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The Image of Social Work

August 12, 2010

In the UK we take a serious approach to improving the image of social work and social workers. The Social Work Task Force, the Monro Review and the plans for a College of Social Work and having a Chief Social worker all include ideas about improving the allegedly poor image of social work.

In the USA they seem to be taking a different approach with Celebrity counselling on TV which includes social worker Sherry Gaba providing counselling to some of the “troubled clients” on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew”

Then there is Helena D Lewis‘ one-woman stage play, “Call Me Crazy: Diary of a Mad Social Worker.”



All these initiatives from the NASW .

Just a tad more exciting than our own dear BASW.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 12, 2010 4:00 pm

    I remember being upset about the image of social workers in the US before I even became one. I remember watching ER with a college roommate. The doctor was portrayed as sensitive, caring, and concerned about the needs of a possibly abused child and his family. The social worker was a callous bureaucrat who inevitibly made the obviously wrong decision (sending a child home to abusers, or removing a child from a loving home.) It’s what made me a loyal viewer of Judging Amy–not a perfect show, but Tyne Daly made a pretty great social worker.

  2. August 17, 2010 1:14 pm

    I agree that the social worker in the US at least still has an undesirable reputation. I take issue, however, with the sensationalized counseling on such shows as celebrity rehab. Although I am actually a Dr. Drew fan since previously in his career he has been more of a consultant (plus the fact he is just so darn likable), and I do think that the drug issue is such a serious problem that many might benefit from this show in particular, the Dr. Phil’s of the world annoy me. I think that parading someone with a real life crisis on television is insensitive to say the least, and can be unethical as well. I think I let this attitude lax just a little with the celebrity counseling, since I have to question weather or not there even are real issues or a desire for press and either way perhaps some poor soul will be reached and get help. What really bothers me the most is seeing someone on a show like Dr. Phil exploited while in obvious pain. The other problem is pseudo-shock radio psychologists. The most talked about is the infamous Dr. Laura, who isn’t even a psychologist at all but has a show that claims to help others.

  3. Brick permalink*
    August 18, 2010 7:37 am

    Hi DiogenEasy,

    Do you mean this Dr Laura?
    “Dr. Laura to leave radio amid N-word controversy”,0,7871292.story

    I’ll see your Dr Laura and raise you a Dr Gillian.
    “A menace to science. For years, ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith has used her title to sell TV shows, diet books and herbal sex pills.”

    • August 19, 2010 3:10 am

      Wow, I almost wished had never followed your Dr. Jillian link; I had never heard of her before and have a bad habbit of researching things that I don’t know about voraciously…of all the amusing things i learned about her tonight, the end of the Wiki article was the first thing that made me lol. It reads:

      “n July 2010, the official Gillian McKeith Twitter account, @gillianmckeith, described Bad Science as “lies”. After a response from Ben Goldacre and much ‘tweeting’ between various parties, @gillianmckeith said “do you really believe this is real Twitter site for the GM?”[46] The Twitter account had previously been written in the first person, as if by McKeith herself, and in June 2010, carried a message stating it was McKeith’s official Twitter account. Various individuals pointed out that the account is linked to from the official McKeith website. That link was then deleted, but it remained in the source code for the page.”

      Thanks for that : D

  4. Brick permalink*
    August 19, 2010 7:01 am

    Hi DiogenEasy

    Lots more (hollow) laughs to be discovered at Quack Watch

    Have fun.

  5. September 10, 2010 12:27 am

    I think there are good and bad social workers, and the few bad social workers out there give the good ones a bad name. I have social workers who are heartless callous beureacrats, so they do exist. I have seen good ones though too. For me, I think it’s a matter of making sure the good outnumber the bad.

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