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Hi ya'll, I'm in my second year of M.S.W. program.

Had originally planned for clinical psychology but figured L.C.S.W was easier route.

In my first year we learned the history of social work, and its roots in social justice. Something which at the time I didn't care about. A professor flat out told us that social workers who go into private practice and treat financially well-off clients aren't doing social work.

Many students are still planning to go into private practice and make $$. But I decided it wasn't for me, and that social justice was too important. That is what makes social work different from all the other professions. I actually think we can make great clinicians for this reason, because we are aware of not just of the person, but also the person-in-environment.

My word of caution is: care about social justice. If all you want to do is treat people with mental illness, don't be a social worker. Of course, you can and many people do. But in my opinion you will be better off in school and work if you embrace the heart of our profession.
 
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erg923

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My word of caution is: care about social justice. If all you want to do is treat people with mental illness, don't be a social worker .
How is treating individuals with mental illnes not social justice? Last time I checked, social justice was the action of insuring the welfare and just treatment other human beings by providing direct services or providing access to oppourtunities and resources.

Social justice does not require taking vows of poverty or low wages. Nobody is being "ordained" when they get their MSW.
 
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But then wouldn't all of medicine be a form of social justice? I don't see how a clinical psychologist not accepting insurance and charging $200/hr is participating in social justice?

However, when that same psychologist decides to offer sliding scales or does some free consults etc., that is social justice. And that is all I am suggesting. That social workers be conscientious of the economic inequality that exists in our society, and when they can, do something about it.

I wouldn't fault anybody for trying to make money. But there are enough professions filled with people who could care less about the poor. Social work should not become one, when its entire foundation was built on helping the poor.

All I say is that if you don't care about the poor and you aren't willing to actively do something about it in your professional career, don't become a social worker.

P.S. in my personal view, being concerned about the financial situation of the poor inevitably leads to being concerned about the financial situation of the middle and upper to middle class as well. Very few people have guaranteed economic security, thanks to a financial system that heavily favors the super rich.
 
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erg923

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But then wouldn't all of medicine be a form of social justice? I don't see how a clinical psychologist not accepting insurance and charging $200/hr is participating in social justice?

However, when that same psychologist decides to offer sliding scales or does some free consults etc., that is social justice. And that is all I am suggesting. That social workers be conscientious of the economic inequality that exists in our society, and when they can, do something about it.

I wouldn't fault anybody for trying to make money. But there are enough professions filled with people who could care less about the poor. Social work should not become one, when its entire foundation was built on helping the poor.

All I say is that if you don't care about the poor and you aren't willing to actively do something about it in your professional career, don't become a social worker.

P.S. in my personal view, being concerned about the financial situation of the poor inevitably leads to being concerned about the financial situation of the middle and upper to middle class as well. Very few people have guaranteed economic security, thanks to a financial system that heavily favors the super rich.
You asserted that people who want treat the mentally ill, should not become social workers, did you not?
"If all you want to do is treat people with mental illness, don't be a social worker."

I responded that providing a needed service to the poor and disaffected whilst viewing their pathology within the social context is indeed, by definition, "social work." and "social justice." I didn't say anything about boutique, cash only, private practices. However, thats not to say that the administration of "social justice" is dependent on the net-worth of the person on the receiving end.

Regardless, this is all a bit silly and nothing more than semantics. Is psychologist who functions as a administrator not a doing truly doing "psychology?" One can execute ideals such as social justice in a variety of contexts, duties, and environments.
 
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I did not say "If you want to treat people with mental illness, don't be a social worker." I said, "If all you want to do is treat people with mental illness, don't be a social worker."

Explicitly helping the poor is fundamental to being a social worker. This cannot be said of psychology or any other profession that I can think of. It is what makes social work, social work. We can argue over the semantics of what social justice means, but I stand by my statement as a matter of fact.

All of that said, social workers do engage in forms of social justice that do not deal directly with those who are economically disadvantage. For example, we fight for marriage equality and environmental protection.

I would argue that the day social work no longer serves for the poor, is the day the profession loses its identity. What other profession can you say this of?

Short history lesson:

Social work began as an effort to fight against the corporate monopolies that were amassing huge amounts of wealth in the late 1800s. It organized demonstrations, strikes, unions etc. We gained professional status around the time the middle class began to be concerned that they were susceptible to falling into poverty themselves. However, as the economy stabilized for the middle class, support and funding for social work diminished. In order to maintain their professional status, social workers shifted their focus from structural change to care management. In other words, treating the symptom rather than the disease. For the most part, the profession never looked back. But that is exactly what must be done, now more than ever, if it is to retain its professional identity.

Which is why I encourage all prospective social work students to care about social justice in addition to alleviating psychological illness. And I do think there is a difference between psychology and social justice.
 
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erg923

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I did not say "If you want to treat people with mental illness, don't be a social worker." I said, "If all you want to do is treat people with mental illness, don't be a social worker."

Explicitly helping the poor is fundamental to being a social worker. This cannot be said of psychology or any other profession that I can think of. It is what makes social work, social work. We can argue over the semantics of what social justice means, but I stand by statement.
Many people with mental illness are poor...homeless...not treated fairly by the criminal justice system...viewed as "less than" by the larger culture, etc. Assisting them in their fight against these social forces is "social justice" and a nobble cause well within the purview of the profession/field of social work. I am unsure why you have such a narrow definition of social justice, and by proxy, social work.
 
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Yeah for my first semester we had to read a book that said this same stuff. I didn't agree with it then, I don't agree with it now. Social Work is about helping everyone, not just a select few.
 
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erg923

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I did not say "If you want to treat people with mental illness, don't be a social worker." I said, "If all you want to do is treat people with mental illness, don't be a social worker."

Explicitly helping the poor is fundamental to being a social worker. This cannot be said of psychology or any other profession that I can think of. It is what makes social work, social work. We can argue over the semantics of what social justice means, but I stand by my statement as a matter of fact.

All of that said, social workers do engage in forms of social justice that do not deal directly with those who are economically disadvantage. For example, we fight for marriage equality and environmental protection.

I would argue that the day social work no longer serves for the poor, is the day the profession loses its identity. What other profession can you say this of?

Short history lesson:

Social work began as an effort to fight against the corporate monopolies that were amassing huge amounts of wealth in the late 1800s. It organized demonstrations, strikes, unions etc. We gained professional status around the time the middle class began to be concerned that they were susceptible to falling into poverty themselves. However, as the economy stabilized for the middle class, support and funding for social work diminished. In order to maintain their professional status, social workers shifted their focus from structural change to care management. In other words, treating the symptom rather than the disease. For the most part, the profession never looked back. But that is exactly what must be done, now more than ever, if it is to retain its professional identity.

Which is why I encourage all prospective social work students to care about social justice in addition to alleviating psychological illness. And I do think there is a difference between psychology and social justice.
All this strikes me as a first year graduate students idea of "social justice" that they got from a class. Social justice is way, way, way more broad than what you are trying to pigeonhole it to be here.

Being a social workers does not require one to believe in redistribution wealth or other pseudo-Marxist or Communist economic policies/believes. The heart and origin of social justice actually has its roots in Catholic Christianity- with the belief in the sanctity and inherent equality of ALL human life, which comes with it the the obligation to fight against forces which threaten that ideal. Antiabortion protesters are doing social justice work, as are churches that provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants, as are anti death penalty activists.
 
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Social Work Code of Ethics: "Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability."

Do you think that treating someone with mental illness is somehow eliminating domination, exploitation, or discrimination against people with mental illness? How so? I am open-minded about this.

Value: Social Justice

Ethical Principle: Social workers challenge social injustice.
Social workers pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. Social workers’ social change efforts are focused primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice. These activities seek to promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers strive to ensure access to needed information, services, and resources; equality of opportunity; and meaningful participation in decision making for all people.

I just don't see how curing someone of depression accomplishes "social change." How does it "promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression?"

Anyway, it is a fact that the historical reason social workers started treating the mentally ill (which psychologists had already been doing) was because no one would pay them anymore to lobby for structural change (the structure was working perfectly well for the wealthy).

The profession has been debating for the past 100 years over whether we should or should not be focusing on mental health treatment. The mental health treatment has won over, because again, there is no money in fighting for justice.

But any social work program worth its salt will train students to understand that they are not merely underpaid psychologists.
 
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I once roomed with an unemployed alcoholic that I later found out use to be an affluent business man; if he had been treated (or sought treatment) early on, perhaps this could have prevented his unfortunate plunge into poverty. Mental illness, substance abuse, falling into medical crisis with the inability to organize the many facets of your life that don't stop because you are hospitalized; all of these things can negatively impact the poor and the wealthy alike. Limiting social work treatment to those already suffering is seriously limiting the proactive or preventative aspect of social work. But what do I know, I'm still in my first year...
 

erg923

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Social Work Code of Ethics: "Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability."

Do you think that treating someone with mental illness is somehow eliminating domination, exploitation, or discrimination against people with mental illness? How so? I am open-minded about this.

Value: Social Justice

Ethical Principle: Social workers challenge social injustice.
Social workers pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. Social workers’ social change efforts are focused primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice. These activities seek to promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers strive to ensure access to needed information, services, and resources; equality of opportunity; and meaningful participation in decision making for all people.

I just don't see how curing someone of depression accomplishes "social change." How does it "promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression?"

Anyway, it is a fact that the historical reason social workers started treating the mentally ill (which psychologists had already been doing) was because no one would pay them anymore to lobby for structural change (the structure was working perfectly well for the wealthy).

The profession has been debating for the past 100 years over whether we should or should not be focusing on mental health treatment. The mental health treatment has won over, because again, there is no money in fighting for justice.

But any social work program worth its salt will train students to understand that they are not merely underpaid psychologists.
Ethics codes are behavioral guides, not job descriptions. Don't be so concrete.
 
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I once roomed with an unemployed alcoholic that I later found out use to be an affluent business man; if he had been treated (or sought treatment) early on, perhaps this could have prevented his unfortunate plunge into poverty. Mental illness, substance abuse, falling into medical crisis with the inability to organize the many facets of your life that don't stop because you are hospitalized; all of these things can negatively impact the poor and the wealthy alike. Limiting social work treatment to those already suffering is seriously limiting the proactive or preventative aspect of social work. But what do I know, I'm still in my first year...
I think we need to re-frame this discussion because we are going in circles. I'll drop the social justice term.

There is a concrete difference between treating an individual, and treating social systems. So I am comparing the difference between someone walking into an office and being treated for mental illness, versus someone providing services to the poor. Why?

Because mental illness is not inherently a social problem. Yes, social forces do play a role in mental illness, absolutely. Discrimination, bullying, etc. but the problem can be addressed by working almost exclusively with the individual.

You can't say the same for a person who is living in poverty. You might argue you could give them job training etc. but that is exactly the misconception. Ultimately the problem does not lie within the individual, it lies within the system. There is simply not enough jobs. No amount of individual education and job training can change that.

If you want to help poor people, you have to work within a social system.

Social workers should have a particular understanding of these social systems, one that enables them to navigate and make responsible changes. Clinical therapists in private practice don't do this, for the most part.
 
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Goobernut

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I think we need to re-frame this discussion because we are going in circles. I'll drop the social justice term.

There is a concrete difference between treating an individual, and treating social systems. So I am comparing the difference between someone walking into an office and being treated for mental illness, versus someone providing services to the poor. Why?

Because mental illness is not inherently a social problem. Yes, social forces do play a role in mental illness, absolutely. Discrimination, bullying, etc. but the problem can be addressed by working almost exclusively with the individual.

You can't say the same for a person who is living in poverty. You might argue you could give them job training etc. but that is exactly the misconception. Ultimately the problem does not lie within the individual, it lies within the system. There is simply not enough jobs. No amount of individual education and job training can change that.

If you want to help poor people, you have to work within a social system.

Social workers should have a particular understanding of these social systems, one that enables them to navigate and make responsible changes. Clinical therapists in private practice don't do this, for the most part.
I am also a 2nd year MSW student. I'm in concentration year with a direct practice concentration, and I've been through all the same first year classes. Honestly, I loooooove social work. Sometimes I question my educational path, but usually I come back around to being very grateful for my psych BS and my current MSW studies. I really feel like it gives me the best of both worlds.

I'll be honest here, you sound like a Community student with a very limited understanding of mental health. What is your undergraduate degree in? What are you concentrating in? On top of that, you keep using the phrase mental illness. I have not heard that phrase used in my program in a while. What happened to "person-first" language? You are arguing social work points, but the language you use doesn't seem as if you have had much mental health training from a social work perspective.

To address the first bolded paragraph: I do not agree with your statement from a social work perspective. I don't know about your program, but mine pretty much beat into my head the idea of "person in environment." I doubt that you would find many clinical social workers who would agree with your statement, "but the problem can be addressed by working almost exclusively with the individual." I think that psychologists would even disagree to an extent with that statement. Yes, sure, your face to face work is directly with the client, but that doesn't mean that the clients environment isn't addressed. The client's family and many things about their environment will be discussed and addressed. As a clinical social worker, you should be advocating for your population. This could mean volunteering on a local community board for a homeless task force. It could mean volunteering at your local soup kitchen. It could mean that while you are in private practice you make sure that 10% of your client time is pro-bono. All of these options are valid as a social worker. I do not agree with your notion that social workers should only work with social systems. Not only all of that, but social work teaches that some mental health issues can RESULT FROM social problems. To piggy back on that, I know that you HAVE to have heard of the ACE study, right? If you have not, please take a moment to look it up. You even make the argument in previous posts for why social workers make better clinicians than some of the other theoretical perspectives! So why are you telling us to all become community track students??

On to the first underlined sentence... Again, I feel like you are a community practice student who loves what they do and feel as if their social work is the only type of social work on the planet. Mental health NEEDS advocates at a systemic level. I believe that social work as a profession would encourage clinical practice to understand best how laws should be enacted. That's almost what the MSW is all about! Having a foundation as a jack of all trades so that you can grasp the big picture. It's why our education is sooooooooooooo broad, because the profession believes that the combined foundation of micro and macro is essential. Social work is ALL of it, not just advocating at a system level.

Let me illustrate my point in another way. Germany is a socialist country. They have soooooo many social programs in place, it would make your head spin. Is homelessness eradicated? Nope. Is unemployment eradicated... Nope. You can fix the system, but some of these issues STILL exist. I personally think any well trained therapist should be able to do great one on one work with clients, but since you've gone all social worky gung-ho on us, wouldn't YOU prefer a clinical social worker to DO that one on one work? I mean, do you even realize what you are advocating for when you say social workers shouldn't be working in a clinical therapy setting?

Now the second underlined part. Like erg mentioned before, private practice is more than just cash only patients. You keep using the phrase "private practice" and I'm not even sure you know what private practice IS. I'm not even sure that you know what clinical therapists DO from the language you use in your posts. Triken said, "I just don't see how curing someone of depression accomplishes "social change." How does it "promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression?" Firstly, the first sentence is not correct from a social work perspective. We don't "cure" anyone as a clinical social worker. That implies that everyone who goes to see a clinical social worker is "sick." People who are depressed aren't sick. They don't have an "illness" per say. It's why there was the language shift to "clients" instead of using the word "patients." The word patient implies they are sick. Secondly, see my point below about empowering clients to do their own work, their own advocacy. You promote sensitivity and knowledge about oppression directly to the oppressed.

Triken said, "Do you think that treating someone with mental illness is somehow eliminating domination, exploitation, or discrimination against people with mental illness? How so? I am open-minded about this." Yes, it is eliminating the exploitation of people with mental illness because by working one on one with that population you are EMPOWERING them. By assisting the client, you enable to them to do more for themselves.
 
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Goobernut

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Sorry, one last point and then I'm done for the night.

"In order to maintain their professional status, social workers shifted their focus from structural change to care management. In other words, treating the symptom rather than the disease." I am curious to know what you think care management is? Because what I know of case management is nothing close to "treating a symptom." Good care/case management is preventive/system care. It's about making sure the client's system is addressed rather than just the individual. Case managers at the master's level deliver a far superior product to case managers at a bachelor's level. Even if you weren't talking about "case management" I think you are confused on the history of social work. Social workers have historically done care management. The cornerstone of social work was going house to house and addressing practical needs. Another example is Jane Addams and settlement homes. It wasn't just about doing legislative/systemic work, it was about modeling behavior for the oppressed on a micro level.

I apologize if I seemed to take anything a little personally or if I seem like I'm attacking you Triken. I'm actually just honestly bewildered at some of your statements.
 
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Hi Goobernut,

You got me pegged. I have not taken psych social work courses other than one that gave overviews of past theories (ego, attachment, humanist etc.) I did do a psych undergrad but it was mostly research based. I am a community student. I'm surprised how easily you picked that up, maybe I should take a clinical elective.

I am aware of the person-in-environment model but it has not been beat into me. And I just can't agree that discussing family and outside forces is the same as getting out there and doing something about it.

I do agree that a therapist volunteering for a homeless task force is participating in social change. But in practice (no pun intended) it is usually an afterthought, not the main motivating factor for the therapist.

And I don't think that social workers should only work for social change. But I definitely think it is one of the things that all social workers should do.

I also don't think all clinical students should become community. But I do think that the ratio has gotten out of hand considering how much social injustice there is in our country and how few other professions are doing anything about it. In my school its something like a 90/10 split. It's probably more balanced at other schools. 30 years ago you would find a 50/50 split. So I do think more students should do community, but not all.

You sound like a clinical social work student who will adeptly integrate social work values into your work. Hats off, honestly.

I respect everything that you have said. I'm sorry if it doesn't come across that way.

.
 
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sb247

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Ultimately the problem does not lie within the individual, it lies within the system. There is simply not enough jobs. No amount of individual education and job training can change that.

If you want to help poor people, you have to work within a social system.
.
Bull&[email protected]"...this is "I'm a student who hasn't lived the real world yet" talk

Those with skills and training (with the exception of a few unfortunate fields) can absolutely find work. I was a hiring manager and it was a ton of effort to find people with real trade skills, the unskilled labor was lined up around the block but try to find a skilled trim carpenter? Much harder, they have jobs already

You fix someone's poverty by getting them healthy and skilled
 

erg923

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Because mental illness is not inherently a social problem.
This statement convinces me that you have never seen an actual patient, and it makes me seriously doubt that you have EVER worked with any disadvanataged populations out in the actual community. Serioulsy, what an ignorant thing to say. At least have the humility to look up relevant peer review literature on the topic for goodness sake. Here's start. you can go from there.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15954202

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16756399

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23983478

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23676412

If this post comes off as curt, its because there are few things more frustrating than someone who "discovers" social activism in academia and then proceeds to ooze expertise on the topic and the history of profession to the point of hubris. As a Catholic Christian who was raised with the values of social activism and has been doing it all his life, its rather annoying to lectured on the "true" meaning of this ideal and to essentially be told that the probono health service work I do in local retirement communities "does not qualify" cause the patients aren't indegent. Social justice takes many forms. Your limiting your profession to service to/helping of the poor is insulting. Your assertion that an professional ethics code should dictate ones specific job description is flawed.

Most of what you asserting here is actually socialism and socialistic economic policies, not "social work" or "social justice"..... big difference.
 
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Mad Jack

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You have quite a misguided sense of idealism.

Depression is often a direct result of poverty, substance abuse, unemployment, and inequality. People who suffer from depression often cannot gather the strength to get up and do the things that would improve their life, leading to a vicious cycle of "I'm depressed because I'm poor but I feel powerless to improve my situation because my depression leaves me practically paralyzed with hopelessness."

Social work isn't just about connecting people with programs. The best social workers I knew are the ones that would provide their clients with the skills they needed to no longer require those programs in the first place. Often, a first start to that process is providing them with the skills and resources they need to cope with their depression, so they can take the next step forward and re-enter the workforce, college, or career training.

You sound like the sort of person that believes the only purpose of a social worker is to connect the poor with programs that can help ease their poverty. How does that actually help eliminate social injustice? All you are doing is perpetuating injustice by keeping people within the system of welfare and social services, rather than providing them with the tools they need to no longer require such support. You're entrenching injustice, not fixing it, giving a man a fish rather than teaching him to do so. Mental health services, job training programs and grants, college education, and employment services are the best things you could possibly provide if you want to actually achieve the goals you so strongly espouse to.
 

Goobernut

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Mad Jack said:

"Depression is often a direct result of poverty, substance abuse, unemployment, and inequality. People who suffer from depression often cannot gather the strength to get up and do the things that would improve their life, leading to a vicious cycle of "I'm depressed because I'm poor but I feel powerless to improve my situation because my depression leaves me practically paralyzed with hopelessness."


I really need to work on being concise. Not only is this shorter than my post, it's better :)


Triken,you are right in that social work NEEDS it's community students. It is a core function of social work, I think we do need to advocate for community work within our own programs. At my university, ACP (advanced community practice) students make up about 20% of our total program. Please continue to advocate for community work, but don't start out with what we shouldn't be doing :) I think if you had posted and asked how any MSWs plan to incorporate social justice into our practice you would have been pleasantly surprised at our answers.

Also, not all people who pick an LCSW do it because "it was an easier route." I did a lot of evaluating and yes, I picked the LCSW because of licensure issues, but also because I found I genuinely enjoyed the social work perspective. I would never recommend it across the board to everyone. I could have gotten any number of degrees -- yes even a PhD. I don't say that lightly, it was a difficult decision!! I also really enjoy my role as a generalist. Not in strictly the social work sense that generalist = case manager, but in that I really enjoy my place in healthcare. This may sound weird to some, but I LOVE being a mid-level practitioner. I find being the front line provider very satisfying. My goal after graduating is to work on a primary care interdisciplinary healthcare team (or on a PACT in the VA) -- being that "generalist" or primary care provider of mental health. I evaluate and refer if necessary. I didn't choose to be a mid-level provider via social work because I couldn't be something else, it's because I know my personality and saw it as a best fit.
 
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sb247, this is incorrect. Statistically there are not enough jobs to afford every American adult a decent (above poverty) living wage. This is why "real world" experience doesn't always trump academia. Just because there were plenty of jobs where you worked doesn't mean it represents the whole country.

erg923, you continue to miss my point. The argument is this: A clinician working in private practice treating only those who are financially well-off should not be thought of as practicing social justice. It is doing something which I think is important and valuable, no less important than community practice. But it has a different kind of value. It is not directly targeting structural forces of oppression. If you can come up with a better term than "social justice" for it, then I will use that. But it has its own, distinct value. The extreme swing in the profession towards clinical work in the past 30 years (co-inciding with the massive rise in economic inequality) puts the profession in serious risk of losing a major part of its professional identity. A 50/50 is ideal. 80/20 is not. If you want to say that the profession would still be practicing "social justice" if it were to become full 100/0 clinical, than fine. But I think it would lose something of value, however you want to define that.

Mad Jack, it is typical for people to believe that they can fix the problems of the oppressed by changing something about them. As if the problem somehow lies within them. Or, if that is too extreme for you, as if the non-disadvantaged don't have to make any changes themselves. I wouldn't go so far as to say its "blame the victim" (although many people do) but its unrealistic to think you can address the massive economic divide in America without the priviledged changing something about themselves as well. Currently 80% of all of the nation's wealth is owned by the top 10%. Educating and treating the bottom 90% isn't going to fix that.

Goobernut, absolutely. Advocating that clinical students incorporate social justice would have been a better approach. But the main thrust was that if you have no interest in social justice, social work is not right for you. And I said that "many" students go into M.S.W. programs simply because it is cheaper and easier to obtain licensure than clinical psychology. Many is probably not a majority. But a sizable minority nonetheless, and growing.

P.S. please read my replies to the other posts, I think it clarifies my position better.
 
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sb247

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sb247, this is incorrect. Statistically there are not enough jobs to afford every Americans a decent (above poverty) living wage. This is why "real world" experience doesn't always trump academia. Just because there were plenty of jobs where you worked doesn't mean it represents the whole country.
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not every american has a skillset and work ethic with a cash value above the living wage.

Those who do, find jobs
 
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Goobernut

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Goobernut, absolutely. Advocating that clinical students incorporate social justice would have been a better approach. But the main thrust was that if you have no interest in social justice, social work is not right for you. And I said that "many" students go into M.S.W. programs simply because it is cheaper and easier to obtain licensure than clinical psychology. They may also be attracted to the person-in-environment model, which is not inherently dealing with the kind of work i am discussing, so long as it stays within the four walls. I would say this is probably not even the majority, but a sizable minority nonetheless, and potentially growing.
I think you are taking your experience and generalizing it to all MSW students. I honestly think you are perpetuating a stereotype and not doing the social work field any favors. I could counter with the fact that most people in my MSW program picked social work over counseling simply because of the community training (and not just PIE). Most people in my program are NOT as educated about licensure issues as I am hahaha, and not a single member of my cohort picked social work based on licensure issues alone. Another anecdotal example is that there are several students in my program who are direct practice because they want to go into academia. In the whole social work PhD model, students are highly encouraged to get their MSW, do two years and get their LCSW, then apply to PhD programs.

You keep discussing what clinical social work is, while on the other hand you have admitted that you are not studying it in your program. I agree with your main statement that if an individual is not interested in social justice they should not enter an MSW program. That is 100% good advice and correct in my opinion. Yet you keep talking about clinical social work as if it is limited to "four walls." I think many people in this thread have given excellent examples of why this is not the case.

Please, go do some self-education on what direct social work practice is before you critique it. I say this in the most respectful way possible, and seriously not in a snarky way. You keep using words and phrases that illustrate you are educated on only the most basic level about DP and clinical social work. My advice is that if you want to continue this conversation in a productive way, please go find some statistics that prove your statement, "And I said that "many" students go into M.S.W. programs simply because it is cheaper and easier to obtain licensure than clinical psychology." Honestly, it's not cheaper, because most PhD programs are funded. MSW programs are not.

And to add productively to this conversation, I'll go find some peer reviewed/textbook information on why clinical social work is not just "four walls" etc...
 

erg923

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A 50/50 is ideal. 80/20 is not. If you want to say that the profession would still be practicing "social justice" if it were to become full 100/0 clinical, than fine. But I think it would lose something of value, however you want to define that..
This is opinion that is based on your opinion of what constitutes social justice (which is overly narrow, superficial, and clearly has a marxist socioeconomic slant to it), which, in your opinion, should be the primary work duty of a social worker.
 
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Mad Jack

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sb247, this is incorrect. Statistically there are not enough jobs to afford every American adult a decent (above poverty) living wage. This is why "real world" experience doesn't always trump academia. Just because there were plenty of jobs where you worked doesn't mean it represents the whole country.

erg923, you continue to miss my point. The argument is this: A clinician working in private practice treating only those who are financially well-off should not be thought of as practicing social justice. It is doing something which I think is important and valuable, no less important than community practice. But it has a different kind of value. It is not directly targeting structural forces of oppression. If you can come up with a better term than "social justice" for it, then I will use that. But it has its own, distinct value. The extreme swing in the profession towards clinical work in the past 30 years (co-inciding with the massive rise in economic inequality) puts the profession in serious risk of losing a major part of its professional identity. A 50/50 is ideal. 80/20 is not. If you want to say that the profession would still be practicing "social justice" if it were to become full 100/0 clinical, than fine. But I think it would lose something of value, however you want to define that.

Mad Jack, it is typical for people to believe that they can fix the problems of the oppressed by changing something about them. As if the problem somehow lies within them. Or, if that is too extreme for you, as if the non-disadvantaged don't have to make any changes themselves. I wouldn't go so far as to say its "blame the victim" (although many people do) but its unrealistic to think you can address the massive economic divide in America without the priviledged changing something about themselves as well. Currently 80% of all of the nation's wealth is owned by the top 10%. Educating and treating the bottom 90% isn't going to fix that.

Goobernut, absolutely. Advocating that clinical students incorporate social justice would have been a better approach. But the main thrust was that if you have no interest in social justice, social work is not right for you. And I said that "many" students go into M.S.W. programs simply because it is cheaper and easier to obtain licensure than clinical psychology. Many is probably not a majority. But a sizable minority nonetheless, and growing.

P.S. please read my replies to the other posts, I think it clarifies my position better.
You're pretty much equating being a social worker with being a professional socialist. Social workers don't have to live by your arbitrary dogma of what it means to be one. As society changes, so too do the missions of professions. You want things to stay rooted in the old philosophical foundations of social work, but many of your colleagues are more than happy to engage in a more modern, individual-focused approach. If you want to "fix" the system, be a politician, not a MSW. That you believe saving individuals from a life of persistent struggle by giving them the skills to actually find life-long, meaningful employment is somehow pointless is ridiculous and shows how few of your target demographic you've actually worked with. Few of the poor will actually go out and acquire the skills necessary to find gainful employment, even with a myriad of resources available to them, because many simply do not want to put forth the effort to acquire them and establish a decent career. Because there will always be a group of people that are unwilling to become skilled laborers, the laborers that do put forth the effort to gain an employable skill set will generally always find gainful employment.

By what right does every working individual deserve a living wage? If an employer can hire someone that is willing to work for less because the person has no skills and therefore brings little value to the bargaining table, why should that employer not then be able to pay someone less? Skilled workers make more than minimum wage, those without skills often do not. It is also not a person's right to have a job, as jobs are provided by employers to make more money, and if more money cannot be made there is no reason to hire someone. If these "underpaid and unjustly unemployed" people have such useful skills and are being deprived of their living wage, they should take out a small business loan and start their own business- but, right, they don't have skills nor do they have the ability to run a business, which is why they are underpaid or unemployed to begin with.

And why should the top 10% change their ways? They are the ones doing things right, as evidenced by their success. They've generally acquired educations, worked hard, saved hard, and invested wisely. Before I entered medical school, I invested a substantial portion of my income, and had a net worth significantly higher than most of my peers. Even with my middle-class job, I was well on track to have a 7 figure portfolio by my mid 40s, and far beyond that by retirement thanks to the wonders of compound interest. Wealth is not difficult to acquire if you appropriately prioritize your career goals and savings. People with wealth understand this, those without it do not. Money, to those that understand it, is not a means to the end that is "stuff" and consumerism. It is the ticket by which you may acquire a degree of freedom that those without money do not possess. To get that freedom, however, requires hard work, discipline, and a lot of patience. To be punished via excessive taxation and wealth redistribution for your hard efforts and restraint so that those who chose not to work hard, that do not know how to manage their finances, and do not care to acquire skills may prosper is ridiculous.

We need to focus on bringing those at the bottom up, not those at the top down. There's plenty of ways to do this in a global economy, as open markets allow for capital influx that keep things from being a zero sum equation for Americans, where one group must lose so that the other might win.
 

erg923

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You're pretty much equating being a social worker with being a professional socialist.
This.

Like others, I suspect you have never really worked with any of the populations or issues you seem to have become so passionate about. When you do, you will come to realize that fighting social disparities (i.e., povery and wealth inequities) is about forming relationships and bringing people up (spiritually, psychologically, behaviorally) not about "giving them stuff" and/or "leveling the playing field" FOR them. Guess what? Life ain't fair and the playing field aint ever going to be equal. Even my 5 year old knows this.

And again, I fight "the man" and dysfunctional or unjust systems everyday when I advocate and help my patients. To assert that you dont think clinical service delivery is "social justice" or doesnt "help the poor" tells me you dont have a ****ing clue about what clinical work (even in private practice) really entails. So, until you do, I would suggest presenting your opinion with little less pretentiousness.
 
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1. Social work historically was formed to deal with issues of poverty.
2. The middle class supported this work, because they feared falling into poverty themselves.
3. During the progressive era, the middle class stopped being concerned about falling into poverty. Their interest shifted into preventing class warfare. The upper class was happy to support the middle class in these efforts.
4. Social workers stopped organizing strikes, and began to provide case management and therapy.
5. As recently as 30 years ago, there was a 50/50 split. We saw a resurgence during the civil rights movement. Now there is a 80/20. Few social workers are trying to change the status quo.
6. We need more macro social workers, and more clinicians willing to risk their professional status in the name of social change.

If you all want to get into the amelioration vs. social control debate we can. But I'm sure you will dismiss the control side offhand, when in reality it is in fact at least a combination of the two.

You're doing a disservice to your work if you don't acknowledge the control aspect of it.

"That you believe saving individuals from a life of persistent struggle by giving them the skills to actually find life-long, meaningful employment is somehow pointless is ridiculous and shows how few of your target demographic you've actually worked with."

It is a fact. Not my opinion. You can look it up. The numbers don't add up. There are not enough jobs to provide for the number of Americans in our country. You could educate the **** our of everyone, give everyone training in all fields, and the jobs aren't there. Sorry.

"By what right does every working individual deserve a living wage?" When the top 10% control 80% of the wealth, it is insane to argue that people should be going hungry. You think our economy is about merit? It's not. It's mostly a lottery, with "deserve" making up a small fraction of the equation. Your idealism of capitalism is a pipe dream.

"Even with my middle-class job, I was well on track to have a 7 figure portfolio by my mid 40s, and far beyond that by retirement thanks to the wonders of compound interest." Tell me more about your rise to glory and riches through hard work and determination. I'll tell you about the millions of americans condemned to a life of poverty from the moment they were born.
 
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Therapist4Chnge

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...you will come to realize that fighting social disparities (i.e., poverty and wealth inequities) is about forming relationships and bringing people up (spiritually, psychologically, behaviorally) not about "giving them stuff" and/or "leveling the playing field" FOR them.
I like to think of it as the difference between a hand up and a hand out. There are many instances where a person may not be able to make it on their own, but there *are* opportunities for more training or coaching that can get a foot in the door. Mad Jack touched on some of the differences in his/her manual labor v. skilled labor example of how training matters. Unfortunately many of the primarily social services are setup in such a way that there is a disincentive to work, which causes retention of recipients and not graduates of the system. The result is people become more reliant on the system and feel less able to be their own agent of change.
 

erg923

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1. Social work historically was formed to deal with issues of poverty.
2. The middle class supported this work, because they feared falling into poverty themselves.
3. During the progressive era, the middle class stopped being concerned about falling into poverty. Their interest shifted into preventing class warfare. The upper class was happy to support the middle class in these efforts.
4. Social workers stopped organizing strikes, and began to provide case management and therapy.
5. As recently as 30 years ago, there was a 50/50 split. We saw a resurgence during the civil rights movement. Now there is a 80/20. Few social workers are trying to change the status quo.
6. We need more macro social workers, and more clinicians willing to risk their professional status in the name of social change.
Triken,
This is exactly the kind of **** I (and a couple others) are talking about. You take your first intro to social work class and now your an expert espousing the grandness and purity of the field. Spare me the history lectures and just respnd to my post/points, aight?.

Holding onto ideals is important. Clinical Psychology has things is will always have to hold onto. However, job descriptions, job duties, and overall focus and roles within a larger system will always be changing. Professions that do not evolve die or become irrelevant. This is standard common knowledge in industry, manufacturing, medicine, etc. Your precious social work is not immune to this fact. I suggest you get used to that or else you are going to be very dissappointed 20 years from now.

You think our economy is about merit? It's not. It's mostly a lottery, with "deserve" making up a small fraction of the equation. Your idealism of capitalism is a pipe dream.

"Even with my middle-class job, I was well on track to have a 7 figure portfolio by my mid 40s, and far beyond that by retirement thanks to the wonders of compound interest." Tell me more about your rise to glory and riches through hard work and determination. I'll tell you about the millions of americans condemned to a life of poverty from the moment they were born.
Pinko Commie rag...(sigh)

Tricken, none of this is "social jusice." Its Communism. Admit it. The last sentence sure makes you sound like martyr though.
 
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sb247

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I like to think of it as the difference between a hand up and a hand out. There are many instances where a person may not be able to make it on their own, but there *are* opportunities for more training or coaching that can get a foot in the door for people willing to work a job in support of eventually having a chance at a career. Mad Jack touched on some of the differences in his/her manual labor v. skilled labor example of how training matters. Unfortunately many of the primarily social services are setup in such a way that there is a disincentive to work, which causes retention of recipients and not graduates of the system.
I've had men ask me to fire them. They realized that the food stamps/welfare/unemployment/free health care of being unemployed added up to within a few hundred dollars a month as the amount they made working and buying their own insurance

our safety net is a snare that trains people to not work
 

Therapist4Chnge

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It is a fact. Not my opinion. You can look it up. The numbers don't add up. There are not enough jobs to provide for the number of Americans in our country. You could educate the **** our of everyone, give everyone training in all fields, and the jobs aren't there. Sorry.
That is a red herring in this argument. There are many factors that influence available jobs. In regard to available jobs, there is an incongruence between what is being offered and what people are willing to do. There are literally hundreds of thousands of jobs out there that haven't been filled (both skilled and unskilled). There are many factors as to why (e.g. training, access, pay, etc) but many of those things can be navigated if needed. It isn't purely a problem of, "there are not enough jobs for everyone."
 

Therapist4Chnge

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I've had men ask me to fire them. They realized that the food stamps/welfare/unemployment/free health care of being unemployed added up to within a few hundred dollars a month as the amount they made working and buying their own insurance
This scenario is quite common, as people can then work "under the table" and come out ahead working 15-20hr/wk instead of 40-50+. Beyond the unfairness to everyone else, that is a hard argument to win if you just rely on the numbers.
 

Mad Jack

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1. Social work historically was formed to deal with issues of poverty.
2. The middle class supported this work, because they feared falling into poverty themselves.
3. During the progressive era, the middle class stopped being concerned about falling into poverty. Their interest shifted into preventing class warfare. The upper class was happy to support the middle class in these efforts.
4. Social workers stopped organizing strikes, and began to provide case management and therapy.
5. As recently as 30 years ago, there was a 50/50 split. We saw a resurgence during the civil rights movement. Now there is a 80/20. Few social workers are trying to change the status quo.
6. We need more macro social workers, and more clinicians willing to risk their professional status in the name of social change.

If you all want to get into the amelioration vs. social control debate we can. But I'm sure you will dismiss the control side offhand, when in reality it is in fact at least a combination of the two.

You're doing a disservice to your work if you don't acknowledge the control aspect of it.

"That you believe saving individuals from a life of persistent struggle by giving them the skills to actually find life-long, meaningful employment is somehow pointless is ridiculous and shows how few of your target demographic you've actually worked with."

It is a fact. Not my opinion. You can look it up. The numbers don't add up. There are not enough jobs to provide for the number of Americans in our country. You could educate the **** our of everyone, give everyone training in all fields, and the jobs aren't there. Sorry.

"By what right does every working individual deserve a living wage?" When the top 10% control 80% of the wealth, it is insane to argue that people should be going hungry. You think our economy is about merit? It's not. It's mostly a lottery, with "deserve" making up a small fraction of the equation. Your idealism of capitalism is a pipe dream.

"Even with my middle-class job, I was well on track to have a 7 figure portfolio by my mid 40s, and far beyond that by retirement thanks to the wonders of compound interest." Tell me more about your rise to glory and riches through hard work and determination. I'll tell you about the millions of americans condemned to a life of poverty from the moment they were born.
So on points one through six, you're just restating things that you've already stated like, 3 times.

It is a fact. Not my opinion. You can look it up. The numbers don't add up. There are not enough jobs to provide for the number of Americans in our country. You could educate the **** our of everyone, give everyone training in all fields, and the jobs aren't there. Sorry.

Not everyone will become a skilled laborer. Most people don't have the drive. There are enough jobs for those that would seek to acquire the skills necessary to attain gainful employment.

"By what right does every working individual deserve a living wage?" When the top 10% control 80% of the wealth, it is insane to argue that people should be going hungry. You think our economy is about merit? It's not. It's mostly a lottery, with "deserve" making up a small fraction of the equation. Your idealism of capitalism is a pipe dream.

I don't idealize capitalism. But here's the thing- those that have acquired wealth, be it via their own hard work, or through the hard work of their parents and had it passed down to them, deserve it. If I were to save millions in my life and decide that the thing that would make me happiest would be to pass that money down to my children, and my children's children, that is my right, and I've earned the right to do so by virtue of my work. Most successful people I know were not born wealthy, they were middle class and worked their way to a higher income bracket. Sure, it's easier for a person that comes from wealth to become successful, but it isn't impossible for a person coming from the lower or middle class to educate themselves and end up in a high paying career, given that student loans are guaranteed and provided by the government. I had no help, I grew up poor, and I made it into medical school just fine.

So far as people going hungry- my argument is simply that it is not an employer's responsibility to pay more than they have to for labor. If people are willing to work for minimum wage, rather than attaining an education or skills and moving up in the workforce, that is their choice. Employers shouldn't have to pay them more than they are willing to work for. As another tangent, if they have a problem with their wages, they can go on strike, try to unionize, whatever. They have that right, and yet they do not exercise it very often because the same sort of complacency that leads people into minimum wage careers makes them unlikely to unionize. And then, employers have the right to close down stores that unionize if they deem them to not be profitable post-unionization. Workers already have rights, it is not the fault of employers that they do not exercise them.

"Even with my middle-class job, I was well on track to have a 7 figure portfolio by my mid 40s, and far beyond that by retirement thanks to the wonders of compound interest." Tell me more about your rise to glory and riches through hard work and determination. I'll tell you about the millions of americans condemned to a life of poverty from the moment they were born.

Per the statistics, I should have been "condemned to a life of poverty from the day I was born." And if I'd met people that told me that sort of thing, I might have ended up just another poor white kid in a mountain town sponging off of welfare and social services, bitter at the "rich" that were keeping "my share" from me. But I never heard from people like you, thank God, and I went to community college, worked hard, got a job in health care, and kept on going until I got into medical school. No one is completely screwed from the start, unless they are actually developmentally delayed or have a physical impairment that makes work difficult. Telling people they are screwed from the start, and coming at the problem of poverty from a paternalistic "taking care of those that can't take care of themselves" attitude does nothing but perpetuate their helplessness and continue the cycle of poverty.
 
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How many practicing social workers have been participating in this thread? I am aware that all of you have been telling me that as a second year grad student in social work I don't have the experience required to talk about the profession.

"Telling people they are screwed from the start, and coming at the problem of poverty from a paternalistic "taking care of those that can't take care of themselves" attitude does nothing but perpetuate their helplessness and continue the cycle of poverty."

Again: 80% of all of the nation's wealth is controlled by the top 10%. How can you possibly, in your right mind, as a rationale thinking human being with a high school diploma, possibly suggest that our economy functions on principles of merit and fairness? It is mind-boggling.

Also there is a third option. 1 = give a hand out. 2= give a hand up. 3 = bring the people on the top down. I'm advocating that we (mostly) leave the underprivileged alone (except for empowering them to work against the status quo... not fit into it). How does that translate to "taking care of those that can't take care of themselves"

Which is what we have to do considering that the top 10% control... you get the point.
 
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Therapist4Chnge

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I don't idealize capitalism. But here's the thing- those that have acquired wealth, be it via their own hard work, or through the hard work of their parents and had it passed down to them, deserve it. If I were to save millions in my life and decide that the thing that would make me happiest would be to pass that money down to my children, and my children's children, that is my right, and I've earned the right to do so by virtue of my work. Most successful people I know were not born wealthy, they were middle class and worked their way to a higher income bracket. Sure, it's easier for a person that comes from wealth to become successful, but it isn't impossible for a person coming from the lower or middle class to educate themselves and end up in a high paying career, given that student loans are guaranteed and provided by the government. I had no help, I grew up poor, and I made it into medical school just fine.
I agree with most everything you wrote, though I just wanted to point out that the bolded part is becoming harder and harder. There has been some interesting research coming out in the past decade or so on the shrinking #'s of people who are able to make the jump between classes within their own lifetime. I can't speak to the 100% objectivity of the research (as I've only seen it referenced), but I thought it was worth noting.
 
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Therapist4Chnge

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Again: 80% of all of the nation's wealth is controlled by the top 10%. How can you possibly, in your right mind, as a rationale thinking human being with a high school diploma, possibly suggest that our economy functions on principles of merit and fairness? It is mind-boggling.
The golden rule applies….those who have the gold make the rules. I view that as a given, though it isn't an absolute dictatorship either. Socialism isn't a panacea, so I'm not sure harping on the distribution of wealth is going to get you very far. Forced redistribution of wealth is an even harder mountain to climb.
 

erg923

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Triken,
All this is mind boggling cause you are a Communist. You are advoating the "restribution of wealth" and the micromanaging of the markets by an overseeing authority. That's Communism. That not "social work" for goodness sake!

3 social workers in my clinic have looked over some of your postings here, and all agree that you simply have "a gross misunderstanding of the field", along with "a difficuty seperating personal beliefs from professional roles and obligations." Perhaps this should tell you something?
 
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I don't see how you got from what I said to the assumption that I am arguing for the redistribution of wealth. I did say we need to take the top down, but I don't mean by taking away their resources. We need to change the entire system. It's going to happen one way or another with the global economy and technology, but here's to hoping it will be more fair and equal (tell me one more time, how an economy in which the bottom 90% controls 20% of wealth is fair???). I don't support redistribution as the solution.

Somehow I doubt that in your office while doing your professional duties three social workers took the time to read over my postings and come to a consensus about my professional abilities. Just because you can't use your personal political beliefs in therapy doesn't mean you can't in social activism.
 
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erg923

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I don't see how you got from what I said to the assumption that I am arguing for the redistribution of wealth. I did say we need to take the top down, but I don't mean by taking away their resources. We need to change the entire system. It's going to happen one way or another with the global economy and technology, but here's to hoping we can engineer it to be better and not worse. I do have to do more study in this area, but I don't support redistribution as a solution.

Somehow I doubt that in your office while doing your professional duties three social workers took the time to read over my postings and come to a consensus about my professional abilities. Just because you can't use your personal political beliefs in therapy doesn't mean you can't in social activism.

Also you've kept a very close on on this thread throughout the entire day. While were firing personal attacks, what exactly is it that you do?
Its a slow day at the VA...
 

erg923

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(tell me one more time, how an economy in which the bottom 90% controls 20% of wealth is fair???)
FAIR?! It's not. Nothing in life is "fair." Fair, as in "equal potential for all," is a man-made construct that is not known or found in the natural world. Mathematical laws insure a distribution of abilities, situations, and circumstances in the human race.

In order to assist those in need, we work WITH them and WITH social instititions. The idea of changing all of society/culture to acommodate people, whether its through handouts or through the artificial manipulation of markets, keeps people trapped and dependent. That is a commision of social injustice to your follow man, and it is IMPOSSIBLE to maintain on any large scale for any signficant length of time. You think its coincidence that every society that had has communism impossed on them has fought back vigorously?! It doesnt work, kiddo. It just doesn't.
 
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Do not call me kiddo, grandpa. Not only are you arguing on the side of injustice, you're also wrong.

You need to learn that the reason there is so much injustice is because of manipulation of markets. "Manipulation" is the exact right word. It's people who have wealth investing in policies and practices in order to prevent other people from gaining wealth. This is going on all the time, its practically the foundation of what we have right now. If you don't see a problem with this, we have nothing further to discuss.

Here's an example. Oil company invests in an enormously expensive piece of equipment. It then pays scientists to prove it is more safe. It then lobbies Washington to make the equipment a requirement. All small oil companies who can't afford the equipment go out of business.

That is what manipulation looks like. And that is going on all the time. It is exploitation and it is wrong.
 
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erg923

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Do not call me kiddo, grandpa. Not only are you arguing on the side of injustice, you're also wrong.

You need to learn that the reason there is so much injustice is because of manipulation of markets. "Manipulation" is the exact right word. It's people who have wealth investing in policies and practices in order to prevent other people from gaining wealth. This is going on all the time, its practically the foundation of what we have right now. If you don't see a problem with this, we have nothing further to discuss.

Here's an example. Oil company invests in an enormously expensive piece of equipment. It then pays scientists to prove it is more safe. It then lobbies Washington to make the equipment a requirement. All small oil companies who can't afford the equipment go out of business.

That is what manipulation looks like. And that is going on all the time. You can argue there is nothing wrong with that, or that we shouldn't try to do anything about it, but don't act like you care about other people. Because that is the face of exploitation, and exploitation is wrong.
I got about 3 lines into this sob story and lost the motivation to read further.

My suggestion to you is to not to view this in terms of "right" or "wrong," but in terms of what works and what doesn't. I do not view Communism as inherently "wrong." But, it also does not work...and generally, people tend to fight restrictions of their autonomy. This is really not debatable unless you took a different history class than I did?

PS: I am 33.
 
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There are enormous restrictions on autonomy. What makes you think capitalism is working?

50 million in poverty
20% of all children without enough to eat
50% make low income
I could go on but...

you don't care.

 
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erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
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Apr 6, 2007
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There are enormous restrictions on autonomy. What makes you think capitalism is working?

50 million in poverty
20% of all children without enough to eat
50% make low income
I could go on but...

you don't care.

It works because PEOPLE, not governments, make it work. Taking away that personal agency from people is a fantastic way to kick them when they are down though. People are only as disabled as they believe themselves to be. There is alot of power in that belief too. I have an article in press with medical journal that I will pull a line from that you can extrapolate:

A fundamental principle of most psychotherapy treatments, cognitive-behavioral therapy in particular, is that personal agency is a necessary component in the mastering of emotional distress. When one ascribes symptom reduction to a pill rather than their own sense of mastery, I often wonder if we have done them a favor, or simply enrolled them in recurring club membership of which they did not provide full informed consent to join."

What lost communist paradise are your referring to in all this anyway?
 
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Mar 24, 2014
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Hi ya'll, I'm in my second year of M.S.W. program.

Had originally planned for clinical psychology but figured L.C.S.W was easier route.

In my first year we learned the history of social work, and its roots in social justice. Something which at the time I didn't care about. A professor flat out told us that social workers who go into private practice and treat financially well-off clients aren't doing social work.

Many students are still planning to go into private practice and make $$. But I decided it wasn't for me, and that social justice was too important. That is what makes social work different from all the other professions. I actually think we can make great clinicians for this reason, because we are aware of not just of the person, but also the person-in-environment.

My word of caution is: care about social justice. If all you want to do is treat people with mental illness, don't be a social worker. Of course, you can and many people do. But in my opinion you will be better off in school and work if you embrace the heart of our profession.
I see that this whole argument derailed into a political argument, but I wanted to state that as a clinical psychologist, I resent the implication that I am not advocating for social justice. My patients and I battle the system every day. I make a good living and my hospital receives funding in a variety of ways and I participate in that. The social workers at our hospital get paid too. We all work together to try to help people with mental illness. My belief is that each person that you help to change and grow and become more independent and free promotes social justice. I spent a couple of years working with children of the very wealthy. News flash for you, some of them suffered immensely despite having financial resources. Also, since they suffered and benefited from treatment, some of which involved them becoming less material-centric, they also had the potential to be positive forces for change. One nice thing about helping people with resources to grow is that they have more resources to help others. Just food for thought. Don't stop learning, kiddo. (I'm 48) :D
 
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erg, did you watch the video?

Small, we had a debate over the terminology. I was equating social justice to the work that macro social workers alone perform. In reality, they provide something that is different than what clinicians provide. If you don't want to call it social justice, call it structural change. Or whatever term you like, unless you believe that macro social work offers no benefit to society that clinical social work can't provide on its own.

I'm becoming tired of debating social work with doctors and psychologists. This thread was meant for people considering a path in social work, none of which you are. I welcome input from M.S.W.s Whether psychologists want to think they are doing social justice or not is irrelevant to me. My problem is that the divide in social work has swung from 50/50 to 80/20. This suggests that students are becoming less concerned with macro issues, dramatically so, and I think that is a threat to the identity of the profession.
 
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erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
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Louisville, KY
Status
Psychologist
I'm becoming tired of debating social work with doctors and psychologists. This thread was meant for people considering a path in social work, none of which you are. I welcome input from M.S.W.s Whether psychologists want to think they are doing social justice or not is irrelevant to me. .
You sure are as piece of work. So filled with post-adolescent pretension that you don't care to hear about anyone else's advocacy for your precious population? Nice.

Please remember thousands of brave Americans have died for your ability to come on this board and express your pretentious "opinion" and your freedom to advocate the very socioeconomic policies we have fought and died to stop for the past 60 years.

PS: Your video's fast and loose interpretations were "debunked" long ago. Google is your friend.That said, I already discussed with you that "inequity" due to normal distribution is a mathematical certainty. Life IS NOT "fair." Why are you so stubborn about something my 5 year old understands?
 
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"Had originally planned for clinical psychology but figured L.C.S.W was easier route."
:smack: Easier route to what? Being a psychologist? You know that's a social worker's license right? Meh, back to impassioned argument over semantic territory.
 
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Apr 10, 2011
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If that graph is wildly inaccurate, I'd appreciate a link. I doubt it is that far off.

What I am trying to say is that the inequality in our society is not a matter of some people being born smarter and stronger than others. It is a matter of people intentionally manipulating a human created system, knowing that their exploitation causes some to suffer greatly in the name of them retaining a completely unjustifiable amount of wealth for themselves. Just because doctors and lawyers aren't doing it, doesn't mean the top .1% aren't.

Metaphor time: In a baseball game, one team is not as good as another. So you can argue the game isn't fair. That isn't what's going here though. What's happening is that one team knows the ump and is paying him to call strikes balls and balls strikes. You could argue that they earned the money because they won the last game, but that doesn't give them the right to fix the system now. But they do. And they keep "earning" more and more from the exploitation of the system. It's fascinating that you either A) can't see that or B) don't care.

You want to try and train the other team, help them to perform as well as the manipulative one. Give them a "hand up" right? But that isn't going to be enough. You also have to put new rules in place. Like, "No Bribes Allowed."

That isn't opinion, it's fact. I already gave one example. There are thousands more, all of which a google search will lead you to.
 
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