Empathy In Social Work Relationship

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First are foremost, the most important difference between friendships and social work relationships is that the latter is a professional relationship that is developed in order to provide a helping service and promote change (Heinonen and Spearman, 2010). Therefore, in a professional relationship, social workers are required to have social control over a relationship which further allows a social worker to regulate, govern and restrict activities or behaviours of a client and in some cases, make decisions for the client when they are unable to. Whereas in a friendship, there is no need to have social control over the other person. Thus, in a friendship, one person does not need to regulate, govern or restrict activities or behaviours in the…show more content…
Controversially, the Canadian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics stressed that showing care and concern are basic towards social work values and practice and stresses this requirement (Heinonen and Spearman, 2010, pp. 103). Moreover, empathy, honesty and acceptance are equally important in a professional social worker role as well as a friendship. However, empathy is the ability to understand clients in their situation, as a social worker, we can convey empathy by using our active listening, paraphrasing, verbal and non-verbal cues. Additionally, expressing empathy with our clients can be used to help clients feel comfortable and encourage them to open up by building trust (Shebib, 2017). With a friendship, empathy may be expressed differently such as crying with our friend or using more self-disclosure than you would in a professional relationship. Thus, in a professional helping relationship, it is important to not lose perspective and keep our emotions appropriate (Heinonen and Spearman, 2010). Likewise, in a professional social work relationship, we must empower our client’s self-determination. For example, we must be able to acknowledge our client’s capacity for change and provide them with choices and resources to do so. In some ways, this is similar to a friendship because we seek to encourage positive change in a friendship and help our friends identify what is within them. Thus, a friendship that is supportive and encouraging will promote growth and the friendship is essentially like a resource to promote change. Moreover, as a social worker, we must keep the main objective of our relationship in the forefront and ensure that boundaries are set to help clients understand

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