Working for Social Justice: Ethics & Core Values of Social Work
by Photosynthesis Productions
In a world full of so much injustice, what motivates professional social workers? This video will show you how social work experts connect social justice and their practice for ongoing inspiration.
In this inspiring video, students and long-time practitioners alike will gain insight into the ways in which social justice informs every aspect of social work. Through interviews with real social workers, you’ll learn how values become action in the day-to-day lives of social workers.

A key factor in social work practice is helping remedy injustice--not just for the individual--but for our culture at large. Here, you'll also see how social workers often engage directly in political and legal action by lobbying for laws that address the needs of underserved and marginalized populations.

However, the speakers in this presentation do not lecture or proselytize—instead, they talk about their experiences and feelings in simple, everyday language. You'll see how enthusiasm for their work shines through in the discussions of their cases, their treatment populations and their ever-increasing respect for the position of their clients. These social workers make education and advocacy for social justice seem an integral part of becoming a whole person. They embody the idea that helping both others and the community is essential to healing our society. For all of them, social work is not so much a profession as an ideology and life-style. It is natural for them to intervene when injustice occurs, and social work gives them the ideal venue for these interventions.

In this video, you'll learn not only why people are attracted to the field of social work, but also how it fulfills their, as well as their clients' needs.

In Depth
In this presentation, you'll meet 7 social workers with diverse backgrounds, treatment modalities and expertise discussing what makes them tick and what they think social work is truly about. They work with a wide range of clients, including individuals, families, groups, adolescents, communities, and in a wide variety of settings. Some practice in drug/alcohol rehabs, some work in prisons, some in community centers, some in schools and homes. What ties these practitioners together is their belief that every person deserves to be honored and respected, despite their diagnosis or label. These social workers avoid hiding behind jargon or medicalization, and emphasize that true change can only occur once the worker enters into an authentic relationship with the client, and the client can begin to trust. A social worker must prove, according to these speakers, that he or she is worthy of trust by being consistent and open-minded with each person who comes for help.

In social work school, students are taught how to diagnosis and write about their clients, which, in a way, objectifies those who seek help. The social work experts in this video demonstrate how to discuss and experience their clients based on shared humanity and understanding. Rather than focusing on the medical model of treatment, wherein the “well” one (the practitioner) helps the “sick” one (the client), these social workers use their undivided attention and respect for clients to help them. Through valuing the dignity of their clients, the experts help them reach their own goals and realize the possibility of change. The speakers emphasize that this change on a small, individual level, is directly connected to larger societal changes. As the individual is lifted, to at least a small degree, out of his/her oppression, that individual helps lift others through change in attitude and self-esteem.

By watching this video, you will:
  • Learn how professional social workers advocate for social justice on a micro and macro level.
  • Understand the ways social work interventions can allow clients to access hope and their best selves.
  • Discover the philosophical foundation workers use to help them see the client as “a whole person.”

Length of video: 00:37:14

English subtitles available

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-475-4

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-475-8

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