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How and why lisening skills are paramount to social work

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03004439 " Listening is not easy. It requires a deep awareness and at the same time a suspension of our judgements and above all our prejudices; It requires openness to change. Clarke, A. et al (2005) Beyond Listening p20 Describe, demonstrate and analyse how listening skills are central to effective communication in social work practice. It is expected that you include your learning from all the role plays reflecting on feedback from the service users/peers and tutors. The following essay intends to describe, demonstrate and analyse the above statement, it will do this by giving definitions and analysis of the communication process, and it will also look at the importance of listening, meaning and interpretation. Also incorporated will be power indifferences within communication as will ethical issues and the use of anti-oppressive practices surrounding communication and social work practice. The essay will incorporate service uses feedback and knowledge gained in communication module classes throughout. To understand communication this essay will first describe the process through a commonly used simple communication model, with its basic elements, the communication source, the encoder, the message, the channel, the decoder, and the communication receiver. [Berlo:1960] a simple model of communication from Shannon and weavers, known as the process school of communication. Their model involved three elements, the transmitter, the person starting the communication process, and in between both of these the noise, any factors that interfere or undermine the communication taking place, this point was raised during service uses feedback in seminars, during a role to play a social worker was fidgeting, this was distracting and a phone rang, this is known as background noise. Finally there is the receiver, the person being communicated with. ...read more.


Non verbal communication refers to communication without words and it is an important part of the communication process. One type of N.V.C is body language, body language occurs when we send messages through our body positions, facial expression and other gestures. Another type of communication is referred to as paralanguage. Paralanguage consists of vocal qualities, such as tone, resonance, rhythm, speed, pitch, volume and clarity. Both body language and paralanguage can affect the meaning and interpretation of the message. Written communication is an exception to the standard rules of communication. As writing consists of marks on paper which do not require the presence of the sender and receiver of the message in order to them to work. [19: 1996] The communication source is a person with a purpose, or reason for engaging in communication, to exchange information, ideas or feelings with another person, the message is transmitted in a variety of ways, Effective communication requires much more than just transmitting the message, the message must be clear and more importantly understood by the person receiving it; problems can arise due to misunderstandings / misinterpretations. In terms of interpretation there are two elements in the process, the encoder, which is responsible for taking the ideas of the source and putting them into a code and the encoder is the interpreter. This is not the same as the use of interpreters for people of other languages or sign language interpreters will be discussed further into the essay. The essay will now look at the importance of understanding different cultures in social work practice, "Shared ways of seeing, thinking and doing, it gives people from different social groups, interest groups, religious groups, and countries interconnected set of shared ideas, assumptions, beliefs, values and unwritten rules. ...read more.


The parent's responsive is good when the child appears content but when faced with the distress and there is a need for comfort for child, the parent becomes withdrawn. Children show few signs of distress when separated from their parents and ignore the attachment figure on reunion. Due to a lack of emotional involvement both children and adult find it hard to handle feelings. A close relationship with the child brings the fear of rejection and pain. (Adams, et al 2000) It has been suggested to us in a lecture by Kate Cairns, as a professional social worker that it is often difficult to reach traumatised children and often our own communication skills need expanding to enable us to reach them. This can be done in several ways, however this essay will only include the use of one, that being storytelling. Therapeutics stories enables the professional to work with children, in the hope of reaching them to let them know they are being believed and work towards the healing process, to regain personal power and eliminate unhealthy behaviour. It has been proven that this model has been used with Individuals and families, and also in the court testimony process. In a seminar on using this technique, it invoked a feeling it could cause more damage than good using this method of communication, on reflection I understand that like anything, it's a skill that needs nurturing and once the theoretical constructs and clinical principles are understood, this method has already proved a powerful tool to professionals in this field. This model is not only applicable to working with children. In conclusion, when looking at all aspects of the communication process, each element of the process is as important as each other, and all needs to be used in conjunction with each other or the whole process is in jeopardy of producing effective communication. ...read more.

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