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A Professional Social Worker - Essay Sample

4 pages
880 words
Harvey Mudd College
Type of paper: 
Article review
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

A professional social worker needs to identify with the clients. This is the suggestion that Judith Kay Nelson who explains the theoretical aspects of attachment, loss, and grief. Identifying with the clients and their experiences assist the caregiver to understand the needs of their clients. It also helps the caregivers with appropriate knowledge to solve the problems that arise from their social work practices. This paper analyzes the article Separation, Loss, and Grief in Adults: An Attachment Perspective" by Judith Kay Nelson.

The article "Separation, Loss, and Grief in Adults: An Attachment Perspective" by Judith Kay Nelson highlights many issues, however, the most relevant to the social work practices include the need to identify with the aggrieved clients and grieve with them to enable them understand the experiences that clients go through. Further, Nelson suggests that caregivers need to reorganize or recover with them eventually. Nelson (2011) explains some of the necessities of caregivers which can also be practiced by a social worker. For example, she asserts that a professional caregiver needs to recognize the caregiving and attachment issues. This is important because the issues are the raw materials, which according to the article, help people respond to their intuitive and implicit procedures. The author further highlights the theoretical aspects of attachment issues. According to Nelson (2011), attachment and separation are different and distinct concepts that should be understood differently. She further notes that attachment is important for many reasons; for instance, survival. As a social worker, one should be equipped with the knowledge regarding the attachment and caregiving issues to help the person understand the needs of a patient.

According to Nelson (2011), the subjective experiences of the clients are intertwined with the subjective experiences of the caregiver. Therefore, the primary implication for a professional social worker is that he or she needs to understand the experiences that patients are experiencing. This, according to the author, will help the caregiver create a rapport with the patients thus, developing an effective relationship with the clients. As mentioned in the article, the caregiver needs to understand and rely upon the knowledge regarding the attachment-based ration or grief theory. According to (Nelson (2011) this knowledge will help the caregiver understand the overwhelming or uncertain experiences that they face while at work. As a social worker, one needs to possess the knowledge that can guide him or her in solving the issues or problems related to social work.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Article

Some of the strengths that the author has portrayed in the article include simple and explicit expression of ideas. The authors intent for using such a direct and explicit language is to help the audience understand the ideas expressed in the article. Further, the article has discussed both theoretical aspects of attachment and its significance to the caregivers as well as the illustrations. One is able to read through the discussions and relate to the issues through the illustrations like the case of Maxine while explaining the concept of grief and countertransference.

Weaknesses, on the other hand, include the limited theories used to explain the concept of attachment. The author has only emphasized on the psychosocial theory to explain the attachment perspectives even though there are more theories such as transpersonal and rational choice theories together with many other models that would be appropriate for discussing attachment perspective. As a result, the author has only focused on a one-sided discussion which involves the need to understand and form good relationship with the clients.

Social Work Values

A social worker is expected to possess numerous values or be guided by different principles; for instance, social justice, ethics, diversity, among many other important values. The article has expressed these values in various ways. The social justice value requires a social worker to advocate for the rights of their clients. They are also expected to fight against the injustices to help their clients develop effectively. Nelson (2011) suggests that caregivers need to provide their clients with social support and resources; thus, advocating for the social justice value. Diversity and human relationship is another value that Nelson explains that is crucial to a social worker. As a social worker, one should recognize the importance of human relationships to enable them to engage with clients, families, and the community. Ethics, on the other hand, is also important to a social worker. According to Nelson (2011), caregivers should have the ability to resolve conflict with and between their clients. Caregivers should promote the individual values through the way they interact with their clients. Ethics also involves respecting the dignity and decisions of other people. As a social worker, one needs to have the ethical knowledge to enable them to relate and understand their clients.

In conclusion, social work involves identifying the needs of clients and responding to them by meeting those needs. As Nelson has explained in the article Separation, Loss, and Grief in Adults: An Attachment Perspective" one needs to possess the social work knowledge and theory of attachment to enable them to understand the attachment, grief, and loss issues. This enables them to make the right decisions regarding the needs of the vulnerable clients.


Nelson, J. K. (2011). Separation, loss, and grief in adults: An attachment perspective. In Adult Attachment in Clinical Social Work (pp. 79-95). Springer New York.

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