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As I begin my first year as an MSW student, I am learning that reflective practice is essential to my progress as a future social worker. The exposure to the histories and origins of social work have tested my former perspective about what it means to be a social worker. My prior impression of social work before entering the program was based on the moral imperatives of compassion, nurturance, and helping to be the center of social work. My perspective was formed by observing social workers in settings that required “helper” services such as hospitals, communities, private therapy clinics. I realize that my idea of the profession minimized the influence of history, colonization, and theory and how they have formed the identity and duties of social workers. If I do not consider social work from a historical and political perspective, I run the risk of attributing blame to clients individually and my practice will simply be reduced to assistance and support. I must target the inequalities related to gender, sexuality, class, and race and their intersections to challenge the oppression clients face (Mattison, 2013). To challenge oppression and inequality, I realize the importance of the awareness of my social identity and privileges and how my social location can shape my assumptions of clients and groups.

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