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What Social Workers Need to Know: A Psychoanalytic Approach
Bower, Marion and Robert Solomon
Routledge / Softcover / 2017-09-01 / 1138905666
Social Work
reg price: $66.50 our price: $ 56.53 (may be subject to change)
238 pages
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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? What are the best theories and techniques that are suitable for 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 severe emotional difficulties and disturbances in both clients and social workers themselves.

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.

Table of Contents


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)

Useful Texts


About the Authors:

Marion Bower is a freelance social worker and adult psychotherapist. She has worked in child and family mental health services for 34 years including 14 years at the Tavistock Clinic. She co-editedThe Emotional Needs of Young Children and their Familiesand editedPsychoanalytic theory for social work practice, both published by Routledge.

Robin Solomon is a consultant social worker at the Tavistock Clinic. She is a member of the fostering, adoption and kinship care team. She organises courses and teaches extensively at the Tavistock Clinic.

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