I’m trying to learn for my Social Science class and I’m stuck. Can you help?
Body language is a form of nonverbal communication that accompanies speech. Common forms of body language are eye contact, posture, facial expression, and fine and gross movement. Social workers must understand how these seemingly simple, sometimes unconscious, body language responses may have a lasting effect by encouraging or discouraging a client. Body language with a negative connotation can create barriers and dissuade a client from establishing and developing the helping relationship. In contrast, when the social worker’s body language conveys interest and empathy, the client is more likely to feel comfortable and receptive to assistance.
Because nonverbal communication can hinder a successful client relationship, social workers need to understand the way in which they present themselves. This extends to what is presented via the environment, as well—social workers must also consider the interview room’s layout and the tone it conveys.
In this Discussion, you explore body language and the helping relationship by assessing a social work scenario.
To prepare, watch the video Southside Community Services: Mrs. Bargas, Episode 2.
Should social workers focus on changing the individual or the environment? Often, social problems require intervention at all levels (micro, mezzo, and macro). At the micro and mezzo levels, social workers engage with individuals and small groups to target individual change. At the macro level, social workers target broader social forces impacting a group experience. For example, a social worker could address sexual assault by providing individual case management or facilitating a support group for survivors. A social worker could also address sexual assault at the community level by raising awareness of consent or advocating for policy change to increase survivors’ access to support and justice.
In this Discussion, consider a client population you might like to work with during your field placement and how you might engage this population at the micro/mezzo and macro levels.
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