Social work books – recommended reading list

as experienced social workers and practice educators, we’ve been asked by a number of student social workers to compile a list of recommended social work books.

Depression & Older People – An International Perspective

Depression impacts 1 in 5 of the population

As the saying goes, ‘time flies’. Suddenly we’re already in March and no one can quite believe how our lives can move on so quickly. When you have the energy and distractions of youth, it can be easy to forget that the passage of time affects others much more drastically.

Older people are more likely to suffer from depression, an issue which impacts 1 in 5 of the whole population; and feeling like time has left them behind can bring about intense feelings of loneliness and sadness. So, the dilemma presents itself: how can we help?

What are the ‘symptoms’

Depression can manifest itself in the elderly through symptoms such as lack of energy, sleep disturbances, neglecting personal care and a loss of interest in socialising or previous hobbies. Whether living in their own homes or in care homes, older people of society struggle to fight depression once their regular routines of work or childcare are lost. Retirement brings an era of great change for people and as their health begins to deteriorate, it can be easy to slip into a sense of hopelessness and depression.

Now, it must be recognised that diagnosing depression in older people can be tricky, because the symptoms can be mistaken for grief – an unfortunate companion of the passage of time. As we age, time takes people we care about from us and processing loss can be an incredibly difficult part of life. Therefore, it’s important that we all learn these differences, so that we can be present and able to help those around us who may be going through a tough time. Looking out for our elders does not always involve them directly; it can sometimes be more about the younger generations clueing themselves up on mental health and how things change over time. By understanding what older citizens may be going through, we can then be in a better frame of mind to provide the comfort and support they need.

Understand the role depression

Once we understand the role depression plays in the lives of the elderly, it’s then the case of figuring our how best to fight it. For this, sometimes it’s best to widen our horizons and compare how other countries are finding different ways to support the elderly. While countries such as Germany, who have a current epidemic of “exporting” their elderly due to the price of care in state, are not the example to be followed; another European country is setting the bar pretty high: Denmark.

Envy of the Scandinavian lifestyle is now extending beyond IKEA meatballs and a “hygge” approach to interior design and into the care sector all because of Denmark. Not only do they spend 2.2% of their GDP on the elderly and establishing the necessary facilities for them, but they also have councils of senior citizens to advise on the improvements needed to create the best quality of life. The Danish have also put in place financial help by providing a basic pension of £811 before tax AND making medicine cheaper for those who don’t have a private pension. Their centralised e-healthcare database is also a great source of pride for the nation, as it allows them to be more aware of medical issues their elderly may have; working in conjunction with a policy that all 80-year olds are entitled to home visits to show the older citizens that they are still a priority. We could definitely take a page from their book.

Denmark is not the only nation to take a new look at as we try to rethink how we try to provide the best care for our elders and protect them from the pain depression brings. Canada and the USA are currently taking on an adorable approach to revitilising the elderly: by throwing a bunch of energetic toddlers at them. In Seattle, a living care community shares its facility five days a week with a kindergarten, looking after 125 children aged 0-5. The senior citizens are mostly in need of serious care but being around such young and enthusiastic children reminds them of how vibrant life can be. “Humans are, and have always been, an intergenerational species” so bringing together these vastly different generations of society is both an act of innovation and tradition. After all, before there are friends and bosses and the pressures of adulthood, there have always been grandparents ready and waiting to join in with the daily game or sing a nursery rhyme with.

Depression in older people can stem from feeling out of touch or alone

Here in the UK, we’ve started to recognise these benefits through the Channel 4 programme “Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds”. But one TV show is not enough if we want to truly help our senior citizens feel an equally-valued part of our community. Depression in older people can stem from feeling out of touch or alone if they live far from family or in a care home because their bodies are not working as they used to. Four-year olds are the very epitome of joy, with their weirdly wonderful train of thought and infectious laughter – so it’s hard to feel depressed and helpless around them.

Our senior citizens are our grandfathers who sit in a deck chair and talk to you about the garden, our grandmothers who never think you’ve eaten enough and will always smell of cake, our parents who would move mountains for us even when they struggle to walk. They fought for women’s equality and in a war unlike any of us want to really understand; they designed the fashion statement pieces we now are calling “vintage chic” and fought against politicians for our futures. Now it is our turn to stand up for them and we are not doing enough. Ideas like integrating the care of older people with the education of the young should be rolled out nationwide and providing financial and structural support shouldn’t be up for regular debate. The UK always strives to be different, but that shouldn’t mean ignoring successful policies from other countries. After all, we owe our elders this much.

Did you know you can find a job and upload your CV? You can also search, find and refer to the latest social work and care courses and events.

Resources addressing Depression - download for free

Resource E-Pack for Adult Practitioners | Social Care Resources

This Resource E-Pack has been developed for Adult Practitioners and showcases an excellent list of free direct resources that can be used when working with vulnerable adults. 

Visit our direct resources, guides & assessment handouts centre

Over 400 direct resources you can download .

Social Work Needs to Help Fathers

[vc_row bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” animate_item=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][vc_column bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” min_height=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][text delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=””]It’s no secret that families have changed in recent years. Divorce is no longer a taboo subject, IVF and other advances have made it easier for everyone to start a family and, slowly but surely, adoption by a gay or lesbian couple is becoming legal worldwide. To look at things simply, the term family means something different to what it did 50 years ago. With such positive development though, we must take the time to make sure we are adapting to the new normal: in particular in terms of the roles fathers play in the lives of their children.[/text][custom_heading delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]

Why focus on dads?

[/custom_heading][text delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=””]When a couple separates children are more likely to live with their mother, which leaves their relationships with their fathers in a precarious position. Or if a family is hit by a tragedy, a father can sometimes be the only parent a child can turn to. These changes mean the importance of the role a father stereotypically used to play in the nurture and emotional upbringing of a child is very different. With these new changes, social workers need to make an active effort to ensure that they are working with fathers and teaching them about how best to care for their children. There’s endless research proving how having an engaged dad is beneficial for the whole family, with kids developing better social skills and mental health, as well as performing better educationally. Sharing the child care responsibilities reduces the pressure on individual parents and statistically leads to more positive relationships with both parents.

The past year has been dominated by strong women standing up for themselves and taking a stand for equality; and while it’s a slightly quieter movement, men are fighting their own fight around gender stereotypes and what it looks like to be a man in 2019. Hollywood actor Justin Baldoni recently gave an inspiring TED Talk which went viral in a matter of days, where he discussed why he was done being “man enough”. President Obama was celebrated not just for his political actions, but for the way he expressed his emotions towards his daughters while in the public eye, most notably in his farewell address in Chicago. Men in positions of power or fame are more frequently using their platforms to discuss modern masculinity and most importantly, their relationships with their children. The power of technology and media means that children can see what positive father-child relationships look like across the world; whereas historically a father eager to actively participate in the typically feminine role of care was a rarity in everyday life. It’s becoming more normal for fathers to be involved in their child’s emotional growth.[/text][custom_heading delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]

So how do we start helping UK fathers?

[/custom_heading][text delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=””]The whole social work industry needs to develop programmes where fathers can learn about pregnancy and raising children in a welcoming environment, through advice from men going through similar situations or sessions with doctors or child psychologists. By understanding the situation, fathers can then learn to facilitate change with the help of social workers. As a society we need to show support for men who challenge the stereotypical norm and are keen to take on a leading role in the emotional education of their children. Practitioners need to involve dads in their work, by asking about them if they’re absent in meetings or ensuring their voice is heard. It can be difficult to engage with some fathers, maybe they aren’t comfortable discussing their emotions, especially during tough times but it is so important for the whole family that they do. A good place to start could be promoting support groups for dads dealing with loss or encouraging workplaces to recognise family commitments for men in the same way as they do for women. This is an issue that has gained government attention, with MPs recognising that the current parental leave system needs reform, but while the politicians debate legal change; we as members of communities need to show societal change. Social workers need to make sure there is adequate support for dads within the existing structures, even with simple things like making sure fathers get all the same information as mothers. Meanwhile, everyone else can show their encouragement for dads by asking about them in schools, doctors’ appointments, extracurricular sessions… any aspect of a child’s life where another parent would be a positive addition.

A father is an irreplaceable part of a child’s life; no matter what social background, economic class or nationality – fathers are important. And if social work does not factor in this importance then children can be left with emotional scars and damaged relationships that stop them from living their best lives, which at its core is what social work aims to do for every citizen.[/text][callout type=”style_one” delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” title=”Direct Resources” message=”List of free to download resources you can use when working with parents.” title_color=”” text_color=”” bg_image=”” href=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][button text=”Parenting Risk Assessment | Assessing Parenting Capacity (NSPCC)” type=”” size=”large” color_class=”” float=”start” target=”blank” lightbox=”” delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” href=”″ title=”” popup_content=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][clear by=”10px” id=”” class=””][button text=”Parents Guide to making plans for their children after separation” type=”” size=”large” color_class=”” float=”start” target=”blank” lightbox=”” delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” href=”″ title=”” popup_content=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/callout][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” animate_item=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][vc_column bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” min_height=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Active Listening Skills and Person Centred Approach in Social Work

Social workers practice not only in the traditional social care services (both Adults & Children & Young People), but also in schools; the military; third sector, voluntary services and local government agencies and legislative bodies. In fact, social workers can be found anywhere and everywhere there are people who need the help or assistance in addressing personal or social problems.

A ‘shared journey’; based on a positive working relationship

Social work practice seeks to help those assessed as in need to improve their situation through assessment, planning, intervention and supervision. However, effective delivery of support and services can only be done after the social worker manages to engage the individual (and family) and build a rapport with him or her as a ‘shared journey’; based on a positive working relationship (look at Systemic Practice).

As such in the ‘beginning process’, it is vital for the social worker to engage and secure an individual’s trust to bring the helping relationship to a greater height. But how can this be achieved and what do we need to demonstrated in practice?

Social work engagement skills

Two areas that social workers must be competent and demonstrate in practice on a day to day basis includes the ability to promote active listening skills and adopt a person centred approach (this includes when working in Child Protection or Safeguarding).

Below we have broken down these social work ‘buzz words’ and have offered guidance on how they can be adopted and promoted in front-line practice. We’ve also provided an excellent resource on ‘Social Work Engagement Skills’ that practitioners can download for free.

Active listening

Active listening is a communication technique that is used in social work, counselling, training and conflict resolution. It is a great (and essential) technique to promote empowerment and engagement. This document offers a good guide to help develop and understand active listening.

Person Centred Approach

The ‘person-centred’ approach was developed by Carl Rogers in the 1950s in the field of psychotherapy. It’s use emphasises the importance of creating a positive relationship and environment, focusing on:

  • Respect
  • Empathy
  • Genuineness (congruence)
  • Unconditional Positive Regard

Download resource

Join the Social Work Community: Pursuing a career in social work with the University of Manchester

People come to a career in social work through a variety of routes. Some come as career changers. Mature students come into social work having experienced successful careers in other areas of employment but feeling they want to do something they consider to be more worthwhile with their lives. People often want to make a difference and to use their skills to benefit others in the community. They bring life experience with them and are able to transfer experiences from previous employment to help them succeed in their social work careers. Others come to social work as they have had experience of benefiting from social work services themselves or seeing how services have benefited others. People also come to social work from their undergraduate degrees – wanting to continue studying and to gain the social work qualification to enable them to develop their careers effectively.

At the University of Manchester we are very proud of our MA Social Work programme and of the part we play in educating the social workers of the future. In 2019 the University of Manchester is rated as the tenth best University in the country  and the twenty ninth best university in the world. A social work qualification from the University of Manchester is internationally recognised. Manchester itself is an excellent place to live and to study – it is a welcoming and inclusive city.

The MA Social Work programme recruits approximately 40 students each year so we have the opportunity to really get to know you and to work closely with you to develop your potential. Each student has a dedicated Academic Adviser who stays with you throughout your studies and offers you academic and personal support.  We are key members of the Greater Manchester Social Work Academy and have strong links with social work employers across Greater Manchester, including the ten local authorities. This means we are able to place you in excellent practice placements to give you experience of social work in the community. We also make sure you are well prepared before you go out on placement. In your first semester we work closely with you in our simulation suites to help you practice your interviews and communication skills to build up your confidence and expertise. You will work closely with social work practitioners, people with lived experience who use social work services and experienced academics. You will also be supported to develop your academic skills and to work towards submitting a dissertation on a practice related area of your choice. You will be supported in your move into employment and most of our students obtain social work positions very quickly after qualifying.

We still have a few places available on our social work programme to start in September 2019. If you want to know more about what studying for social work at the University of Manchester entails hearing about this directly from our students – past and present – would be a good starting point:

Apply today: Study a MA in Social Work at the University of Manchester

For further information about our programme and details about how to apply please contact our Graduate Social Work MHS Email: or Gary Norton, who is the Admissions Tutor for the MA Social Work programme.

My Social Work Story Series: As a Social Work Manager I Let Staff Down

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I’ve been a qualified Social Worker for just over six years, working primarily within Children’s Services. Throughout my career, it’s safe to say that I have experienced some fantastic highs and I’m a very proud practitioner; yes, the role is very challenging, but it is also very rewarding.

However, one of my most challenging periods arose after my first year of practice; I was ‘fast tracked’ into a management role.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”What happened?” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]To be honest, I felt slightly pressurised in applying by my managers/senior managers. Yes, I was interested in a future in management, but I was very inexperienced as I had only been qualified for 12 months; I lacked relevant experience and had no previous experience of management or leadership roles. I hadn’t even supervised a Student Social Worker as a Practice Educator.

However, at the time I was made to feel that if I didn’t apply it would have a negative impact on my future career aspirations and would ‘look bad’ within the Service. Trust me when I say that I now view such thoughts as ridiculous and hugely regrettable. I also believe that it flies in the face of Social Work values, standards and conduct; particularly where we should challenge, where appropriate, and be accountable for our own practice/development.

But I was relatively inexperienced and felt I needed to please others. I initially thought I had no chance in getting the job. But little did I know I was the only applicant.

Whilst the interview didn’t go particularly well, I received a phone call later that day offering me the management role. I accepted and began within a three week turn around. As a manager I was accountable and responsible for a group of seven Social Workers and four Support Workers; the longest serving practitioner in my group had only 18 months of front-line work under her belt.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”I was way out of my depth” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]What followed for the next six months can only be described as the most difficult period of my Social Work career. I felt I was only ever one step ahead of my staff and in some cases several steps behind. Rightly so, this did not instil them with confidence in my ability to offer informed decision making.

How could I possibly offer them guidance or advice, without the relevant experience or knowledge? To address this, I spent most evenings and weekends working; reading and learning the latest policies, procedures, guidance and legislation on how best to support Social Work Practitioners. This only contributed to the demise of my personal relationships. For the first time, I began to feel depressed; I would often get anxious on Saturday evenings for the following Monday.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”I started to burn out” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]However, at the time I believed that these feelings were a small price to pay as I tried frantically to develop my management skills and knowledge. I constantly felt I was letting them down but instead of being honest with them, I felt I needed to portray a sense of invincibility.

During my personal supervision, I attempted to highlight my deficiencies and that I was struggling both professionally and personally. My managers response came as a surprise; I was told that me being in the role was better than having a vacancy to fill. This only further contributed to my anxiety and for the first time I had doubts about Social Work.

I started to burn out…This couldn’t go on. Subsequently, I was signed off on sick leave due to work related stress. I let everyone down, including myself![/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Road to recovery” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Whilst I was off, I saw a friend who happened to be a therapist. Initially I found opening up tough. But, through the process of critical self-awareness and reflection, I began to feel a growing sense of power in my decision making and control over my actions. This was something that had previously been lacking in my role as a manager. I started to understand the importance of self-care and work-life balance. This gave me energy; my passion for social work started to burn once more.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Returning to work” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]After four weeks on sick leave, I took the decision to return to front-line practice. My Service was hugely supportive in my return. They understood the reasons for me leaving in the first place and had developed ‘internal mechanisms’ to address concerns raised and made sure that they wouldn’t reoccur.  I was given a new manager and started to practice in a different area within the County… and I have never looked back!

I’m really pleased to say that I now feel hugely supported in my role (now a Senior Practitioner). Also, I am now undertaking a management and leadership course and I’ve had a number of Student Social Workers (I’m also a Stage 2 Practice Educator) that I helped develop.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Social Work Progression Pathways” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]I am now reconsidering a role into management as I feel I have the right amount of experience both in practice and supporting staff development. However, no matter what happens I will forever feel as though I let staff down in my first management role.

My final thought about my experience is that I should’ve challenged those that wanted to ‘fast track’ my career. It is right to say that not all Social Workers can be good or effective managers. But I felt that, with limited experience and little support, I was contributing to staff anxiety and made complex situations worse.

However, I do believe that services now understand the importance of investing in the professional development; Specifically, Social Work Progression Pathways, which significantly limits or reduces the feelings of being ‘thrown in at the deep end’. Long may this trend continue to develop.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”So, what learning can others take from my experiences?” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]

  • Never feel you need to apply for a role as a result of being pressurised by others.
  • You cannot know everything – I’ve learnt that the best staff are not those who think they know everything. It is those who understand their weaknesses as well as their strengths.
  • We are all humans – We will make mistakes. Learn from me, accept it, you are not invincible… Use Peer support and develop self-care.

This was completed by a Senior Social Worker, who wishes to remain anonymous. This is part of our Social Work Stories Series, if you’d like to contribute, please contact us at[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Related Articles” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23848685″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_btn title=”How To Be A Social Work Manager Practitioners Value” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|rel:nofollow”][vc_btn title=”Top Tips: How To Be A Good Social Work Manager” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|rel:nofollow”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

NQSW explores relationships as the heart of social work

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”The past” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]

Throughout my social work education, it was drummed into me the need to be a radical social worker. Fight for social justice they said, stand up to the establishment they said, this was the ONLY social worker to be. Now whilst I don’t mind challenging when necessary, here I was, a fresh faced, unqualified newbie who was now questioning how I was going to hold down a job, look after my family, attend rally’s and protests and generally cause a bit of trouble. Noooooo that couldn’t be right surely? I mean, I had sacrificed my entire social life, my sanity AND the pub to fulfil my career goals, surely there was a better way? .

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They say social work is a calling and I believe it is.  I have heard stories about social workers lying to people about their jobs, but not me.  Wear my badge with pride I do.  I can honestly say I love my job, I really do.  I had found that work life balance that most people fantasised about.  You see social work values really do fit in line with my own.  However, eighteen months qualified and I was beginning to feel unsatisfied.  I knew I was struggling to deal with a profession that was becoming besieged by targets and timescales.  It has been feeling like social work was being defined by everyone except social workers and we were losing our voice.

Then I was given information about an event looking at social pedagogy in Europe.  Having completed a module on it in university I was intrigued to find out more………and besides, who can refuse a free day out in Preston?

On the day of the event I spoke to many people from many countries, all talking about this value-based approach of relational working.  This was it, this was the “radical” social work I had been looking for.  A holistic way of working to support well-being, learning and growth. Putting relationships at the heart of social work!  Before I knew it, I had signed up to the MA in Social Pedagogy Leadership, and that “free” day out in Preston would result in more student debt!

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4646″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” link=””][vc_single_image image=”4665″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” link=””][vc_custom_heading text=”You’re studying what?” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]

One of the first things I was introduced to was the term ‘Haltung’.  Roughly translated as ethos, mindset or attitude.  I was taught how Haltung guides our actions by what we believe in, and is characterised by core conditions of congruence, empathic understanding, and unconditional positive regard.  It was now that I realised why I had been struggling.  Yes, I love my job, but at a time when social work and austerity go hand in hand, I was finding it increasingly difficult to build relationships with the children and families I work alongside, and I was realising why that was.  Relationships are important to me both personal and professional – and these are naturally linked.  It was obvious there was a “tug of loyalty” between my Haltung and the needs of my organisation.

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”The three ‘P’s'” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]

I was always told not to share any personal information when working with families.  I found this difficult as I felt like I was doing “to” families rather than doing “with”.  There I was with my laptop and ID badge oozing power, expecting families to divulge their deepest darkest secrets without sharing anything of myself.  I mean, as far as I am aware I am human too? I have my own challenges and experiences, and by sharing I could help reduce the imbalance of power and connect on a human level.  The relationship forms the foundation of my work and that could only succeed if I was authentic (3-ps).

Social work values and ethics tell us to be non-judgemental.  We were taught to be aware of our own beliefs and prejudices and how these can affect working relationships, but never to consider what the people we work with bring with them.  Very often we get “stuck” cases that become labelled as “troubled families”.

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Herm-a-what?” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]

Hermeneutics offered me an understanding of why people don’t come to any given conclusion without some form of pre-understanding, which is influenced by their own views and experiences.  “Understanding is, essentially, a historically effected event” (Gadamer, 2004). Basically, the inappropriately labelled “troubled families” bring with them their own views and experiences, and by realising how their reality is constructed by these experiences, effects how they engage and could make a person feel misunderstood.  Never had the saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” made more sense – change will not happen if it is imposed.  Essentially, I needed to understand that we can all look at the same thing differently and arrive at different conclusions.

When I initially read a case, I make assumptions about a family, its natural, I am only human.  However, hermeneutics explained how my prejudices can affect my interpretations of that family.  It made me look at people’s behaviour and challenge my own thinking, beliefs and perceptions, and consciously try and not label families.  It is important to me to understand the way of life of a person, therefore, I had to understand their thinking and behaviour.  By utilising empathy and dialogue will only lead me towards a greater commitment from families and develop positive relationships.

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I am used to the scrunched-up faces and look of confusion when I tell people what I am studying.  I try and explain that social pedagogy is not a method or something we can adopt for a particular situation, it is about how we do what we do.  As professionals I learn and act using my head (knowledge) heart (emotions) and hands (actions) – striving for the balance of all three.

*Gadamer, H, G. (2004) Truth and Method. London: Continuum.

Written by an anonymous NQSW Social Worker.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_separator color=”orange”][vc_custom_heading text=”Related topic:
My Social Work Story Series: NQSW’s journey to Social Work” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23848685″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][vc_separator color=”orange”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1553858897896{background-color: #848685 !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Want to know more about social pedagogy?” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_btn title=”Thempra website has lots of information and resources” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_text=”#ef7e21″ shape=”round” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Sign up to the FREE Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to look at social pedagogy across Europe” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_text=”#ef7e21″ shape=”round” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”MA in Social Pedagogy Leadership at University of Central Lancashire” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_text=”#ef7e21″ shape=”round” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Add your front-line service to our Social Care Directory for free!

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We are continuing to expand our social care directory database on a National level and we’re inviting all front-line social care service providers to join us. Whether 3rd sector, charity, voluntary, private or local council services, our social care directory is completely FREE to register and list.

All you need to do is register for a free ‘advertiser’ account via our sign-in/register page. Once your email has been validated, you’ll be able to list any service you offer under the ‘social care directory’ listing package. It takes five minutes and it’s a great cost effective way to help promote the fantastic services you offer.

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Set up listing” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|rel:nofollow”][vc_custom_heading text=”How it began” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]

One Stop Social was created by Matt Hughes when he was managing a local Children’s Team. What he found was that front-line services and social care practitioners needed a better way to help improve referrals and communications, so that the right services could be found to help those in need of them. He understood that time is precious due to work pressures. As such, One Stop Social’s aims isto be a single point of access or ‘one stop shop’ where practitioners can search, find and refer to local social care services.

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4646″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=””][vc_btn title=”Set up listing” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|rel:nofollow”][vc_custom_heading text=”Our Philosophy” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]

For 3 years, we’ve been supporting the lives of thousands of UK social workers by assisting with interview skills, practice education, CPD sessions, legal training, access to relevant jobs and resources to build good practice. Our Work and Care Together events unite our community for innovative discussions and valuable training, continuing our mission to advocate good practice nationwide.

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Promoting Self Care in Social Work


Social work is without doubt one of the most rewarding professions; we enter the line of work because we believe we can make a genuine and positive difference to the lives of those we work with. We support, we advocate and we celebrate successes of those who have been marginalised from society. We work as a shared journey promoting compassion, empathy and respect for others. We endeavour to go above and beyond and to be that ‘helping hand’ when needed or required.

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However, given the very nature of work involved, it can be challenging, emotionally and mentally taxing. We are not heroes, we do not have super-powers and to think this way undermines the very nature of what it truly means to be a social worker… We are human beings! Self care in social work is something that we must all practice if we are truly going to make a difference. So, what can we do to promote self-care in social work?

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Here are a list of useful things you can do to promote Self Care in Social Work” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23848685″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_custom_heading text=”Work vs life balance: Remember to have a social life” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21|line_height:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]

Stay connected with friends and family members. If you feel isolated, connect through community events. It is so important for your emotional well being that you connect and stay connected with others. Make sure to place emphasis on a good work vs life balance. For me, this was rugby; for at least three nights of the week I was either training or playing rugby and it helped me feel like I was more than just a social worker.

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Our weaknesses are always shouting out for our attention. Try to focus on your strengths or what you’re good at. Allow yourself time everyday to focus on them. You can even list them out so you never forget what they are. Build your life around them. The more you live within your strengths, the less your weaknesses will matter.

Source: Strong Sensitive Souls

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It is really important that you take your lunch break. I recommend eating away from your computer or desk; this stops the temptation of working through lunch. It also gives you a chance to reflect on something other than work related. This will increase your productivity.

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Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique that involves being more aware of the present moment. Practising mindfulness can help you become more aware of your own moods and reactions. There are some excellent mindfulness apps out at the moment; headspace and calm being two that I currently use (I love the sound of rain on the calm app – this takes me from a 10 to a 3 in seconds).

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It sounds strange but utilise your social work skills to help develop your own thinking. For example, I reflect constantly on both work and non-work events. I also use future planning techniques (solution focused therapy) when I feel particularly anxious about work/life. This helps me provide an achievable structure that is manageable.

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As I mentioned above, I love the sound of rain. When it rains, I will often stop and allow myself 30 seconds to listen to it hitting my car roof. I also enjoy walking in the rain; I get lost with my thoughts and feel connected with nature. Whilst I am passionate about being a social worker, it makes me realise there is more to life than just work, work, work. So, make time to connect with nature and you can do this whether living rurally or in cities.

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I am not a nutritionist, but what you eat, and when you eat, can make a big difference to how well you feel. I tend to eat healthy(ish) Monday to Friday and then have the weekend to relax.

Source: Mind

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Yep, you’ve probably found this article on social media (thanks for reading), but I believe it’s really important that you have ‘down-time’ from social media. This can be for one evening or a few hours. It will allow you to focus your attention on something else as social media, as good as it is, can be very toxic.

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We live in an age where society is chronically sleep deprived. If you’re the first in and last to leave, not only does this promote an unrealistic image of managing workload, it will also impact on your sleeping patterns. I aim to get a solid 7 ½ to 8 hours a sleep a night. I start my unwinding process at 9am, when the TV is switched off.

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I try and take 30 minutes a week to do something new; whether it be working in the garden, building a website for the first time or completing yoga at home. This helps me escape from thoughts relating to work as I just focus solely on the task in hand.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1553345810724{background-color: #848685 !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Featured Resource” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_empty_space][vc_btn title=”50 Acts of Professional Self Care for Social Workers” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_text=”#ef7e21″ shape=”round” align=”center” link=”||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]