Social Work Myths


Myth: Anyone who has a kind heart can be a social worker.
Fact: Social workers are highly skilled professionals who have a university degree in social work at the bachelor's, master's or doctoral level.

Myth: Social workers work only with people who are "down on their luck".
Fact: Social workers provide services to people from all age groups and from all social and economic backgrounds.

Myth: Social workers are bleeding hearts.
Fact: Social workers believe that many factors affect the health and well-being of individuals and communities. In fact, a growing body of research supports the conclusion that the roots of health and well-being can be found in such factors as access to: early childhood education and care; education and literacy; employment and working conditions; income and its distribution; housing; social inclusion; etc.

Myth: A career in social work means you will end up dispensing welfare cheques.
Fact: Social workers rarely work in welfare agencies, however social workers sometimes have clients who, for various reasons, receive welfare payments.

MythSocial workers take your kids away.
Fact: Social workers are dedicated to strengthening families in the interests of creating safe, nurturing environments in which children can grow and develop. When there is reason to believe that a child is being harmed and in need of protection, social workers in all areas of practice, like all other professionals, are obligated, under provincial legislation, to report their concerns to the proper authorities. Social workers who are employed by Children's Aid Societies have as the exclusive focus of their work the protection of children, as mandated by provincial legislation.

Myth: Social workers are "do-gooders" who meddle in people's lives.
Fact: Social workers are highly skilled professionals who help people resolve problems that affect their daily lives. The aim of social work practice is to enhance mental health functioning by helping people get the most out of their relationships, work and community life.

Myth: For psychotherapy or other mental health services, you need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Fact: Social workers are the largest group of practitioners providing psychotherapy and other mental health services. In fact, social workers are often the only mental health care providers in many rural and remote communities. Social work is unique among the helping professions because it looks at people's problems within the context of their families, workplace and communities and considers the connection between personal problems and larger social issues.