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Introducing social work: a starter kit
Introducing social work: a starter kit

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Session 2: What makes a good social worker?


This is a photograph showing a group of four people sitting in a circle talking to each other.
Figure 1

Like many other professions, alongside its core mission, social work is defined by the skillsets of its members. For example, social workers need a good knowledge of the law and of theories about people and society. They also need good critical skills to evaluate conflicting or confusing situations, and the ability to reflect on thought processes and feelings. This includes a well-developed emotional intelligence, described by Adams and Sheard (2017, p. 46) as, ‘an understanding of your own and others’ emotions and using that knowledge to direct your thinking and respond more appropriately’. Other skills, among many, include being able to communicate effectively, to respect confidentiality, and to be able to practice within legal and ethical professional boundaries (HCPC, 2017).