Social work deals with the heavy end of human difficulties such as cruelty, self-destructiveness, and severe and enduring mental health problems. How do social workers make sense of the emotional difficulties which come with the realities of practice? Understanding our clients is the best way of dealing with complex situations and avoiding burnout and stress. The contributors to this book argue that psychoanalysis provides a theory of development and behaviour capable of formulating a realistic model for understanding emotional difficulties and disturbances in both clients and ourselves.
The chapters demonstrate a way of thinking for the practitioner that can be used in all situations. The book examines in detail some of the difficult and disturbing conversations that social workers have with clients of all ages. It provides a psychoanalytic framework for understanding circumstances which may be puzzling, stressful or frightening, and a theory whose value for many social work problems is well underpinned by research evidence.
Written by senior practitioners who are all still working in the front line, this book puts complex real life experiences into words, to help the social worker become a more effective practitioner.
List of Figures
Chapter 1: Introduction – What Social Workers Need to know (Marion Bower and Robin Solomon)
Chapter 2: Context – Navigating Contested Professional Identities in Difficult Times (James Blewett)
Part I: Practice Near Research
Chapter 3: Difficult Conversations on the Front Long – Observations of Home Visits to Talk About Neglect (Fiona Henderson)
Chapter 4: Written on the Body (Charlotte Noyes)
Chapter 5: Reflective Supervision for Child Protection Practice – Researching Beneath the Surface (Anna Harvey and Fiona Henderson)
Chapter 6: Identifying ‘Blind Spots’ When Moving Children from Foster Care into Adoption (Lynne Cudmore and Sophie Bowell)
Part II: The Value of Theory for Practice
Chapter 7: The Use of Self in Social Work Practice (Andrew Cooper)
Chapter 8: Crisis, What Crisis – and Whose Crisis Is It Anyway? A Psychoanalytically Informed Account of How to Keep Thinking in the Face of the Day to Day Work of Managing Rising Anxiety (Gill Rusbridger)
Chapter 9: Exploring Racist States of Mind (Narendra Keval)
Chapter 10: No Shit! – A Psycho-Educational Group for Foster Carers (Robin Solomon)
Chapter 11: Cruel Protectors – Understanding Sexual Exploitation (Marion Bower and Robin Solomon)
Chapter 12: Getting the Balance Right – Helping Young People with Learning Disability Achieve Independence (Susan Chantrell)
Chapter 13: Working with Traumatised Refugees (Joanne Stubley)
Part III: Teaching
Chapter 14: Observation as a Way of Learning (Marion Bower)
Chapter 15: Psychanalysis and the Psychotherapies – Institutional Cleansing (Narendra Keval)
"The book has areas of interest and learning for social workers and alternatively qualiﬁed professionals from all disciplines of relational social work but, in my opinion, is an invaluable resource for leaders, managers and practice educators. I have certainly taken a wealth of ideas to inform the practice development and workforce support in my own organisation."
Amana Gordon, Journal of Social Work Practice