Roles of a social worker working with Groups
Roles refer to the behaviours through which the client – an individual, a family, a group or a community – expects the worker to help accomplish goals, agreed upon mutually by the client and the worker.The roles conceptualized by the authors include the following:
- Social broker –
connecting the client system with the community resources based on broad knowledge of community resources and the operating procedures of the agencies; the worker may bring the specialized resources to the group; referral is a basic part of enactment of the broker’s role.
- Enabler –
assisting clients to find coping strengths and resources within themselves to produce changes necessary for accomplishing the stated objectives with the supporting and enabling function for the client, whether individual or group.
- Teacher –
providing groups with new information necessary for coping with difficult situations, assisting group members in practicing new behaviour or skills. It is different from broker’s role as it implies providing additional resources to members’ environment.
- Mediator –
efforts to resolve conflicts that may exist between the client system and external systems like other persons or organizations by finding a common ground on which they might reach a resolution of the conflict.
- Advocate –
Speaking for the client (individual, family, group or community) by presenting and arguing the clients’ cause. It becomes essential when working with client-systems who belong to disadvantaged and marginalized groups in society, are oppressed due to structural social inequalities, or are invisible and voiceless. Advocacy is becoming increasingly popular role of social workers in the context of focus on social justice concerns and human rights. Unlike other roles, advocacy can be used without direct involvement of the client-system.