How can we be advocates in social work practice and research
Updated: Apr 14, 2020
This weekend I had the pleasure of addressing social workers and members of Québec's Order of Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists. I discussed advocacy work in my practice and my research.
What are some of the key ingredients for integrating social justice into clinical practice?
Vigilance, creativity, solidarity, and small acts of kindness.
These ingredients are helpful in not only fostering a strong relationship with clients, but are necessary to stay attentive to the singular experiences of individuals, families, and groups. Vigilance is important to develop a keen understanding of the links between individual difficulties, stressors, or injustices and collective social justice. It is fundamentally therapeutic to accompany a person or group in recognizing the injustice of their situation, in reflecting on their agency and self-determination, and in coming up with solutions that they decide are necessary. Creativity and solidarity are essential for thinking 'out of the box' and finding novel solutions.
These are some of the key elements to practicing advocacy in the everyday social work encounter. I'll post a full transcript of my talk in both French and English soon!