This paper examines different aspects of social work and the reasons for seeking graduate education in social work. There are many specializations in the field of social work, and the article notifies the features, advantages, and disadvantages of social work with veterans and homeless. There are many veterans that really need help and somebody's support after getting stress on the war. The homelessness also is very serious problem of any community; people just do not notice it, and homeless are isolated from the society.
This paper also examines my own life experience which explains my plans for the future.
Keywords: social work, veterans, homeless people, social justice
Social Work Essay
Nowadays, people seek graduate education in social work because they look for career to be useful foremost for society. Such individuals would like to contribute to society by helping people to find the solutions to their problems. Social work is related to psychology and involves relationship not only with the client but also with his or her family, friends, and community. Development of sustainable and harmonious society is the mission of the social organizations.
The values of social work are based on respect for the dignity of all people. Improving society as a whole is the result of helping people to improve their lives. There are many specializations in the field of social work such as helping children, aiding people in overcoming addictions, helping homeless, and helping veterans. Most of social workers are employed at the hospitals and health clinics, some of them work in the government positions. According to Cherry (2013), The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that social work careers are expected to grow faster than the average over the next ten years.
Frequently, people want to help the others because they also were in such situations before, when they needed somebody's help. They gladly share their experiences in solving problems. Many young people are interested in volunteering today. They take part in different volunteering programs all over the world. It is a very good opportunity to change somebody's life and your own. Many volunteer organizations educate global citizens, people who are responsible for well-being of all people in the planet regardless of backgrounds, culture, and religion.
Due to social work, there is the possibility of overcoming the barriers and some injustices that exist in society. Social work is highly connected with social justice. Social justice is the theory that everybody has equal rights in economic, political, and social issues. Social workers try to open the opportunities for everyone. Social workers organize the access to food and health care for homeless people, for example. Thus, they give people the hope to the future because food and health are very integrant aspects of the human life.
My Reasons to Be a Social Worker
I really care to get graduate education in social work at Temple and to work with veterans and homeless. The main reason is my own experience because I had a lot of social problems in my life, and now I know how to help other people to solve difficulties. I have come across the problems of sexual abuse, posttraumatic disorder, alcohol, depression, and adaptation to civilian life after serving in the army.
I have spent over 20 years in the Army, 14 on active duty. I was deployed to Iraq twice currently serving in the Army National Guard. The military was my only source of income. I am trying to embark new career, but it is very difficult as I am a single parent of two children aged 20 years and 15 years.
Personal identity and addressing the truth is fundamental in career and daily life (Schriver, 2010, p.1). Truth is the reality or fact of a particular situation that addresses the ideal circumstance. This is achieved by evaluation of performance output concerning expectations and requirements. According to the Iranian Journal of Military Medicine by Ashtiani and Kandovan (2011), the present world is characterized by organization, dedicated, and skilled human resources that are vital to attain organizational objectives. This will not only be important for the organizational survival but also for the competency and well-being of the worker. As a result, mental health is a significant aspect to self-evaluate and analyze among workers. It is a worrying factor related to most job conditions depending on their level of sensitivity (Ashtiani, Kandovan, 2011, p.17).
Thus, being a full-time student of Millersville University with graduation scheduled, I am working only part-time which makes my financial needs struggle. Apart from my financial challenge, it is difficult to concentrate on my studies in 40 due to the feeling of inadequacy as compared to my younger classmates. The intensity of my capability is further affected by my inability to adjust to civilian life after being in the military for many years. Such incidences have resulted to anxiety, depression, and I was diagnosed with posttraumatic disorder.
Confronting the truth is an important approach of identifying a professional social worker. Social work as a profession is challenging, and it requires personalities with sound mind and ability to deal with people of different needs. Thus, one has to accept the past and change his or her perspective towards it in order to promote human and community well-being.
My personal experience is the main reason why I want to work with veterans. A great number of veterans who experienced traumatic events at their work are diagnosed with posttraumatic disorder. PTSD is a serious condition when people feel anger, shock, fear, or guilt.
Currey (2007), researching the PTSD in the veterans, wrote about Jullian Goodrum, a former Army National Guard Captain, who experienced these symptoms: I had no idea what was going on. It was as if someone had slipped some sort of bizarre drug into my coffee(p. 13). Goodrum experienced a paralyzing depression that became to progress after a persistent fatigue.
People with PTSD really need help of social workers. The general principles of this disease are well-known for social workers who constantly confronted with its syndromes in the clients. Social workers usually work with people who have similar signs such as impulsive, anxiety, insomnia, violent, and as a result chronic unemployment, homelessness, and suicide.
A lot of surveys argue that more than 80% of soldiers were witnessed of firefight or shot at enemy combatant. The war in Iraq gave the society generation of veterans with psychological problems. Many veterans are eager to come back to previous happy life and correct their misconception. One of the ways to do it is professional support of social workers and psychologists.
Concerning the homeless, it is a problem of every society all over the world. More than 100 million people in the world live without shelter today. Social workers play a very essential role in helping homeless get access to food, health care, and shelters. Many programs and organizations try to solve this problem. Homeless shelters are organized in many cities. Social workers and other staff promote overall physical and psychological wellness of homeless in such shelters. It can be a hugely rewarding for career to work with homeless. As each individual's needs are differ, this job can be challenging and very stressful. Social workers help people to find some roof that is not easy to do, support them in solving the problems of drug and alcohol use, social isolation, and mental health problems.
My truth attains its foundation by analyzing my encounters at a tender age of six years when I encountered physical sexual abuse by my uncle. Child sexual abuse has long-term negative consequences (Colangelo Keefe-Cooperman, 2012, p.16). There are possibilities of having emotional recess that would relapse in adulthood. This might be manifested in different ways such as mental disorders, marital dissatisfaction, posttraumatic disorders, sexual problems, higher risks of suicidal tendency, self-mutilation, eating, substance, alcohol or clinical disorders, anxiety, and low self-esteem among others (Colangelo Keefe-Cooperman, 2012, p.16).
Social workers really can help youths who experienced sexual abuse. They can be side by side with the individual in the period of disillusionment and loss of trust. It is very important that social workers can involve the family and friends in the counseling process of the child.
Another reason why social workers work with such youths is the profession's holistic approach that addresses human behavior from a bio-psycho-social and spiritual perspective.
In his Journal of Gerontological Social Work, Kold (2010) attributes some of qualities and anticipated characters of a social worker dealing with a specific age group. Despite my knowledge about principles of logic, scientific inquiry, reasoned discernment, and ability to use critical thinking augmented by creativity and curiosity, I always feel I do not perform to the best of my ability. Identifying the truth was initiated by the recurrent flashback episodes, repeated upsetting memories of the past, and severe, uncomfortable reactions to situations that remind me of the same. This has been affecting my duty as a real student, real client, and real growth.
Discovering the truth tremendously affects future personal and professional life. In general perspective, accepting my past and what I cannot change will establish my professional identity as a social worker. This will enhance my ethical behaviors, critical thinking skills, and performance.
The truth will affect my future life in various ways. First, tackling my problems will reduce anxiety and depression. This is important in the treatment of posttraumatic disorder that was in consequence of these factors. This will increase my self-awareness, enhance concentration ability and reduce agitation/excitability. A good social support and medical treatment will be easy to use that will eventually reduce the symptoms and episodes of the disorder. Coming to terms will make life worth living by hoping for a better future.
Second, admitting inconvenient facts about my life will resolve conflicts that I have to deal with every day. Hiding and masking the truth does not help to achieve a favorable strategy of conflict resolution. By acknowledging this, it will help to admit personal mistakes and alternatively improve my attitude towards life. Third, it will enable me to be myself; this will influence my personal, professional, and family life.
My truth will also facilitate execution of the services of a social worker as expected. I will manage to promote human and community well-being using personal experience and environmental construct with global perspective, respect for human diversity, and knowledge based on my study and training.
Social work is a very rewarding profession. The world needs such people who can help others to change their lives. My reason to become a social worker is my own experience in such social problems as sexual abuse, PTSD, adaptation to civilian life after being in the military. Helping other people, I will improve my life as well. Constant communication with people is very important in the treatment of posttraumatic disorder. I want to work with veterans and homeless people. After the war in Iraq, we have a generation of veterans that need our help as they got PTSD. The problem with homeless people also needs the contribution of social workers.