Edition: November 21st, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS
- Excerpts from article by Diana Hope, published on blueandgreentomorrow.com
There is an entire sub-field of the social work profession called ‘green social work’. This profession deals with concerns about the impact of environmental fallout on society. E.g. Global warming has had a hugely adverse effect on our mental health. Green social workers can help address this concern.
These social workers play an essential role in the fight for environmental justice, and helping to prevent and address the consequences of climate change through education, advocacy, community-building and research.
On a given day, these workers may wear any of these hats – therapist, facilitator, organiser, caretaker, advisor, case manager or administrator. Green social workers can also help people deal with the fear of dwindling natural resources, rising energy bills due to global warming, and food scarcity.
The field of green social work allows you to apply concrete methods and pragmatic approaches to deal with unique challenges, particularly those brought on by environmental problems. As a green social worker, you can also help people who have been victims of marginalisation, violence, trauma and oppression.
Here’s what aspiring green social workers need to keep in mind:
1. Perfect your time management skills
- It takes plenty of endeavours, dedication, preparation, hard work, and lots of tears to get acclimatised to a social worker’s life.
- Manage your time and acknowledge that you can only achieve a viable workload in a limited timeframe.
2. Get relevant educational qualifications
- While it’s important to acquire skills, higher education is another crucial aspect to fortify your profile.
- With proper education and experience, it becomes easy to secure leading positions in social work.
- Therefore, consider a master’s degree in social work to set your career on the right path.
- Fortunately, online education allows you to study at your own pace.
- In addition, your degree will enable you to gain in-depth knowledge and apply real-world insights to addressing challenges.
3. Work to improve your critical thinking
- The social work profession is dynamic – one that offers jobs of all types and sizes. It is also a demanding profession with its ups and downs. So, it’s vital to build critical thinking skills.
- As a social worker, you should have the ability to recognise the nature of the problem and identify the solutions which will have a significant positive contribution.
- As with active listening, you can develop this skill through practice and academics.
4. Practise active listening
- A significant part of a social worker’s job involves listening attentively.
- As a social work practitioner, you should listen intently and get immersed in the conversation to let your client know that you understand their situation.
- Effective listening gives birth to trust, respect and shows that you sincerely care and this eventually helps your clients to get comfortable with you.
- Besides, active listening serves as a vital tool to create a therapeutic alliance.
- And active listening isn’t just about verbal; it goes way beyond that.
5. Strengthen your communication skills
- Social workers advocate for their client’s rights and communicate their issues to the responsible parties, day in and day out.
- There will be times when you will have to communicate with insurance companies, healthcare providers, or supervisors, and for this reason, it’s vital to possess excellent communication skills.
- Therefore, try to be precise, transparent, and communicate in a way that sounds reasonable and makes sense to your clientele.
- Aside from verbal, refine your written communications skills as well. You should know the art of preparing accurate reports, writing emails, and maintaining recordkeeping.
- Communication skills are also critical in a legislative hall or courtroom.
6. Learn how to set boundaries
- The most common complaint most social work practitioners have about their careers is fatigue and burnout.
- Social workers wish to do everything in their capacity to aid people – getting in touch with every single contact and leveraging multiple resources. However, there comes the point when they eventually falter and collapse.
- Therefore, it’s essential to set healthy boundaries and realistic expectations.
- Practice self-care since this field involves constant engagement with people in the throes of mental health issues, drugs and poverty.
- Also, try not to develop personal relationships with clients to avoid the emotional toll.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)