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.

Knowing and Using Oneself in Relationship Based Social Work

Knowing and using oneself in relationship based social work

Introduction

The last chapter set out the theoretical bases for believing that relationships and, in particular, the emotions that underpin them, play a critical part in our bio-psycho-social formation during childhood and throughout our adult lives. As these knowledge bases grow, and we become increasingly aware of the critical impact of relationships, both positive and negative, on our lives, social workers are led towards a fundamental question about professional practice. That is, how can they use this knowledge about the effects of relationships in a way that both benefits their clients and meets their practice objectives?

The implication here is that relational theory should be ‘matched’ (Ward and McMahon 1998) ...

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