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.

Sustaining Oneself in Relationship Based Social Work

Sustaining oneself in relationship based social work


Previous chapters have provided you with the opportunity to enhance your self-awareness by helping you to reflect upon the life experiences that have made you who you are. This chapter should help you to complement this subjective exploration by asking the more objective question about what you are (or will become) as a social worker. These two dimensions, who you are and what you are, form the bases of your training which requires your subjective self, your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, to engage gradually with the more objective role and identity called ‘social worker’.

The Key Roles that you are practising are tools you use to do your job, but they are not ...

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