A social worker or a superhero: what’s your superpower

Limestone College Social Work

As children we are often asked, if you could have one superpower, what would it be? Excitedly we contemplate fictional characteristics like flying or telepathy as we let our imagination wander. But rarely do we grow up thinking that we actually have a superpower.

Dr. Anna Scheyett, a dean of the University of Georgia School of Social Work believes otherwise. In her 2015 TEDx talk in Columbia, South Carolina, Dr. Scheyett explains that through the eyes of a social worker, all people have a superpower — the one thing that they are really good at doing. And it is often through the skill and training of social workers — superheroes in their own right — that people who are faced with difficult challenges can identify their strengths or “superpowers” and use them to overcome the difficulties they are facing.

“Social workers are not just nice people with good hearts,” said Dr. Scheyett. “Social workers are educated professionals who go through accredited university programs that are grounded in rigorous research base. And what they learn there is part of what makes them a superhero. The two biggest things…their mission and … how to make change happen.”

She gives an example of a social work intern who was tasked by her mentor to visit a patient and conduct an assessment. The patient suffered from a mental illness and regularly isolated himself in his apartment while obsessively listening to the radio. After her visit, the intern reported to her mentor that the patient was exceptionally good at listening to the radio. But that’s not all.

The intern then went to the local coast guard office and learned that there is a position that requires someone to listen to the radio attentively all day long and track announcements in a log. She convinced the coast guard office to give her patient an opportunity to intern there and then worked hard to convince her patient that he was truly needed for this job. Within a short time, the patient summoned the courage to leave his apartment and begin what turned out to be his newfound calling. He not only excelled at listening to the radio, but was soon offered a paid part-time position.

“I realized that is exactly what social workers do,” added Dr. Scheyett “We say, ‘Hi, I am a social worker, what’s your superpower’?”

If you are someone who has figured out that your superpower may be to help others discover their strengths, then Limestone’s Social Work program may be right for you. Limestone’s low student-faculty ratio allows for personalized support from a team of experienced Social Work professionals who have firsthand knowledge and experience with helping others tap into their strengths to overcome life’s challenges. To learn more, check out Limestone Social Work program page.

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