Jena's Practice Framework

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Jena's Practice Framework by Mind Map: Jena's Practice Framework

1. Systems Theory, ecosystems perspective

1.1. "Asserts that each system involves a series of components that are highly organized and dependent upon each other in an orderly way" (Birkenmaier, Berg-Weger and Dewees, 2011, p. I-25). My foundational thinking is embedded in the ecosystems perspective, describing "the functioning and adaptation of human systems in a dynamic interchange with each other" (Birkenmaier et. al., 2011, p. 24).

1.1.1. Application in My Practice: Early on in my practice I began to resonate with systems theory. The concept that we are an extension of our experiences. I think that the application of this theory can be seen in a multitude of different specializations within social work, this concept that everything is interconnected on a micro, mezzo and macro level of society.

2. Narrative Theory

2.1. Narrative theory puts the human experience first and focuses on perspective. "A narrative approach to working with [people] focuses on empowerment, collaboration and viewing problems in social context." (Birkenmaier, Berg-Weger & Dewees, 2011, p.14). This is one of the theories which has built my foundational perspective of social work because of its focus on social justice and the experience of the individual or community.

2.1.1. How can it be used in practice? Humans like to tell their stores, whether a community expressing experiences, thoughts, needs or wants, or an individual. We are social creatures. In my practice I depend on narrative a lot as it allows for service users or community members to describe their life experiences from their perspective. The truth can be shifted in many ways, however getting the story from those who have experienced it maintains empowerment and leadership from a first point of view, rather than an extension of what the outsider might be hearing.

3. Ethics

3.1. Defining Ethics: "pertains to the standards that govern the conduct of its professional members" (Corey, Corey, Corey & Callanan, 2011, p. 8). Not only are ethics significant to safeguard the public and guide professionals, but to protect service users by leading with a guide of practice.

3.1.1. Application to My Practice: Maintaining ethical practice is one of my everyday reflexive goals. Reigning from a small community, ethical dilemmas seemed to be an everyday occurrence. For a social worker to live, work and socialize in the same community they grew up in becomes challenging at times. Closely adhering to the Alberta College of Social Workers Standards of Practice (2013) and the Canadian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics (2005). Accessing sufficient supervision is imperative to maintaining acceptable practice. This also includes proper registration, continuous education and recognizing competence levels and when networking and relationships need to be accessed. Relevance to Community Development: Corey, Corey, Corey & Callanan (2011) reiterate that community work is not easy and "the focus is on promoting systemic change by working closely with those in the community who develop public policy" (p. 468). The authors refer to 'social justice advocacy as an ethical mandate. Referring to cultural and community values, participatory practice, roles of the social worker all as ethical pieces of community practice.

4. Research

4.1. Application to my practice: Research is a new interest for me within social work practice. The journey through the ICD Masters program has shown me new respect for research in social work and the value of evidence-based practice. Additionally, exposure to participatory research has influenced the way I think about my approach to frontline work, as well as community and social development. It has become a question I ask when becoming involved with an agency or project within the community. For example, my connection with the Early Childhood Deep South Coalition links to trauma-informed practice and brain development. I am interested in expanding my knowledge of existing research and implementing what works into standing programs.

5. Trauma Informed

5.1. Why is it important to me? During my BSW practicum I was exposed to trauma informed practice, specifically Perry's Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics which focuses on how trauma impacts the development of the brain. Recognizing how trauma can influence the day to day lives of people can be instrumental in any kind of practice both in the approach and the reaction of others. Think about how our body language, tone of voice, personal space could influence a response or reaction from someone who has experienced physical or verbal trauma. Trauma informed practice also recognizes that everyone's threshold is unique, meaning that each individual or community member may react to single or multiple occurrences in very different ways due to their own individual environmental experiences.

6. Anti-oppressive Practice

6.1. Anti-oppressive practices is defined by Hick (2010): "an approach to practice which argues that a person's environment shapes his or her individual experience and can be the source of significant problems. The goal of AOP is to acknowledge the existence of oppression in all forms and the complex nature of our identities. This knowledge can be used to overcome oppressive relationships at the individual and institutional or societal level, and broadly contribute to social justice."

6.1.1. What it means for me in application: AOP has always been a term that I have struggled with. It is a shifting term, and I find it over used in practice, without appropriate definition. What it means to me is that I exist and practice in a way that meets the expectations of an ally defined by the individual or community I am working with. What service do I serve according to who is asking for it? For me, AOP is recognizing that my social location will impact the service i provide as a social worker in any capacity and I need to focus on trust and relationship building to grow an understanding and honour to serve who ever has accessed support.

7. Social Justice

7.1. The CASW (2005) states that social justice for social workers means that we: "believe in the obligation of people, individually and collectively, to provide resources, services and opportunities for the overall benefit of humanity and to afford them protection from harm. Social workers promote social fairness and the equitable distribution of resources, and act to reduce barriers and expand choice for all persons, with special regard for those who are marginalized, disadvantaged, vulnerable, and/or have exceptional needs. Social workers oppose prejudice and discrimination against any person or group of persons, on any grounds, and specifically challenge views and actions that stereotype particular persons or groups" (p.5).

7.1.1. How do I apply social justice in community development? Social justice is important to me on micro, mezzo and macro levels, however as I build my career, knowledge and confidence in practice I find value in micro social justice. Advocating for someone to get services, supporting through harm reduction, addressing inequalities that I can change on a day to day level. As I move further into my career, I hope to begin to build a network and relationships which will enable me to make change on an administrative level.

8. Power

8.1. Power is defined by Brennan & Israel (2009) as: "reflect[ing] the ability to act or influence the ability of others to either act or choose a path of inaction" (p. 82). In my practice my social location, education and middle-class status is accompanied by a significant amount of power, especially when working with marginalized populations. Power is tricky because it is a concept that is fluid rather than a definitive status.

8.1.1. The recognition of power in my practice is the most important factor. Trying to build relationships, create trust and impact change only starts when the realities are acknowledged. The roles that social workers play in different specializations means that the power differentials will change. For example, where power may be acknowledged and participation the main focus of community/social development projects, power of a social worker working with minors or acting as a guardian may need to be exerted for the health and security of children and families.