Human relationships lie at the very heart of social work practice, and an understanding of their importance is a crucial aspect of training. This book considers the place of relationships in current practice and explores the ways in which social workers can use relationship skills to achieve the best possible outcomes for their clients.

The book also offers a unique discussion of the social worker's relationship with him or herself, arguing that self-awareness is as essential to good practice as an emotional understanding of the other. In doing so, the book promotes a new model for relationship-based social work, which emphasizes the importance of both the inter- and intrapersonal.

Opening with an introduction to the theoretical bases of the relationship-based model, the book then focuses on their direct application to social work practice. Key topics include:

Self-awareness and using oneself; Knowing the other person; Sustaining oneself; The ethics of relationship-based social work; Internalizing knowledge, skills and values

Using reflective exercises and case studies, the book encourages students to relate the tools they have learnt to practice scenarios from the real world, and is essential reading for all qualifying social work students.

The Centrality of Relationships in Social Work

The centrality of relationships in social work

Introduction

This chapter begins to consider the central place that relationships take in the formation of the individual person. We are all affected profoundly by our experiences of relationships and this is why the relationship between a social worker and her client can alter the practice outcome. We shall consider some practical examples that illustrate this and, in doing so, show that the worker's relationship with herself is just as important as the one she has with her client. Finally, we shall start to examine the idea that it is through the worker–client relationship that a social worker can ‘use herself’ in a creative way.

Human Relationships and Why They Matter

Human beings are interested ...

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