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What is a Social Worker?

A Social Worker is a professional who typically has one undergraduate degree then either a Bachelor of Social Work degree (BSW), a Masters of Social Work degree (MSW). They have a regulating body which assures the public that they meet professional standards and are subject to discipline if their code of ethics is breached.

What do Social Workers do?

Social Workers are employed in many diverse fields. These include: prisons, child protection services, mental health, health clinics, income assistance, hospitals, nursing homes and private practice. Depending on their particular setting, a Social Worker may: complete family assessments for divorce proceedings, adoptions or child protection concerns; conduct individual counseling, family counseling or couples’ counseling; help those struggling with criminal or substance issues change their behaviour; help keep those with severe mental illness from repeated hospitalizations or homelessness; help those with low incomes find affordable housing; work in shelters and advocate for those who are trying to deal with various bureaucracies (such as pension providers, legal system, child welfare). If you are unsure of where to get help, coming to talk to a social worker might help you sort this out.

What to expect if you have an appointment with a Social Worker

Social Workers typically view people as being the experts in their own lives, however also recognize that most people, at some point in their lives, may benefit from having someone neutral, confidential and with certain skills or awareness of resources to talk to. You might see a Social Worker once to help sort out some aspect of your life, or you may want to be seen for longer periods of time (perhaps if grieving the loss of a loved one, working on depression or anxiety). You will be treated with respect. Your Social Worker might ask you personal questions as part of your treatment, but you need only share as much as you are comfortable. You can expect your appointment to last about an hour, unless otherwise specified.

Submitted by Marilyn Jones, BFHT Social Worker


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