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what conflicts should I expect when being a social worker?

Whenever I read articles, and hear things about conflicts that I should expect when I become a social worker, I never get a clear answer or idea of what really occurs within this specific job.

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Eli’s Answer

I suppose it would depend on what you mean by conflicts. Social workers deal with people, and people aren’t linear by any means , so they’re a variety of things you can run into. It also depends on your field. Some people seek out a private social worker for private matters, in which they’re coming to you for help. You could also be a school social worker and be solving conflicts within the school, generally any issues that arise with families and students whose problems interfere with academic success. Or, you could be like myself, I work for CPS, so being that I am not sought out or typically wanted by families, I face all kinds of barriers. Anything from fleeing families, domestic violence, aggressive or stubborn parents, etc. Ultimately just depends on your sector. Although, I would say do you enjoy the work, the issues you face are far outweighed by the impact you can have on families.

Eli recommends the following next steps:

If you want more well rounded answers, I would suggest meeting with some social workers in different roles and asking them what their job looks like. Social Workers are generally always happy to share what their work is all about.
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Angela’s Answer

Hi Jolee:

My suggestion is not to focus on the types of conflict you'll encounter as a social worker, I don't think social work has more conflict than other human services professions. Generally speaking, the field of social work usually involves working with lots of people from diverse backgrounds, ages, life experiences, etc. Keep in mind that often times, people working with social workers may be dealing with difficult situations - homelessness, health issues, poverty, etc. Having excellent communication skills, enjoy working with people and a commitment to helping others are key skills in the field.

I have both my Bachelors and Masters degrees in Social Work and have worked with youth and families in various settings - schools, non-profits and local government. I've had the pleasure of working with lots of people in lots of different situations, many of them stressful and have worked through those difficult situations and conversations with clients, co-workers, supervisors, etc. Staying calm, professional, clear, consistent and building a good rapport/relationship with clients, co-workers and supervisors are essential.

Good luck and hope this helps,

angela
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Megan’s Answer

As a former social worker I would say ALot! De-escalation will be one of your biggest tools depending on which part of social work you choose.
I would say narrowing that down just depends on which route you pick. Sometimes we see people who are struggling or are at their worst. Prepare to be patient, kind, and gain the ability to really listen. If you can do that you can be a great social worker!
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Norma’s Answer

Social work has so many areas of certification that there is not a specific answer to any one conflict. Each situation will play out differently. I cannot tell you what field in social major in career wise. However, I can tell you that being a social worker can be very rewarding. The job usually involves you helping individuals changing their negative experiences to a positive one.
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