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Interview with Social Worker Delma D.
Delma D. is a social worker currently running her own counseling business in Melbourne, Australia. She received her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in social work at Melbourne University, Australia. She has worked in numerous counseling jobs around Melbourne and opened her own business a year ago.
1. What kind of training is required to be a social worker and where did
you receive your training?
To become a social worker you are usually required to pursue an undergraduate program which majors in social work. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work (BSW) during a four year program at Melbourne University, Australia where I also subsequently earned my Master’s Degree in Social Work. I have also completed family therapy training and am a Clinical Member of the Victorian Association of Family Therapists.
What kind of work do you do as a social worker?
Social workers help people to deal with personal and social problems in a variety of settings, some of which include hospitals, schools, community, health, drug and alcohol, local government, state and commonwealth governments departments. In the course of my profession as a social worker I have been privileged to work in a variety of settings. I have served in the pediatrics department of Monash Medical Center where I was required to support child patients. My responsibilities included assisting and interacting with the parents and providing information to better help them cope and support their child in the hospital. I have worked with the Vietnam Veterans Counseling Service providing counseling services to ex-servicemen and their families. I have also been a counselor with the family court helping separated parents to sort out their children’s arrangement and visitation details.
3. Why did you choose to become a social worker?
I think I was drawn into Social Work while I was studying at Melbourne University where many of my peers would come to me to share their problems or seek advice. Some of them used to comment that I would make a good counselor. I then decided to seek career guidance about the different counseling professions and felt drawn to Social Work. I like the wholesome approach of Social Work because it looks at a problem from many angles and does not see the solution as lying just within the person. Sometimes we have to change the environment to solve a problem or sometimes we have to raise awareness of problems that an organization can create for individuals.
4. Do you enjoy your job? Why or why not?
It is a hard question. The job I do involves working with families who are going through a difficult period in their lives. So it’s hard to say that I enjoy it. However, I find it is rewarding if I can make a positive difference in the lives of the children I see. They share with me information about how painful it is when their parents are fighting, for example. If I can get the parents to see how much they are hurting their children by fighting and change their behavior then I find it rewarding. Sometime it’s rewarding when I get feedback from judges that my reports have been very helpful for them. There are down sides to my job as well. The parents I see are usually hurting and they can easily direct anger and aggression towards me. I have to plan for my own safety and security when setting up meetings with parents.
5. If you could change on aspect of your job what would it be and why?
Well currently I work privately and some of the reports I write is for parents who are unable to pay for their reports and are funded by the Legal Aid Commission, a government agency that is funded to administer funds for matters before the Courts where people are unable to pay for themselves. Payments for legally aided clients can sometimes be very slow, can take several months. I wish the system could be improved somehow. There are other things I wish I could control. Sometimes clients don’t turn up for their appointments and my day can get wasted.
6. Why do you continue to work as a social worker?
Social Work is a profession, no different to many other professions. It is what I am trained to do and a job I am skilled at doing. Besides, it provides my major source of income.
7. What is the most rewarding part of being a social worker?
The most rewarding part is when I know I have made a positive difference in somebody’s life. I have had people call me after I have prepared a report or years later to let me know that they really appreciated what I did for them. I have learnt from clients how I can be more helpful and compassionate.
8. What advice would you give to future social workers or people considering
going into social work?
The most important advice is that this is not a profession for those seeking a big income and you have to be willing to work with the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our community. The job requires a commitment to serve with compassion while determining how to advance the best interest of individuals without compromising their basic rights to fairness and justice.