles in the assisting process.

Similarly, the worker must acknowledge the client as a person with a problem who has come to him or her for assistance. Regardless of the client's looks or history, the worker should accept the client just as he or she is. Acceptance of the client may be hampered by the worker's personal experiences. For example, a worker who was abused as a child by his or her alcoholic father may find it difficult to accept an alcoholic client who has come for help in mending his or her family bonds. In this scenario, the social worker should not be influenced by his or her early experience of being abused by an alcoholic father whom he or she despised and rejected, and should not demonstrate hatred or indifference to the client. Mutual acceptance is the first step in creating a good professional relationship with the goal of resolving the client's social dysfunction.

2-Principle of Individualization:

At the foundation of social work practice is a belief in the uniqueness of the individual and his or her intrinsic value. Each individual's nature is capable of integrating and directing its own forces in a manner distinct from that of any other individual's nature. The social worker regards each client's problem as unique and works with the client to find the most satisfactory way for him or her to deal with his or her personal problem circumstance. This principle reminds the social worker that when interacting with the client, he or she is not dealing with an inanimate object or a lower entity. Because the client was unable to find a solution to his or her problem, he or she should not be regarded as a person devoid of dignity, worth, or value.

This is a common response the client receives from the community. As a result, the client believes he or she is a worthless human being and develops a negative self-image. As a loving and assisting professional, the social worker should feel that the client is an individual with dignity, worth, and respect, and that given the correct environment and encouragement, he or she has the potential to emerge from his or her unwanted position with dignity and respect. Furthermore, the social worker should always keep in mind that each client is unique and distinct from other clients experiencing a similar problem, as each person responds and reacts differently to the same stimuli and enters or exits different problem situations in different ways.

3-Principle of Communication:

Communication between the social worker and the client is critical in social work. Communication can be either verbal (spoken or written) or nonverbal (using gestures, signs, or actions to convey a message). The majority of human relations issues originate as a result of inadequate communication. A message is sent by the sender and received by the receiver in communication. True communication occurs when the meanings of the phrases and other symbols used and acted upon by the sender and receiver are shared and have the same meanings. Communication is fluid if the sender's message is appropriately or correctly understood by the receiver.

However, if the receiver fails to correctly comprehend the message (that the sender wishes to transmit), there is a break or misunderstanding in the communication process, resulting in confusion and problems. Miscommunication occurs when the sender is unable to articulate his or her feelings or what he or she wants to say. Other impediments to the smooth flow of messages include distance, noise, temperament, attitudes, past experiences, mental capacity to grasp, and so on.

The social worker should be able to understand the client's verbal and nonverbal communication. Communication is important in social work relationships since the client's and the worker's histories may differ, as may their mental states. The setting in which the conversation occurs may change from time to time, providing ample opportunity for miscommunication. As a result, the worker should go to great lengths to ensure that communication between him/her and the client is effective. The primary job of a social worker is to establish an environment in which the client feels comfortable expressing his or her feelings. The client's trust and confidence in the worker, as well as the worker's acceptance of the client, contribute to the atmosphere.

4-Principle of Confidentiality:

This principle serves as a solid foundation for the appropriate application of social work intervention. It contributes to the development of a solid worker-client relationship. It is critical in social work to supply information to the worker. This can range from simple factual information to highly confidential information. A person may be unwilling to discuss specific facts about his or her personal life with anyone unless the person with whom the information is given is trustworthy. He/she must be confident that the worker will not use it to cause discomfort, ridicule, or damage to his/her reputation. It is impossible to aid a client in social work unless the client provides all of the information required by the worker. For this to occur, the client must have complete trust in the worker that the information given to the worker would be kept confidential and used exclusively for the purposes specified.

The worker encounters certain difficulties in adhering to this guideline. Should the confidential information be shared with other agency officials involved in the case, as well as colleagues professional social workers who may be able to assist the worker in resolving the client's problem? Second, what should he do with some information regarding the client's criminal activity, which he may be compelled to provide to investigation agency whenever he is asked as a responsible citizen? In the first situation, the social worker may reveal the information in the client's best interests. However, in the latter scenario, it is extremely difficult for the social worker to withhold information because it was given with the guarantee of confidentiality.

5-Principle of Self-determination:

The client's right to self-determination is emphasised by this idea. Every individual has the right to determine what is best for him or her and to choose the methods by which to achieve it. In other words, it emphasises that the social worker should not force decisions or solutions on the client merely because he or she has sought assistance from him or her. Without a doubt, the client has gone to the social worker because he or she has been unable to manage the situation on their own.

The social worker should promote and include the client in making excellent and acceptable judgments by supporting and guiding him or her in developing right insights about his or her social environment. The client is thus assisted not only in realising his or her potential, but also in feeling independent and like a person of worth and dignity. Only through social responsibility, emotional adjustment, and personality development is it possible to develop social responsibility, emotional adjustment, and personality development.

6-Principle of Non-judgmental Attitude: 

The non-judgmental attitude principle assumes that the social worker should enter the professional interaction without prejudice. That is, he or she should not develop any judgments on the client, whether positive or negative, worthy or undeserving. He or she must treat the client as though he or she has come to him or her for assistance, and he or she must be willing to assist the client without being swayed by others' judgments about the client or his or her predicament. This allows the worker to establish a solid professional relationship because both the worker and the customer are free to express their comprehension of each other. It should be stressed, however, that a nonjudgmental attitude does not exclude making professional judgments regarding the problem scenario and the various solutions being evaluated.

7-Principle of Controlled Emotional Involvement:

The notion of regulated emotional engagement protects social workers from becoming too emotionally invested in their clients' problems or becoming too objective. In the first example, the worker may over-identify with the client because they see many parallels between the client's problem situation and other life situations or with the client's personality. This could jeopardize the professional relationship as well as judgments regarding the client's issue. The worker may become to sympathize with the client by overindulging in the client's life, which may infringe on the client's right to self-determination and independence.


In the latter circumstance, the client may get the impression that the worker is uninterested in them and their situation because the person is too objective and distant. This could prevent the customer from disclosing all the secret information. The client's sentiments of worthlessness and helplessness could be reinforced. All of this could lead to the professional partnership ending prematurely. As a result, even while sympathizing with the client, the social worker should keep a reasonable emotional distance. They should convey that they understand the client's situation without seeming pitiful or uncaring.

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