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Roles of a Social Worker

Expect to encounter questions on the ASWB exam regarding the different roles of a community practice social worker. It is important to be familiar with responsibilities associated with the following roles: Advocate, Broker, Mediator, Lobbyist, Facilitator and Enabler.


Broker - A broker assists clients with obtaining access to resources, makes referrals and also assists clients with navigating complex service systems. These duties can also include educating clients about treatment and resource options. The roles of a case manager and broker are similar.


Enabler - An enabler assists clients with coping with difficult circumstances and engages clients in becoming active participants in the problem solving process. Enablers also works with individuals, families and groups to modify behaviors that can serve as obstacles to them achieving their goals.  


Mediator - The mediator role involves resolving arguments or conflicts within micro, mezzo, or macro systems. At the macro level, the mediator helps various subsystems within a community, or a community work out their differences. At the micro and mezzo levels, mediators assist in areas such as resolving divorce and child custody cases. A mediator remains neutral and does not side with either party in the dispute but rather helps opposing parties come to a mutually beneficial resolution.


Advocate - An advocate works towards appealing for the rights of individuals and in some cases, dis-enfranchised groups. The advocate voices the concerns of the group and assists in obtaining resources, political power and social change. The advocate role involves stepping forward and speaking on behalf of the client system


Lobbyist - Lobbying is a political activity that involves voicing the concerns of groups and communities with the goal of influencing and shaping local and national policy. Lobbyist speak on behalf of the groups that they represent with politicians at the local and national level.


Facilitator - A social work facilitator serves as a leader in a group.The group may be a family therapy group, a task group, a sensitivity group, an educational group, a self-help group, or a group with some other focus. The facilitator role may also apply to community practice - in this capacity, a facilitator brings together people and lines of communication, channeling their activities and resources towards the resolution of a shared goal.

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