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A Social Worker. Not a Psychologist?

March 16th is World Social Work Day.

The allied health field is filled with many disciplines each specialised in different areas of care. When you think of mental health however you can be forgiven for thinking that we are all psychologists.

In fact despite the many referrals we receive stating to 'psychologist' or even on the odd occasion 'clinical psychologist', the Playful Possibilities team does not at this time have a psychologist onboard. In fact our team consists of an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, Credentialed Mental Health Nurse and a Social Worker. We love having a multidisciplinary team so that each of our skill sets can enhance each others to bring you high quality care. However our respective training bodies are lesser known in their expertise in comparison to our psychologist counterparts. Psychologists have a wealth of knowledge and have branded their profession impeccably however we may be more alike than you initially think. Although our studies each explore mental health from a different standpoint I strongly believe that a great Social Worker will draw on Psychological Theory, an amazing Clinical Nurse will seek to understand the sensory needs specialised in by Occupational Therapists and all allied health professionals will seek to learn from each others expertise.

In this blog however as tomorrow is World Social Work day I wanted to talk to you a little bit about Social Work in particular and what make them so special (I am definitely biased in this statement). You can find social workers in your local schools, hospitals, government policy/funding departments, child safety, youth justice, counselling services, cultural organisation, community development projects, research and so many more places. It may just be this diversity of our workforce that makes our profession so difficult to define. Branded by our professional body as 'masters of complexity', I personally think we draw our strength from being masters of connection. You've possibly already been supported by a Social Worker in your life and not even known it.

Social Work as a profession has it's roots in the 19th century when people started to question how poverty could persist in a time of economic affluence. Together these people worked to provide aid and raise awareness to this injustice. Modern Social Work follows this legacy by seeking social justice, fighting for respect for each person and placing a high importance on professional integrity. Due to their curiosity Social Worker are often asking why things are the way they are and using their rebellious nature to challenge systems that perpetuate harm while looking for better alternatives. Trained in working alongside people we work to hear their voices, have the privilege to learn their stories and are able to take a holistic view rather than looking for what is 'wrong' with individuals.

Built on Social Work values Playful Possibilities is proud to not only provide one on one therapeutic supports but also work to amplify the collective experiences of our clients, advocate to funding bodies and to work with our peers across sectors and organisations to improve the wellbeing of many through the power of ripple effects.

So for World Social Work Day 2021 in honour of the theme Ubuntu "I am, because we are," I challenge you to take the Social Work attitude with you today. Find moments where you can practice kindness, challenge injustice when it presents and take opportunities for genuine connection with you into your day.

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