Wednesday, March 2, 2011


March is Social Work month- a wonderful reminder of the vastness and contributions of our great profession. And I am  recalling a public education campaign that NASW ran about 20 years ago that is still so relevant, I am revisiting it this week.

The "Say you are a Social Worker Campaign"  called upon professional social workers to declare their profession in all public (and social) communications and venues rather than using other vague titles, which serve to mask our higher educational  accomplishments (BSW, MSW, DSW and Ph.D.)  And to what am I referring? Case in point.  You are being interviewed by a newspaper for an article on your work, or you are at a social event and some asks you what you do, or you are responding to a Red Cross disaster scene and must introduce yourself to firefighters on the scene as you reach out to them.  What do we often hear?  ‘ Oh, I am a psychotherapist,’ or ‘I counsel troubled teenagers’, or ‘I work  with domestic violence victims’ or ‘ I am the Director of a mental health clinic’. You would be surprised how often social workers say describe themselves in these terms.  There is nothing  wrong with these statements especially when they are prefaced with “I am a social worker”, then add, “I counsel troubled youth”, or I have a private practice in psychotherapy”, or ‘I work with homeless veterans, etc.

When you introduce yourself in this way, you’ll be performing an invaluable public education service that benefits our professional and ultimately yourself. 

No professional public relations effort can impress the public consciousness as much as tens of thousands of social workers saying, “I AM A SOCIAL WORKER.”  When you do not it is a loss to the entire profession  and to the public.  The best way to bolster the image of the social work profession is for social workers to identify themselves as SOCIAL WORKERS!  Join me in declaring our profession!  Be inspired by the NASW-MA Chapter's video, "This Could Be You: The Many Faces of Social Work."  Check it out right here:

Carol J. Trust

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