Case study

profileSalman Wahid

Engaging with Individuals and Families in Partnership

SWK313 Module 1

Week 2

 Unit outline and expectations

 Texts and resources

 Assessment Items

 Module 1 – key concepts

 Using Social Work Theory in practice

 Critical thinking

 Communication & Micro Skills

 Erica’s case study & Week 1 Tutorial activity

Week One Recap

 An Integrated Framework

 Engagement

 Partnership

 Reflection, reflexivity and a critical approach

 Frameworks for analysing theories

 Organisational Context

 Dilemmas for practice

 Professional values and ethics

 Week 2 Tutorial activity

This week

 What are your impressions of Erica's situation based on this referral? Why?

 Using the professional Code of Ethics relevant to your chosen discipline (e.g. AASW or ACWA), briefly outline the main ethical principles you might need to consider when working with Erica and her family. Why is this important?

 As a social worker/human service worker, what is your understanding of ‘working in partnership’ with clients? How would this guide your practice with Erica in this initial session and what could you say/ask or do during this first meeting to reflect this approach?

Module 1 Questions:

Integrated Framework

Anti-Oppressive practice


Organisational context


Phases of helping

Maidment, J., & Egan, R. (2009). Practice skills in social work and welfare: More than just common sense. Allen & Unwin.

 Developed from Critical Theory

 The source of individual problems in located with in a wider social context

 Pays attention to the use of language, power relationships, historical context of practice

Anti Oppressive Practice

 The context of service is important and can influence what a “partnership” looks like in practice

 Practitioners require strong structural analysis to maintain a position of ethical and practice integrity

 Practitioners can use critical reflection, critical analysis and critical practice approach (e.g. Anti Oppressive Practice) to achieve this.

Organisational Context

 Engagement

 Assessment

 Intervention & evaluation

 Closure

Maidment, J., & Egan, R. (2009). Practice skills in social work and welfare: More than just common sense. Allen & Unwin.

Phases of the Helping Process

 For human services workers engagement is about establishing a rapport or connection with an individual group or community.

 Building and maintaining a relationship

 How do we know if we are ‘effectively engaging with someone’ or have ‘effective engagement skills?’

 Recognise and address barriers where possible

What is Engagement?

 Understanding the place of micro skills in the framework

 Communication and interpersonal skills

 Used in all phases of the helping process

 A significant factor in engaging and building client/worker relationships

 Adapt to context of practice – e.g. telephone counselling; working with children/young people; culturally safe and responsive


 Reflective

 Critical thinkers

 Clinically competent

 Structural perspective important

 For Aboriginal people the personal is political

 For non-Aboriginal workers they need to take a position

 For non-Aboriginal workers examining your own position

 Understanding of trauma

 Genuine and responsible collaboration

Bennett, B., Green, S., Gilbert, S & Bessarab, D (2013). Our Voices: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Work. Palgrave MacMillan. Melbourne

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Social Work Perspectives

 There is a wide choice of theories

 Politics, tensions, discourses regarding knowledge apply to practice theories

 See Payne (2014) Chapters 1-3 for an exploration of the complexity around how and why we use theories in practice


Critical thinking?

Reflection/Reflexivity/Critical Reflection…

What does a practitioner do to make them effective for the individuals/communities involved?

 Critical reflection is an extension of “critical thinking”. It asks us to think about our practice and ideas and then it challenges us to step-back and examine our thinking by asking probing questions.

A “Critical” Reflection Framework

In practice…

 "A critically reflective approach... relies upon knowledge which is generated both empirically and self reflectively, and in a process of interaction, in order to analyse, resist and change constructed power relations, structures and ways of thinking"

(Fook, 1999, p. 202, cited in Osmond & Darlington, 2005, p. 3).

Critical Reflection

 Symbiotic, ever changing and reflective

 Praxis – continuous influence and interaction between practice and theory

 Espoused theory vs. theory-in-use (Argyris & Schon 1974)

Relationship between theory and practice

 “Affirming the importance of partnership and mutuality. Social workers recognise the importance of working in respectful partnerships with consumers and family carers. These respectful relationships are marked by efforts to ensure consumer/carer participation and choice in decision making. Partnership and mutuality are values that extend to working with professional colleagues.”

Australian Association of Social Workers. (2008). Practice standards for mental health social workers.


 Who you are in partnership with? (individual, family, community, organisation…)

 Locate how and when power operates

 What are the benefits?

 What are the challenges or risks?

 Evidence of a partnership?

 Practice dilemmas

Establishing partnerships

 Care vs. control

 Individual vs. social change

 Working with uncertainty

 Professional vs. organisational demands

 Support and resources available when dilemmas arise?

 Professional ethics in practice

Dilemmas for Practice

Kyle, a new graduate social worker, works with twin babies, their mother Anne and Aunty Betty who have been alerted to Child Protection Services as a result of the twins' lack of weight gain. The babies in this case have special medical needs. Concerns are raised about the family’s ability to adequately meet the needs of the babies.

 Watch the video clips of Kyle’s reflections on his case and preparation for practice.

 Share your thoughts and discuss what aspects of your professional code of ethics might be relevant to this case and Kyle’s role?

Week 2 Tutorial Activity