Complexity lies at the heart of social work practice and this book is designed to help students and newly-qualified social workers plan for and manage complex cases in an increasingly complex environment. Split into two parts, this book reflects the journey of qualifying social work students from preparation for practice in an educational context to learning ‘on the job’ through working with service users in practice settings, and eventually assuming a more senior role in management, administration and training. Key topics covered in the chapters include, managing volatility and uncertainty; making judgements and decisions; building and maintaining relationships; using reflection and supervision; working interprofessionally; managing risk; exploring cause and effect.
Chapter 4: Building and Maintaining Relationships
The focus of this chapter is on the relationship between social workers and their clients. Initial considerations include the significance of relationships within the social work role and the skills required to build and maintain relationships with people in order to help them to achieve positive change. These ideas are integrated into an account of the ‘helping relationship’ drawing on the counselling theories of Rogers and Egan. The chapter then outlines some key psychodynamic concepts for understanding the underlying dynamics of practitioner–client interactions and behaviour, including transference and counter-transference, containment, and holding. There follows a discussion of complexity in relationship-based practice, which includes working with strong feelings, understanding and addressing resistance, and managing dilemmas and transitions ...