The Meandering Social Worker

wandering : wondering : learning


In a world where social work knowledge and theory are being perpetually developed the book “Developing Reflective Practice”, edited by Helen Martyn and published by the Policy Press in 2000, seems dated in many of its references.

But there is one thing that hasn’t and doesn’t change.  Individual problems and families are still the same.  And this book’s case studies of practitioners working towards their advanced qualifications are still a valid reminder of reflection on practice, and can help prompt new thoughts about old cases of our own.  Would we do things differently now?  How would changes in policy, procedures, or the developments in theory and knowledge impact on any differences?

It’s never too late to take time out to reflect on what was and what might have been.  But with so much bad press targetted at social workers it’s too easy to allow reflections to become another stick to beat yourself with.  It’s part of the job, finding that fine line of balance between one unsatisfactory decision and an even worse one!  And if, with the value of hindsight, we do conclude it might have been better done differently these are the times we just have to accept that the theory, knowledge and experience available to us at the time was different to what it is now.

The book itself covers working within children & families, whether with individuals or with family groups, and covers a wide range of types of practice.

I wonder where the writers of these case studies are now, what they are doing, and how they have changed in their practice since then.


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