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Do you remember what drew you to Social Work? You became a Social Worker to make a difference in the lives of others. You believe in social justice for all, no matter their race, age, gender, orientation or religious belief. You believe that every human has worth and is entitled to dignity and respect. You believe that deep within that ravine of powerlessness lies the abilty for self determination and healing. These beliefs develop into skills that help you to open your mind and to listen with your third ear: not just listening for content but also for understanding. You can't change the inherent power bestowed upon you by your position and authority. But the scales of power begin to balance as the client becomes more empowered Empowerment is one tool in your kit that is a great equalizer. By empowering your clients they are able to become real partners in the plan for achieving their vision. Active listening is the cornerstone in building empowerment. Active listening demonstrates your sincerity in wanting to know about the successes, near misses and even failures they have previously experienced when dealing with their life issues. Being heard and knowing their input is being taken seriously allows them to see that you really do want to help them with their current situation. And, as you engage with them around their vision, their power grows and gives seed to confidence in building a partnership with you. It is your ability to empower others, not your own power that helps them to achieve lasting change. So yes, you are powerful. Yet you hold something within you much stronger and more effective than authoritative power. You hold the keys to empowerment, which leads to hope. And with hope comes the opportunities for lasting change.
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