A positive way to work in social sector
During the 20th International Summer School in Social Work in the Social Sciences 2017, organized at the University of Lapland, I got a chance to attend Assoc. Professor Valdas Rimkus’s lecture on 29th of May. Professor Rimkus is a head of the social work department in Klaipėda University in Lithuania. His lecture was called “A positive social work: from “work” towards “social”.
Social work as a profession is very new in Lithuania. Social workers are not highly considered and the profession is trying to find the way to be heard. In Lithuania social work is considered a part of the health sciences and social issues are seen part of the health care. However, the social workers’ opinions are not seen as valuable as for example the doctors.
The level of life satisfaction in Lithuania is very low. If we compare life satisfaction levels in Lithuania and Finland, Lithuania is the lowest one and Finland the highest one. It is quite unexpected by knowing how common social problem depression is in Finland.
Professor Rimkus told in his presentation how social workers could use the positive approach in the client meetings to make a difference to one’s feelings and emotions, self-esteem and capability of function. One way is to find the positive skills together with the client and work with those as a tool to get an effort to client’s life. Rimkus especially made a point of believing to client’s opportunities to make a positive change in one’s life.
When the strengths of a client has been found those will be used to improve the client’s life situation. Social worker will stand a side and provide help if in needed. Informal social support networks, like a family and friends, are valuable and important and if there is such kind of people surrounding it can be helpful.
At the end of the presentation professor Rimkus pointed out five ways to well-being: CONNECT to another; friends, family, community, society. BE ACTIVE and participate. Often the participation gives you a lot. TAKE NOTICE and open your eyes to see the world which is surround you. Nature, flowers… KEEP LEARNING will keep your brains working and motivated to investigate the life and its opportunities and interests. GIVE others so you will be given back.
I was really impressed about the lecture. This is the way how I think the social work should be done. I feel, that this is hopefully the way in the future how I can implement my social work profession.
Social work student, University of Lapland, Finland