If social workers are evil, why have I shed so many tears in the office?

A social worker challenges public perception of the profession

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by Kirsty Rowe

I’ve been qualified as a social worker for almost seven years now and I still can’t get over other people’s perception of our profession.

I started typing the following into Google: ‘social workers are…’

I had to take a second look at the autocomplete of the most commonly made searches. I was horrified at what I then saw when clicking on the links.

Social workers are…evil

Social workers are…idiots

Social workers are…scum

Social workers are…stupid.

I expect evil people sleep well at night after a day of being evil. Sadly my sleep’s been disrupted for years as I worry about the people I have in the community. I also worry about their families who are struggling to look after them.

I also expect evil people would leave the office at 5pm regardless of what emergencies families are in. Clearly my colleagues and I are doing something wrong. We often work 8am – 8pm, Monday to Friday as standard, and this might be later in a safeguarding situation. This is despite our 37 hour-per-week contract.

Seven days

We also have emergency duty team social workers who provide support every night, weekend and bank holiday in emergency community situations.

We support doctors by working seven days. We help get those hospital beds emptied because the government think it’s appropriate to close hospitals across both general health and mental health services.

We now work seven days, not only to facilitate weekend discharges, but to prevent the unsafe discharges that would take place without our intervention. No pretend pay rise or media attention for us though, because we’re the scum.

People think we don’t care and we’re heartless. If I’m heartless, I wonder why I’ve shed so many tears in the office and at home over the years for various people I’ve worked with. Tears of happiness, tears of relief, tears of frustration and tears of sadness.

Social workers care and we’re there to help our service users through the toughest and most difficult periods of their lives. It’s an honour and a privilege to be there and offer a hand when sometimes there is no-one else there to pick them up.

Fancy a go?

This is why we go the extra mile, why we work with people – no matter how much it hurts sometimes – and the reason we keep going.

Fancy a go at my job? You need A-levels, followed by a specific degree to enter the profession.

Then you need to navigate the paperwork we are required to complete, even just for a basic assessment. You need to work through the following on a daily basis: assessments, support plans, direct payments, net, gross, authorisation forms, Telecare equipment, carer assessment, carer care plan, carer direct payments, finance assessments, risk assessment, risk management plans, continuing health care checklists, decision support tools, case conferences, safeguarding strategies, multi-disciplinary team meetings, best interest decision meetings, deprivation of liberty safeguards, appropriate adults…and the rest.

It’s tough, but social work has a way of giving you a gift when you least expect it.

You’re drowning in paperwork. You’re worrying about the people you haven’t got out to see as often as you’d like. You’re thinking about the next allocation to land on your desk, knowing it will probably be prioritised above everything else.

Then you pay a visit to see how someone is doing. They tell you how much your involvement has made a difference in their life, and you walk out remembering why we put ourselves through it all.

So please, don’t be so quick to judge us. But even if you do, we’ll be there to help you and your family when you need us.

Kirsty Rowe is a social worker. 

If you want to write for Community Care, email communitycare@rbi.co.uk

25 Responses to If social workers are evil, why have I shed so many tears in the office?

  1. Andrew March 2, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    this is a passionate article and it was good to read it..let’s not empower the media (internet searches, newspapers etc) to write such ridiculous statements about social workers as I am sure we would all consider most folks don’t hold these views out on our communities..
    In fact a lot of people get that the job is almost impossible and marvel at how we stick to it..
    I have spent a few years avoiding discussions about what I do for a living due to fear of people expecting us to be super human and super perfect..all of the time.. Pity our regulators don’t support us with unrealistic expectations and moral high grounds..oh to be perfect..what a dangerous place that would be…

  2. Sonia Walton March 2, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

    Its not the critic that counts. But the man who stands in the arena and after falling gets up time and time again.

    Don’t submit your sensitivity to those who do not have your opportunities and qualities. Be sensitive to them for one day they could be your client.

  3. john stephenson March 2, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    After having just retired after 25 years in Child Protection,I cannot say with any credibility I am proud of being a social worker.
    This is perhaps unfair and based on my last years of service,when I have witnessed Child Protection develop into a process driven function,where adherence to the process is the goal rather than the best interest of the child,,these two issues often being in conflict.

    I feel that the main function of Child Protection is to protect the agency and the best interest of the children has been lost sight of .Does anybody else feel like this ,or am I being unduly cynical.

    • Caleigh March 3, 2016 at 2:15 am #

      I am curious as to what state you worked. I too am in CPS’. Although there are definitely tough days, I love my job. (Yes ive been there many years now, I am not a ‘newbie’).
      I believe that it is about the best interest of the child and knowing that child is going to be safe no matter the environment. I have found that there are times that the ‘system’, and I do not see eye to eye and that absolutely makes a hard day. But where I’m from, we don’t give up hope, we get up and keep on trying! We keep providing resources and keep working with families. Most importantly for me is to keep smiling at the kiddos, you never know, you might be the only smile that child gets that day!
      I hope this gives you at least a little faith to know that there are still people out there with high hopes in saving lives and being a voice!

  4. Ellie March 2, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    Well said, Kirsty. I’ve long believed that the public perception of Social Workers is a nonsense. It is far too reliant upon sensationalist media articles, or negative stereotypes as portrayed in “soap operas”.
    I think Social Work gets an unfair deal. Most people do not seem to know what Social Workers actually do. Still, they think it’s fine to negatively label them. Isn’t that a form of prejudice?
    I can give a personal example – and this just goes to show how deep the prejudice lies, and just how unexpectedly prejudice can occur. I qualified as a Social Worker, and worked in mental health services. Now, you might think this an admirable thing to do… Oh, no! My own FAMILY – yes, FAMILY – were CRITICAL!
    My father could NOT understand why I wanted to work in what he described as a “dirty job” (his exact words). I faced questions from relatives who could not understand how I could work with mentally disordered offenders. Worst of all was the reaction from certain members of my husband’s family – my mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law. My mother-in-law was a NURSE, so it is very hard to understand her negative attitude. You might think that somebody who had worked in another caring profession could understand… but… NOT AT ALL. I received comments from my husband’s family which included suggestions that Social Workers “take babies away”. They also kept making comments that Nurses are “angels” – even posting this on their Facebook pages; the comments that they posted about Social Workers, were, by contrast, negative. My brother-in-law even tried to imply that I had only chosen to work in medium secure mental health services because I was “stuck up” – as though I only did the work for the kudos. At family gatherings, my in-laws talked endlessly about nursing, and about how great nurses were; they would ask me about my job, and what I did in it, even appearing to take appositive interest. Then, days later, it would become apparent that they were talking about me behind my back – making comments like “who does she think she is; she thinks she’s so special working in Forensic services”.
    It seems to me that negative assumptions about Social Workers are far reaching, and even affect people who ought to know better (including other workers in the caring professions). I think these attitudes have become entrenched because of portrayals of Social Workers on T.V. in “soap operas” particularly. Whereas Nurses and Doctors in programmes like “Casualty” are always seen as heroic, or play the romantic lead; Social Workers rarely even appear. On the few occasions that they do, they are generally bumbling and incompetent, or worse, callous “baby takers” who are simply there to tear families apart. There is always excess pity shown for any family whom the Social Worker “threatens” – the Social Worker’s perspective is rarely entertained.
    Don’t people understand that the reality of the job is like “walking on eggshells”? Trying to tread a fine line between difficult decisions. How would anyone else cope? It’s not easy on a daily basis, having to make decisions about whether a convicted prisoner is safe enough to allow back into the community, or whether they remain mentally unstable and in need of inpatient care. It’s not easy, listening to people talk about their psychotic experiences, or about the history of abuse and neglect that often precedes such breakdowns. It’s not easy, trying to encourage patients to see the benefit of taking their medication, when they are terrified of the side-effects. It’s not easy trying to find suitable medication, with as few side-effects as possible. It’s not easy trying to refer a person for “talking therapy” only to find out that the waiting list is months long, and the person is feeling desperate NOW. It’s not easy dealing with a patient who finds him/herself in a medium secure unit, suffering Schizophrenia, with a long history of offending whilst under the influence of auditory hallucinations – but is only 21 years of age. It’s not easy dealing with the patient who is nearing the end of a long life, spent mostly in some form of institutional or hospital setting – a patient who has never really been free of illness, or of the need for treatment. It’s not easy trying to squeeze in home visits to patients, as well as finding time for paperwork. It’s not easy trying to explain to a patient that a service they really need cannot take them at present due to oversubscription, or short-staffing, or closure due to lack of funding…
    I’d challenge anyone to say that’s not a difficult job. But also a job that is about trying to do the best for people under difficult circumstances. WHY should anybody think it’s right to criticise a person for doing that?

  5. Laura Hutchinson March 2, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

    I work with in social care and I have friends who are social worker’s and they work very hard, working until midnight at times when an Amp request comes in,
    The work is sometimes challenging but the right social workers have a way of working with those challenges, they also do have to deal with backlash form others.

  6. Yvonne Bon if as March 2, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    Lesson: Don’t take notice of every moron on the internet.

  7. Rachel March 2, 2016 at 8:31 pm #

    Hear hear! A passionate and heartwarming account of social work that is honest about what it really is like…exactly what this profession needs. Well said Kirsty!

  8. helen Houlsworth March 3, 2016 at 7:27 am #

    My daughter is a newly qualified social worker. She studied hard as a mature student with children and work commitments. Left herself with big student debt so she could do a worthwhile job and make a difference and help improve and protect the lives of the vulnerable in our society. She is a caring and loving person and we as parents could not be prouder of her.

  9. Tom J March 3, 2016 at 9:47 am #

    I often enjoy reading the comments more than the actual articles!- its great seeing a wide range of points being made. Moreover, I feel that some of these reflections should be able to take place within supervision, but I know that they often don’t due to time and the issues that John Stephenson correctly refers to in terms process and targets being king.

    There can be no doubt that social work is moving in a concerning direction- I recently met with a service user group and they spoke about how lawyers are now the ‘new social workers’ as when service users now get turned down for support their only hope is legal advice (so long as they can afford legal advice or be entitled to legal aid).

    One service user spoke of how the decision was made that he only needed to be visited at home once a day to have his extensive care needs met. He sought to explain to the adult social worker who said that she agreed but there was no funding. He was aware that the social worker tried various things through her authority to reverse the decision and made herself very unpopular with her senior management- but all to no avail.

    However after a lengthily and stressful battle through the courts, victory was achieved. All service users appeared to have the unanimous view that the lawyers were the great advocates and social workers were the bureaucrats!

    Social work needs its own voice to speak up on numerous issues. It cannot continue to be seen to go along with the Conservative, Neo Liberal, Austerity, Privatising, Inequality promoting ideology. The majority of social workers are fully aware that there is no chance of meeting the expectations that people have as a result of the Care Act- its fine words- but the money is not there- and blaming the individual social worker cannot be the solution.

    I encourage social workers to a) Remain hopeful and seek to open the eyes of other social workers as well as elegantly challenge social workers who are swallowing the bullshit e.g. ‘the bedroom tax is all about making the world a nicer and fairer place’. b) Read the journal ‘Radical social work in the frontline: a survival toolkit for the UK’ by Colin Turbett- this speaks of how knowing the bigger picture/knowing what is going on can support and promote resilience. c) Join your trade union and do whatever you can- its fine to start small.

  10. Colin Smith March 3, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    There are a few dedicated people left. The problem is that under the secret dictatorship we now live, the last thing the government wants is anyone who is compassionate or kind; they give money away!!!
    So the plan is, you get rid of them, you repace them with hard nosed, immoral ‘headmistresses’ who have no compassion, no sentiments and that way you can be sure that the funds are safe!

  11. George Orwell March 3, 2016 at 11:10 am #

    Back 2007 Community Care published a comment I posted whereby I shared my experiences as a newly qualified social worker trying to find work. Nine years later, if I knew what I know now, I would of advised my younger self to change career.

    There is something fundamentally at fault with our field that needs to be addressed by us as workers. Truth is the nature of our work has been greatly impacted upon by decision makers from national and local government who do not understand social work, resulting in an unstable field full of back stabbing, professional instability and overload of work, giving way to private recruitment firms, rise of locuming and lack of stability, as well as poor unaccountable selfish management.

  12. Peter Smith March 3, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    I am ex-military I joined because I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. I have been a service user a few times due to my ex-wife’s mental health and her behaviour to the children and social workers. I have come across some poor social workers who may be over worked or have just given up and I have come across so really good social workers. when the court ordered my son come to live with me three years ago full time the social worker didn’t support that she was young and believed a man wasn’t capable of raising children on their own and made things as difficult as possible but 9 months later having seen my son doing much better at school and at home she changed her mind. last year I worked very closely with social services to help my ex-wife become a more stable mother to my step daughter she had been given chance after chance. finally the social worker asked how I felt about taking on my step daughter full time rather than 4 days a week I jumped at the chance and now have full custody of her as well not only did this social worker acknowledge the fact that there had been many missed opportunities with my children but she also showed me something my sons social worker had written that I had never seen she explained in the letter to the judge that my son had the worst case of aggression she had ever seen in a child before he came to live with me but in just 9 short month his life had been transformed. My step daughter social worker explained when she met my son she thought he was charming polite and a credit to all the hard work we had both put in. My daughter is also doing really well now but without the help of social services she wouldn’t be doing as well as she is. I have been on many parenting courses child phycology courses and worked close with some talented individuals and I don’t think some parents know how lucky they are. September I will be starting my training to become a social worker myself in the hope I am at least half as good and dedicated as some of the social workers I have had the privilege to work with.

  13. Amanda March 3, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    I am just about to start a Social Work Degree. These comments are useful and insightful. I have been on the receiving end of ‘baby takers’ when I decided as a foster carer to adopt the foster baby I was caring for. When in full swing of ‘baby taking’ Social Workers can become deceitful people who often bend truths to meet their own departmental needs. Thankfully the Cafcass guardians really do put the best interest of the child first. I believe that politics and Ofsted aims often get in the way of what is actually best for children. I don’t think the profession is awful, as I am about to join it. But I can see why it sometimes gets bad press. You can’t please all the people all of the time!

  14. mary jean March 3, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    I retired from social work over 5 years ago after 35 years as a frontline worker in the mental health field. I actually miss the work which I have always found both stimulating and satisfying. I agree with nearly all of the comments on Kirsty Rowe’s article but am not surprised any more by people’s hostile attitude’s to social work. We work with a part of life which most people want to forget i.e. mental illness, crime, and disability and there is still very little understanding in our society about the issues involved.
    For the past 5 years I have been working in Eastern Europe where human rights, and social workers, are virtually unknown, apart from the work done by NGOs. I can sympathise with John Stephenson’s concern’s about the way social work is developing in the UK, and am glad that I no longer am involved in incarcerating “mentally ill” citizens in our hospitals to be force-fed medication which often damages them. However, I still believe in the values of social work, of empathy, social justice and human rights and dignity.

  15. Ken Talbot March 3, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

    Anyone who really understands what social workers do will know that they are mostly professional, hard working and caring people

  16. Christian Kerr March 3, 2016 at 5:58 pm #

    Seeing as we’re on the topic of the media skewing public perceptions of the true nature of social work (which is, for my money, at the very least highly ambiguous) let us consider the role of Community Care. Specifically, let us examine the photo that accompanies the story. You will notice that the second ‘instant result’ on the Google search shown is ‘social workers are agents of the state’. This is, in the case of the vast majority of social workers in this country, true. There is no value judgement behind that statement. It is simply stating a fact. Now let us look at the fourth Google instant result on the list. Except we can’t. It is, to coin a phrase, a bit of a blur. Now, given that the rest of the photo appears more or less in focus, it is reasonable to believe that this may be as a result of deliberate image manipulation. If we look closely, it appears to say ‘social workers are good [illegible, possibly ‘blog’]’.( I haven’t been able to check this myself as my computer isn’t fast enough for instant results.)

    What does this tell us? Well, it tells us that 50% of the Google instant results shown were apparently either neutral or positive. This does not match the narrative promulgated in the piece. It also suggests that Community Care have manipulated the image to bring it in line with the narrative, not only of the piece, but of the current editorial agenda that social work needs ‘standing up for’ and that social workers are ‘heroes’. Rather than advancing this agenda using the sort of manipulative media tactics it decries, Community Care’s time and resources might be better spent critically examining the role of social work and engaging the public and service users in order to uncover the reasons behind the seemingly widely-held negative perceptions. Or do we just buy the line that significant numbers of the public and service users are simply wrong and gullible enough to buy what they read in the press?

    I leave you with this from the Independent Press Standards Organisation Editors’ Code of Practice:

    ‘1. Accuracy

    i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images. . .’

    • Andy McNicoll March 4, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

      Hi Christian,

      I’m ComCare’s news editor. Thanks for your comment. You are correct that the image is blurred on the final search and has been edited. Why? Because the final search that came up when we typed it up was Social workers are good bag. This is a reference to a commercial product but we also felt the phrase was confusing in itself (it wasn’t social workers are a good bag), so pixelated it.

      We used the image as it stands because we wanted to find a way to visually capture the thrust of the social worker’s piece and her experience was a number of negative search results. I’d also point out this was an opinion piece, not a news item. It is the social worker’s account of her experiencing of searching Google and, she says, finding social workers are ‘evil’, ‘scum’, ‘idiots’ etc. With the search terms changing on Google all the time it was impossible to go back and time and capture her exact experience. Instead we went with an image of the search terms two days ago. We could have just illustrated the piece with a stock image of the Google logo and a blank search bar or a model posing writing with a pen. The picture we ended up picking was one we felt better captured the issue being discussed, that’s all.

      I’ve passed on your feedback to our editor. We do try to critically analyse the role of social workers. In fact this comment piece was published recently about social workers potentially abusing their powers, we also ran this piece about the need for the profession to up its game on user involvement. We also cover cases of poor practice and service provision – in fact, we often get letters feeling we do too much of that and not enough positive stories. We look to strike the right balance but, as your email shows, not everyone feels we’re getting it right.

      Thanks,

      Andy

      • CK March 4, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

        Thank you for your reasoned response, Andy. I understand that this was an opinion piece. However, I do not believe this absolves Community Care of responsibility for ensuring certain standards in what it publishes, which surely must be predicated on the veracity of claims made by its writers (paid staff or not). I’ve now had the opportunity to check Google instant results with the phrase ‘social workers are’. The results are, in the order the appear:

        – evil
        – idiots
        – agents of the state
        – good bag (not ‘blog’ as I originally conjectured)
        – (blank)
        – assigned to what cluster
        – superheroes
        – crazy
        – useless
        – governed by

        Of ten results, I make that four negative, two positive, two neutral and one blank, consistent with the 50/50 split between negative and positive/neutral results I previously suggested were shown in the picture. Clicking through ‘social workers are good bag’ does indeed lead to a website that sells a reusable shopping bag bearing the legend ‘social workers are. . . good’.

        This led me to consider that Community Care’s blurring of the phrase ‘good bag’ may be intended to avoid confusion or giving free publicity to the makers of said bag. If this were the case, blurring the word ‘bag’ would have sufficed. But, then, that would have left the phrase ‘social workers are good’ which, as I said previously, doesn’t quite fit the narrative.

        The article states that clicking on the links led to the phrases ‘social workers are. . . scum’ and ‘social workers are. . . stupid’. As you have already explained, neither of these appeared in the list of instant results shown in the picture or in the list of results I got. Interestingly, it was only when I typed ‘social workers are s (the letter ‘s’ that is)’ those two phrases came up . Indeed, they were in the top three, first and third. Number two? ‘Social workers are. . . superheroes’. Again, not quite in keeping with the narrative. This led me to try the same with each letter of the alphabet. There were some negative phrases returned, but the vast majority of the instant results I got were in fact neutral, with positive and supportive phrases about equal in number to the negative.

        Now, I may well be challenged for putting a downer on a piece that has been generally received positively and I understand why that might be. I say these things to make points which I believe to be important to the integrity of the profession, which I will not list here due to time constraints.

        Finally, and at the risk of coming off like I have nothing better to do than to play around with Google instant results, I invite you to take part in an interesting excercise, and see what Google instant results come back when you type the following:

        – Nurses are
        – Doctors are
        – Firemen are
        – Paramedics are

        The results I got suggest the image of social work is, on the whole, no poorer than that of the professions listed above. That is, if you believe Google instant results to be a reliable barometer of public opinion.

      • CK March 4, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

        Thank you for your reasoned response, Andy. I understand that this was an opinion piece. However, I do not believe this absolves Community Care of responsibility for ensuring certain standards in what it publishes, which surely must be predicated on the veracity of claims made by its writers (paid staff or not). I’ve now had the opportunity to check Google instant results with the phrase ‘social workers are’. The results are, in the order the appear:

        – evil

        – idiots

        – agents of the state

        – good bag (not ‘blog’ as I originally conjectured)

        – (blank)

        – assigned to what cluster

        – superheroes

        – crazy

        – useless

        – governed by

        Of ten results, I make that four negative, two positive, two neutral and one blank, consistent with the 50/50 split between negative and positive/neutral results I previously suggested were shown in the picture. Clicking through ‘social workers are good bag’ does indeed lead to a website that sells a reusable shopping bag bearing the legend ‘social workers are. . . good’.

        This led me to consider that Community Care’s blurring of the phrase ‘good bag’ may be intended to avoid confusion or giving free publicity to the makers of said bag. If this were the case, blurring the word ‘bag’ would have sufficed. But, then, that would have left the phrase ‘social workers are good’ which, as I said previously, doesn’t quite fit the narrative.

        The article states that clicking on the links led to the phrases ‘social workers are. . . scum’ and ‘social workers are. . . stupid’. As you have already explained, neither of these appeared in the list of instant results shown in the picture or in the list of results I got. Interestingly, it was only when I typed ‘social workers are s (the letter ‘s’ that is)’ those two phrases came up . Indeed, they were in the top three, first and third. Number two? ‘Social workers are. . . superheroes’. Again, not quite in keeping with the narrative. This led me to try the same with each letter of the alphabet. There were some negative phrases returned, but the vast majority of the instant results I got were in fact neutral, with positive and supportive phrases about equal in number to the negative.

        Now, I may well be challenged for putting a downer on a piece that has been generally received positively and I understand why that might be. I say these things to make points which I believe to be important to the integrity of the profession, which I will not list here due to time constraints.

        Finally, and at the risk of coming off like I have nothing better to do than to play around with Google instant results, I invite you to take part in an interesting excercise, and see what Google instant results come back when you type the following:

        – Nurses are

        – Doctors are

        – Firemen are

        – Paramedics are

        The results I got suggest the image of social work is, on the whole, no poorer than that of the professions listed above. That is, if you believe Google instant results to be a reliable barometer of public opinion.

    • Adrian Zakrzewski March 8, 2016 at 11:57 am #

      I can give you a simple answer to your final question Ken. Yes, significant numbers of the public believe uncritically what they read in the popular media. It is self evident. That is why not only social work, but other things/people are considered ‘bad’ by many – for example socialism, muslims, and not having a nuclear deterrent.

  17. Joe March 4, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

    I don’t know this is a tricky one….

    I am a qualified social worker who has struggled to get interviews because of my lack of experience before qualifying I think, I was just a musician before, until I watched someone I care about having to have dealings with social workers.

    My last placement I worked in prisons, and there I was working all the time with women suffering from Borderline PD who’d committed often terrible crimes.

    The thing is that they saw themselves as being very caring, and in a way they were, and that’s why they killed. The problem is that there is no such thing as evil. And actually if you think there is….. Well, believing in evil is a fairly judgemental way of looking at things.

    I have endlessly had clients say to me “social workers are evil… but your different”. Do you want to know something crazy, I don’t care as much as many others do, I don’t go home and cry about all the darkness in the world.

    I don’t think social workers are “evil”… I think they are deeply caring, but actually that caring is based on a projection of “poor you” that can actually be fairly damaging.

    I don’t think women who kill are evil, I also don’t think social workers are evil… I think both groups have an overloading of “affective empathy” rather than “cognitive empathy” leading them to misunderstand situations and make fairly judgemental and emotionally based decisions.

    I think when you become too emotionally involved in your work, it often has more to do with you than your service users. What I am saying is that going home and crying about your work, sort of is….. a little bit evil.

  18. Joe March 4, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    I feel I should clarify my statement.

    I’m not for one second saying I think social workers are evil, because evil doesn’t exist, there are only traumatised individuals.

    But if all you guys are seriously asking yourself if we, the social workers are evil, then you are obviously believing that evil actually exists.

    If you are not evil, then it must be some other guy who is evil, so exactly at which point are you going to deploy the judgement of “evil” and upon whom.

  19. Joe March 4, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

    I don’t think we have the right to tell service users are wrong in what they experience, surely this is not what we do at all.

    Surely what we do is to seek to understand the language others use to communicate their legitimate feelings. I think what service users are trying to say is that many social workers are a little traumatised just like the wider population increasingly is, and I would admit the same of myself to some extent, and it is what makes me, me. But what of a system of work that seems to re-traumatise professionals? and would I blame social workers for passing on some of that anxiety? Certainly not. But I would say like many others is I believe we come unstuck the moment we try to be good, although I admire the author of this post desire to be good. But I think she deserves to tell herself she does the best she can and there is only so much we can do, the question of resources is out of her hands.

    I’ll try to frame this in mindfulness language.

    When the Tao is lost there is goodness,
    When goodness is lost there is morality.
    When morality is lost there is ritual,
    and ritual is the harbinger of chaos.

    Of course I applaud those who strive for goodness, but it isn’t mindfulness, and I think it doesn’t beget mindfulness in others. But at least it isn’t the “morality” and “ritual” that marks the decline of UK social work.

  20. Yvonne Bon if as March 9, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    On the BBC website at the moment there is an article about an ex childrens home worker convicted of abuse. The headline called him a social worker but on reading the article he clearly was not. If the BBC cant even get the basics right there’s not much hope.