K G O M O T S O N T L A T L E N G
My name is Kgomotso Ntlatleng. I am third year student in the BSW programme at the Department of Social Work and Criminology at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. I have been involved in community work projects with my lecturer, Prof Reineth Prinsloo, since my first year of study. I am currently a tutor for the first and second year social work students to assist them with integrating their theoretical work. My lecturer introduced this blog project in our group work class and it immediately sparked my enthusiasm for my chosen career.
I chose a fluffy cushion because …
The softness of the cushion resembles the warm atmosphere that social workers provide when facilitating an intervention process. Initially, most new cushions are a bit hard but the more the cushion is utilised the softer it gets. Just like clients, until a trusting relationship has been established after having had a few sessions then clients begin to open up and thus start sharing. The cushion stood out for me because social work views clients as unique individuals and each client has his or her own frame of reference. Similarly, cushions come in different colours, designs, shapes, textures and sizes.
Just as a touch of cushions help make a room more appealing, furthermore, when leaning against a cushion, one gets to sit in a comfortable position with back support that will help one’s stay in that room pleasant; social work helps individuals, groups and communities improve or enhance their capacity for social functioning. The stuffing and threads were used to get a finished product (cushion); in the same way, one cannot understand a client by just focusing on just one aspect of their life. Clients are looked at holistically in order to make an accurate hypothesis.
When cushions are exposed to dust, sunlight and when they are utilised for a long period they get torn but can always be sewed back together again. Likewise, people have their unique life experiences and sometimes make poor decisions but the Person-Centred Approach believes in people’s ability to self-actualise and that people have the capacity to grow. When the cushion’s cover is worn out, it can be replaced by another one. In the same manner, bad habits can be replaced with good ones. The replacement of the cushion cover demonstrates hope that social workers give to their clients.
A cushion may be worn out but it’s still a cushion. People may have problems, but at the end of the day they are still people with inherent worth and value.