[2015] Elizabeth Bell: Erin Brockovich

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[2015] Elizabeth Bell: Erin Brockovich

Erin BrockovichSocial Worker

Social action is when an individual strives to change another's social environment to help realize certain needs. Erin showed social actions skills by helping the community find opportunities and resources against the water company. Erin worked with the different lawyer, professors, other professionals and the community to find the information she needed to build a case for the hinkley people.

“seeks basic institutional change; often the objective involves a shift in power and resources to a disadvantaged group”Erin was face with many barries that she had to be an activist for.Some of these barriers consisted of clients who resisted participation, her boss not wanting to take the case to trial, lack of funding to continue the case, the fact that some of the community members did not want to participate, and even lack of transportation as well as ways to communicate with her boss and clients were major barriers in the film.

Assessment:“Assessment not only includes what is wrong with clients but also resources, strengths, and motivations that can be used to resolve difficulties” (p. 90, Zastrow, 2013). -Environmental Systems Emphasis - Adequate housing - Health Care - Financial resources Assessment Tool: -Genogram - A genogram would help Erin better understand the community traditions and values, by looking for specific patterns Interviewing SkillsErins interviewing skills included:Being able to open up to the clientBeing honest Introducing herself and taking appropriate notesGood listening skillsMade the client feel comfortable Showed interest in cleints well being

Levels of Social Work Practice:Micro: Individuals/ Families Mezzo: Community Organization Macro: Large Systems Roles of Social Worker:Advocate: “provides leadership for collecting information, arguing the correctness of the client’s need and request, and challenging the institution’s decision not to provide services” (P. 16, Zastrow, 2013)Systems Perspective: Emphasis looking beyond presenting problems of the client to assess the complexities and interrelationship of problems (p.19, Zastrow, 2013)Social Work Values:Service: Erin visited each family involved in the case assessing their needs and concerns.Dignity and Worth of a Person: Erin showed each family the same level of respect. Boundaries: Erin did not maintain the appropriate boundaries with her boss. Examples: Inappropriate language and bribery

Erin’s emotional level, in regards to involvement within the case, was very high. This is because she was truly dedicated to her job and she felt a connection with her clients. It was irrational for Erin to believe that she alone could take on the major company by herself. Another irrational behavior that Erin displayed was trespassing onto the company’s land, which was against the law. According to Zastrow (2013), “burnout is a state of mind accompanied by an array of symptoms that indicate a general malaise: emotional, physical, and psychological fatigue: feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and lack of enthusiasm about work and even about general life” (p. 452). Throughout the film there were no direct indications that Erin was burnt out on the job. She always had a positive mindset about getting justice for her clients and she also always had hope that things would eventually get better.

Spirituality played an implicit role in the works of Erin Brochovich as well as her clients. There were reoccurring themes of hope and faith, which are very much related to religious beliefs. These themes were often displayed within the film during the client’s most trying times. Faith and hope that things would get better, for the people of Hinkely, were depicted in the film particularly when one of the clients had to undergo surgery. She was very vulnerable and upset because she had to have her uterus surgically removed, which is a very intense procedure.The fact that Erin often provided the clients with a sense of hope, also implied that she was a savior for the community.

Model Practice-Social action

When working in rural areas it may be hard to build trust with the community. Erin made frequent visits and phones call, allowed the community a chance to know and trust her, and she made sure to show the community she was working for them. Erin also showed that she could be informal and formal when dealing with the case, which is important when working in a rural area. Erin showed involvement by having a community cookout event for Hinkley. She mingled with the people and showed that she really cared.


Practice with Diverse Groups

BonusIs Our Work Personal?Since completing the many social work cources needed to fufill the requirements of the BSW program, we have learned that there should be a balance between personal and impersonal connection with the client. Of course our work is personal. We are only human so it is natural that when helping a client that we might develop some kind of emotional connection with them. However, it is our job to make sure that connection is not clouding our judgement in making the best ethical descions possible for the client.Do Our Clients Need Us?As social workers we do realize that our clients need us. They need us to act as listening ears, mediators, change agents, and the other variety of roles that we may play in their lives. Although this is the case, they need us most to help empower them so that they can help bring about their own change as well.What is our reward?According to the NASW Code of Ethics, it is unethical to accept money or gifts from clients. This could result in the the loss of a workers license as well as their position on the job. So what is our reward? Our reward is knowing that we helped another individual overcome adversity, and ultimately helped improve their life circumstances aswell as society as a whole.Is this the real story of what happened in Hinkley?For the most part the story was true. However the end was fabricated a bit. The residents did indeed when the case and received their claim however, thats not how the story ended. Years later today, the residents of Hinkley are still having issues with their water. PG & E failed to uphold their promise to eliminate the problem. In fact, scientist found that the problem stretched out farther than just the town of Hinkley, but it was at least 7-10 miles past the company as well as the community in both directions. This is an issue for former residents as well because some of them relocated in those directions. For them, as well as the current residents of Hinkley, justice was not competently served, because they are reliving their worst nightmare all over again.

The community of Hinkley faced huge amounts of social injustice throughout the movie. They were lied to about the chemical in there, they thought it was safe and there medical issues had no correlation to the toxic water. However the soon found out by Erin what was really going on. As stated before Erin found out information by instigation, speaking to professionals and community members to find out further information on the wrongdoings of the water company.

Social Justice


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