Values are important and inform how one behaves or perceives the self. People develop values due to the influence of many factors. Primarily, people develop their values at three distinct levels. Firstly, people uphold values that the inherited from the parents or caretakers as they grow up. Secondly, values are developed from researching and examining the existing values then choosing the one that makes sense. Thirdly, values are developed as a result of life experiences that a person encounters. For this reason, assessment of my personal values reveals that the psychosocial theory has had an immense impact in their shaping. Erik Erikson, in his theory, contends that people's sense of values or self-growth or development stems from the social crises that they encounter throughout the life. These crises help a person react or even adapt. He, therefore, cites three critical crises including industry vs. inferiority, isolation vs. intimacy, and trust vs. mistrust. Industry versus inferiority contributes to values such as work competency, ethics or self-worth. Isolation versus intimacy sires values such as love, respect or kindness. The trust versus mistrust social crisis connotes the experiences that a person encountered during their infancy and how these experiences shape their trust. I form my values from what the environment presents. For example, as a social worker, it becomes very difficult dealing with victims of a crisis such as a displacement after a war. In such a case, I ought not only to have humility but also be emotionally supportive to the affected. Arguably, values change as one encounters different scenarios. Thus, one value can be applied in one situation but not in another. This notion, therefore, creates the aspects of the dynamics of values.
However, I feel challenged by the systems theory as a social worker. Systems theory posit that a person's behavior (which in this case will be termed as values) is determined by some factors that together function as a system. Therefore, the manner in which a person acts or thinks is shaped by such factors as the home environment, social events settings, friends, school, parents, peers, and economic class among others. It, therefore, means that a person's behavior can either be influenced positively or negatively. For instance, children who grew up in abusive homes are likely to develop deviant behaviors. People who engage with peers who practice drugs and substances are likely to become addicts as well. In the same way, children who attend school and follow the school rules and regulations are likely to be successful in their academic performance. As a social worker, this theory presents challenges to me. Principally, a social worker has to evaluate and analyze those systems that inform a person's behavior and welfare. Additionally, the social worker must work towards strengthening those systems while discouraging those that result in negative behavior. The systems theory, therefore, is far-reaching and calls for the social worker to work extensively to establish and maintain the supportive systems. It is so because the systems compete to impact either positive or negative results.
The role-play experience was challenging yet a learning process. I had three role-plays. One was acting as a social worker, two as the client and three as an observer. In the first instance, I assumed the role of a social worker with my fellow student as the client. One of the things I observed is that the session was challenged by various problems. Firstly, I could not maintain a direct eye contact with the client. While keeping an eye contact is important and determines how the social worker and the client relate, I felt that I did not do enough in this sector. Secondly, I had to focus on asking my clients some questions. The questions were related family, job and other more personal issues. In that case, I felt that I was getting too much personal information from the client and I was not sure whether he was comfortable with it. It was a challenge because some people are not always willing to give very personal information since they may feel that their privacy is being violated. The third problem was that there was poor communication. My communication skills were poor and may have impeded effective communication and response. The second role-play was acting as the client. Taking the role as the client was much easier for me since I was required to respond to the questions asked to me. However, as earlier said, there was a communication barrier. For this reason, I may have provided irrelevant responses in some instances. The third role entailed observing the client and the social worker. So I was a non-participant. However, it was much easier to provide feedback for both the client and the social worker.
In spite of these challenges, I have excellent listening skills, ability to relate to others and always willing to learn. I give my client adequate time to talk, and I pay attention to what is said. I also seek clarification where need be so as to avoid generalizing or making assumptions. In addition, I relate well to people and value how they impact in my career. Moreover, I take corrections positively and not as a reproach. I learn a lot from what others hold to be true and right. I believe that these skills and abilities are key for a social worker and in social work. I would also like to improve my communication skills. I have identified some ways in which I can improve my communication skills. The first thing is to listen to the other person and seek clarification to avoid generating personal responses. There is also the need to have one conversation at a time. It attracts paramount attention to what is said. Secondly, is to involve body language. Body language communicates as much the verbal language. Another thing is to consider who I am speaking to or with. Communication can be formal or informal depending on the person speaking or responding. Finally, is developing confidence in what I say. Assertiveness in communication tells the other person that one is confident in what he/she is saying.
In my role play, I realized the importance of the social work knowledge into both the social worker and the client. I applied the social work knowledge in determining how an individual's behavior relates to the social environment. I also realized how effective the social work could be considering that the social worker and the client can understand each other. For instance, in this case, there was the problem of communication. Poor communication challenges the results of the social worker. It is thus clear that any problem that arises affects both the social worker and the client like in my case. Again, I understood that the social worker and the client both play important roles. The roles of the latter are therefore different from those of the latter. For this reason, the work was much easier for me as the client since I was only expected to respond to the questions as requires. Assuming the role of a social worker was challenging since all the responses were entirely dependent on the questions that the social worker had to formulate. Likewise playing the role as an observer was even the easiest task. However, every role and participant is important.
In addition, several values were applied during the role play. Firstly, I felt that there is always the need to uphold the dignity and worthiness of a person. Social work entails dealing with people and situations. All people, including the social worker, clients, and other participants ought to respect one another. The respect that a person expresses towards the other is one way to which cooperation is enhanced. Another value that applied personally to me is the value of competence. A social worker should be a competent person. I, therefore, saw the need for being equipped with the relevant knowledge, understanding the client and the matter of discussion, as well as knowing how and when to respond to a given issue. Competence was also critical in the making of the decisions. It helped me arrive at some conclusions. Similarly, the value that underpins the importance of human dignity and relationships was also effective in decision making. Human dignity helped me realize the importance of treating other people well without discrimination. Every person, may it be the client or others have their dignity that has to be respected. Integrity is also another value that is critical in the field of social work. Integrity in my case helped me establish trust with the client. In the same way, role-playing as a client also enabled me to create some rapport and trust with the social worker. Integrity, thus, enhances openness among the parties involved. It also paves the way for better decision making. People have different beliefs and beliefs are superior or inferior to others. Consequently, as a social worker, I had to pay attention to my client's beliefs as well as mine before making any decision. The decision must not interfere with another person's beliefs. In any case, I respect the beliefs of my client.