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Social Worker Attitudes for Effective Practice

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Effective social service practitioners spend a lot of time reflecting and have a great deal of information in their heads, but when they begin work with children and families they know they know nothing. Their first job is to get to know families and what the families want. They do this by being trustworthy and keeping their word. They build working alliances with
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Social Worker Attitudes Jane F. Gilgun, PhD, LICSW Professor, School of Social Work University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA October 30, 2012 [email protected]
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Page 1: Social Worker Attitudes for Effective Practice

Social Worker Attitudes

Jane F. Gilgun, PhD, LICSWProfessor, School of Social Work

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USAOctober 30, [email protected]

Page 2: Social Worker Attitudes for Effective Practice

Topics

Not Knowing

Framework for not Knowing

Alternatives to Not Knowing

Sharing with Parents What You do Know

Assessment Tools

Knowing Some Things in General

Not Knowing Individuals

Relevance of Signs of Safety Framework

Page 3: Social Worker Attitudes for Effective Practice

Not Knowing

Importance of a storehouse of knowledge

Social workers know nothing about individuals family members at intake

Assessments based on relationships

Relationships built on trust

Trust based on attunement, sensitive responsiveness, showing up

Page 4: Social Worker Attitudes for Effective Practice

Framework for Not Knowing

Centrality of seeking to understand

Open-ended inquiry

Contextualized inquiry

Be open to correction by children & parents

Gentle focus on person’s stories and perspectives

Situated stories

Service users’ points of view

Life histories

Belief systems

Page 5: Social Worker Attitudes for Effective Practice

Framework Not Knowing

Reflection as reciprocity

During early parts of assessment, well-timed statements of what you are hearing

Be open to correction

As you learn more, let parents and children know what you are learning about them

Sensitive responsiveness & attunement

Be a secure, safe base

Hold back on showing rage, shock, disgust, and pity

Page 6: Social Worker Attitudes for Effective Practice

Framework for Not Knowing

You could be wrong

Reflection

Value base of your work

Know own life history

Know own flaws and biases

Be honest with yourself

Find one other person to be honest with

Supervision

Be open-minded

On-going study

Page 7: Social Worker Attitudes for Effective Practice

Framework for Not Knowing

More on Building Relationships

Relationships of trust with other professionals

Return phone calls

Show up

Listen

Know systems and referral sources

Safety first

Advocate for service users based upon values of justice, care, dignity, worth, autonomy

Page 8: Social Worker Attitudes for Effective Practice

Alternativesto Not Knowing

Paternalism (Dismissive of parents’/children’s pov)

Child saving (Preoccupied & Paternalistic)

Rigid Thinking (Dismissive)

Confusions of Perspectives & View Points at Individual & Systems Levels (Disorganized)

Page 9: Social Worker Attitudes for Effective Practice

Share with Parents& Children What you Do Know

Bit by bit

Toward end of assessment

Examples?

Page 10: Social Worker Attitudes for Effective Practice

Assessment Tools

As crib notes and cheat sheets

Most important is what is in your head

Keep adding to what is in your head

Revise what is in your head

Connect head and heart

Be authoritative

Secure base

Some behaviors are harmful

Parents who harm require clarity & direction

Page 11: Social Worker Attitudes for Effective Practice

Assessment Tools

Lessons From Common Factors Model

Most change occurs outside of sw/su relationship

Relationships single most important factor after outside influences

SW and SU (Service User) variables important: motivation, desire for change

Specific technical framework, such as CBT, competency-based, solution focused, narrative therapy are equally effective when looked at in the context of the other three factors

Page 12: Social Worker Attitudes for Effective Practice

Discussion

Relationships central

Trust takes time

Breakdown & repair part of trust-building

Have lots of info in your head

Know you know nothing about families before you do assessments

Test what you know for fit with families & children

Revise your understandings as you gain knowledge

Reflection is central

Page 13: Social Worker Attitudes for Effective Practice

References

Drisko, James (2004). Common factors in psychotherapy outcome: Meta-analytic findings and their implications for practice and research. Families in Society, 85(1), 81-90.

Lambert, M. (1992). Implications of outcome research for psychotherapy integration. In J. Norcross & J. Goldstein (Eds.), Handbook of psychotherapy integration (pp. 94-129) NY: Basic.

The Signs of Safety Child Protection Practice Framework (2nd ed.) (2011). Government of Western Australia, Department of Child Protection. http://www.dcp.wa.gov.au/Resources/Documents/Policies%20and%20Frameworks/SignsOfSafetyFramework2011.pdf

Tunnell, Andrew (2009). Introduction to the Signs of Safety (DVD & Workbook). Resolutions Consultancy. Perth: Western Australia. Available at signsofsafety.net.


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