In recent years the concept of relationship-based practice (RBP) has . Reflection has a long and important role in social work education and. An outline of contemporary understandings of relationship‐based and reflective practice is offered and findings from doctoral research drawn. Relationship-based practice and reflective practice: holistic approaches to contemporary child care social work. Uploaded by. Gillian Ruch. Blackwell Science.
One of the personal and professional contexts. In embracing the recurrent features in the literature on reflective prac- multifaceted nature of knowing, holistic practitioners tice is the confusion about what precisely it embraces engage in practice that, as with the definition of holis- and its inherently ambiguous nature, which defies tic understandings of human behaviour, is more than simple definition Copeland et al.
Holistically reflective practitio- van Manen ; Morrison ; Ixer A recurrent feature of tive processes in professional contexts. From this per- holistically reflective practitioners is their integration spective it is then possible to examine how the different of these personal, propositional and process knowl- types of reflection identified in the literature are man- edges and their ability to constantly exercise profes- ifested in practice.
The interplay between technical— as it both generates knowledge through the reflective rational and practical—moral sources of knowledge is process and is the vehicle by which it is applied in considered crucial by holistically reflective practitio- practice. When understood in this way it is possible ners as it ensures that the potential of the different to see how reflective practice, like relationship-based knowledge sources is maximized: Are there other sources of information or knowledge?
In order to be able to establish realistic objectives [other than the systemic family therapy theoretical model and to effectively respond to and survive the emotion- already mentioned] ally charged nature of the work, holistically reflective Practitioner One: And the clues they give. So I think there are three what you are doing. You are not going in with an arrogance things — the family, myself and the theoretical model all com- that whatever I do is right.
Stepping practitioners which were identified as important were back and really trying to look on the situation and amending the relationship-based and risk-tolerant nature of their it or patting yourself on the back. In the case of this practitioner she had taken to Relationship-based aspects of holistic reflective recording, alongside her case notes, her affective practice responses when engaged with clients and was able to draw on this knowledge to inform her future interven- As the above example illustrates, a defining character- tions.
In another case a practitioner acknowledged the istic of holistic practice is its ability to embrace the emotional impact of working with a mother who was relational complexity of practice. Knowledge is under- considering placing her child for adoption. For this stood to be not only holistic but also dynamic and practitioner considerable attention was paid to the specific to each situation.
As a consequence holisti- emotional processes she and the mother experienced cally reflective practitioners engage with practice from and how they informed the professional relationship a position of each encounter being unique, unpredict- and interventions.
The distinctive quality of committed to working in reflective and relationship- holistically reflective practitioners is the attention they based ways but recognized this was a demanding way pay to the processes operating in practice as well as of working. In order to work in a relationship-based to its content: I think the first is to think systemically about importance of relationship-based, reflective support a piece of work, try not to get caught up in the content of the mechanisms.
Collaborative and communicative ways referral but to think. The next component I think is to really of working — informal and formal discussions with listen to what the family is saying. We get some families here colleagues, co-working and regular consultation ses- who are sent, they are not customers, they are visitors so to sions in addition to supervision — were all identified really listen to why they have been sent and to try and make by the practitioners as vital sources of support, which sense with them about that, to try and get some, to see if you enabled them to maintain their holistically reflective can form an alliance you can work with.
Because if they are stance. What back and think why then has someone else got that worry.
Relationship-Based and Reflective Coaching / Mentoring
Interview something did or did not occur. The relationship between reflective sive, relationship-based approaches. From the research findings, reflective practice and relationship-based practice can be understood to be Risk-taking aspects of holistic reflective practice interdependent components of each other.
Holisti- A second distinctive feature of holistically reflective cally reflective practitioners, as a consequence of their practitioners is their capacity, in risk-averse organiza- perspective, engage in relationship-based work and tional contexts, to engage with risk. For such practi- conversely relationship-based approaches promote tioners risk-taking behaviour is understood to involve practitioners who are holistically reflective.
These definitions of risk are broader, less defen- and other approaches to practice. For the purposes of sive and less procedurally restrictive.
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The open, this paper the former conceptualization is adhered to. For these practitioners practice involves grappling with uncertainty and complexity Relationship-based and reflective understandings of and depends on a relationship-based approach to the client reach an agreed understanding of acceptable risk.
The heart of their practice lies in the relationships between One of the main reasons for the emergence of rela- family members and between individuals, families tionship-based approaches to social work practice has and practitioners.
In a similar vein, reflective of the abuse. The strength and value of holis- them. In contrast the Family Centre practitioners tic reflective practice lies in the importance it places engaged with the family in an inclusive and collabo- on the unique, complex, unpredictable and irrational rative manner to reach a negotiated and agreed rec- nature of human behaviour. This emphasis is clearly ommendation, which was presented to the child compatible with relationship-based responses to the protection conference.
By developing self-understanding and reflec- fundamentally relational, dynamic and situated, a tive responses the likelihood of being able to sustain form of practice which is recognized as important in relationship-based practice is increased. Interview are perceived by practitioners but also for how prac- titioners understand themselves in their professional Interestingly, several practitioners also commented on role Ash; Lishman ; Ward a.
The potential of Relationship-based and reflective understandings of reflective practice to contribute to the development of the social and organizational context of practice relationship-based practice is twofold: More recent models rec- and of the relevance of this knowledge for their prac- ognize the structural aspects to be of importance tice.
Through reflective practice, practitioners can when deciding on appropriate interventions hold the inner and outer worlds of not only their Schofield An increasingly task-orien- The importance for the development of rela- tated, pressurized decision-making environment exac- tionship-based practice of the open-minded, reflective erbates this anxiety.
Such contexts require social work prac- extent to which uncontained anxiety can result in titioners to work in the best interests of clients not organizational systems which may, in the process of only through relationships with them but also through seeking to contain uncertainty and anxiety, create positive relationships with the other professionals social structures which prevent the task being fulfilled working with their clients.
What the model highlights is the interrelated nature of individual and institutional anxiety. As a strated how team and allocation meetings were used consequence of their outlook, the risk of holistically to facilitate thoughtful, holistically reflective discus- reflective practitioners resorting, in the face of social sions, which included consideration of different the- and political pressures, to reductionist understand- oretical perspectives and evidence-based approaches ings of human behaviour and to restrictive, bureau- alongside responses grounded in practice wisdom cratic approaches to practice is significantly reduced.
Such forums considered both the indi- The challenge that faces practitioners, however, is to vidual needs and social context of the particular case hold the diverse sources of knowledge informing their under discussion and inter-agency and organiza- practice in a creative tension.
To this end practitioners tional dynamics. As a consequence practitioners need help in developing what Bower refers to were better equipped to engage with families with a as an internal professional structure. British Journal of Social Work, on these knowledges to inform their relationship- 25, — Reflective Learning for Social Work eds N. The challenge of context. Studies in Higher This paper suggests that relationship-based practice Education, 23, — Journal of Social Work shortcomings of practice.
However, to facilitate the Practice, 17, — By facilitating and promot- Brown, A. Open ing reflective practice, relationship-based practice will University Press, Buckingham. This interdependence is cru- Chamberlyne, P. Journal of Social cial and central to effective practice.
It is imperative Work Practice, 15, — International identify and provide the conditions in which it can Journal of Nursing Studies, 33, — Teachers College Press, London. Ideas About Teaching and Learning, 23, 2—5. Demos, of this final version. Teaching and Learning, 9, — Issues and Critical Debates eds R. Journal of Social Work Practice, 16, 7— Messages towards reflective education. Journal of Interprofessional Care, from Research. Good Practice in of An Inquiry.
Jessica Kingsley, Eraut, M. On reflection in the Ferard, M. Teacher and Teach- Relationship. Theory and Practice, 1, 23— Social Work Biestek, F.
Allen Unwin, Education, 16, 93— Free Association Books, London. Social Work crisis of the professions. Reflective Learning for Social Work Education, 16, 20— British Journal of Social Work, 26, — Teacher and Teaching, Munro, E. Random House, New J. From Theory to Practice. Journal of Howe, D. Social Work Practice, 7, 73— British Journal of Social Work, 25, — Mac- Psycho-Social Policy and Practice: Reflective Practice in Nursing for child and family social work: This involved a corresponding assumption that human beings could separate off the mind from the body.
Such dualism has since been a powerful driver of intellectual belief. It has percolated understandings of professions such as social work, where workers are encouraged to separate their personal from their professional selves. Other strands of Enlightenment thinking, however, especially those of Scottish philosophers, questioned this turn to reason. David Hume, for instance, proclaimed that reason is but a slave to the passions — individuals acted not merely on reason or self-interest, but were drawn more instinctively by a notion of moral sentiment.
Nevertheless, it evokes responses that are relational and instinctive or embodied, rather than abstract and overly intellectual. Moving forward a couple of centuries, John Macmurray resurrected this concern about the relationship between reason and emotion, arguing that excessive rationality acts to marginalise the role of emotions in the human condition Fielding, Personal relations were also at the heart of Scottish psychotherapeutic thinking over the course of the 20th century Sharpe, Tronto draws on Scottish ideas of moral sentiment in her seminal work on care ethics, which has become an important strand in ethical thought across a range of academic and professional disciplines.
Care ethics Care ethics have become an influential strand of moral philosophy. Gilligan identified two different approaches to moral reasoning: Since then, interest has grown rapidly and the scope of care ethics has extended beyond individual relationships to inform political debate Held, Care ethics entails a shift in focus away from rules and rights towards responsibilities and relationships. There is, therefore, no one way of doing RBP. Care ethics are proposed by Meagher and Parton as offering an alternative to dominant managerial modes of practice in social work.
Relationship-based practice and policy Increasingly, RBP can be found to resonate with the direction of Scottish public policy set out in the report of the Christie Commission Scottish Government, For example, policies such as Getting it right for every child GIRFEC emphasise the need to hear the voice of children and families in a spirit of openness and trust.
However, it is not just in children and families policy that the Christie principles resonate.
They are also apparent inter alia in the Carers Strategy, the National Clinical Strategy and Community Justice and Mental Health initiatives, to the extent that they are now spoken of as reflecting a particular Scottish approach to public services.
RBP thus, potentially, becomes a cornerstone of social policy, percolating, not just individual relationships but the ways in which workers across different professional disciplines and wider communities interact and relate with one another.
Features of relationship-based practice RBP draws on psychodynamic ideas, most closely associated with Sigmund Freud and developed by others. These explain human personality and functioning in terms of conscious and unconscious desires and beliefs, feelings and emotions, based on life experiences, including early childhood.
While RBP does not require a sophisticated understanding of the psychology behind this, effective social work requires that a worker tune into the emotional world of a client and be able to communicate this understanding within the relationship. It also moves the concept of relationship beyond the individual to incorporate an awareness of contextual factors such as power, professional role, poverty, social exclusion and political ideology. A sense of purpose To stress the centrality of human relationships in social work is not to say that these are, in themselves, sufficient to ensure good practice.
Relationships are not intrinsically good or bad — they can be either. They exist in a mandated context and are formed for a particular purpose Ingram, — towards a client achieving positive change. But this is a challenge, partly because relationships are complicated and subject to a range of psychodynamic processes, which require that social workers understand and use themselves, centrally, within their work. Beckett and Horner tell us that change comes about through relationships.
Even in situations where programmed interventions are employed, their impact is secondary to the social worker—client relationship Nicholson and Artze, Qualities of hope and expectancy that change will occur are also implicated in successful outcomes.
What clients want The literature gives clear messages of what clients value. Their conception of friendship identifies qualities of reciprocity of sharing aspects of oneself; of flexibility going the extra mile, perhaps through offering small gifts or maintaining contact out of hoursbut also straight talking. Kleipoedszus suggests that relationships can be forged through conflict; genuine engagement and negotiation rather than artificial sensitivity make it possible for workers to encourage and nurture change rather than demanding it.
Smith and colleagues identify the centrality of effective relationships even in work with involuntary clients. In all of this, everyday acts of care and recognition are more important than formal standards and procedural requirements. Professionalism and relationships A renewed emphasis on relationships challenges many of the assumptions that have built up over what it is to be a professional.
Professionalism is often associated with certainty, expertise and theoretical knowledge Brodie and colleagues, Noddingshowever, distinguishes between professionalism and professionalisation. She suggests that the latter is the result of a codified and rule-bound conception of professionalism that derives from a quest for status.
There is, however, little connection between such rule-bound professionalisation and positive outcomes. Indeed, it can create a distance between social workers and clients, that a more relational form of professionalism might work to reduce. Murphy and colleagueson the other hand, suggest that the professional role significantly compromises the ability to form genuine relationships.
Part of the difficulty in reconciling different understandings of professionalism is the tendency in the UK to conceive of separate personal and professional selves.
Practice traditions such as social pedagogy introduce a third element, the private. This poses challenges for workers and for organisations that operate to a narrow understanding of what constitutes acceptable personal and professional boundaries Maidment, It is important to distinguish between boundaries, which are dynamic and can be deployed flexibly, and barriers, which are static and prioritise consistent application.
In practice, individual practitioners act in ways that might be thought to be subversive of practice norms Alexander and Charles, Coadyfor instance, offers examples of the kind of flexibility required in negotiating everyday care practices. One of the difficulties that can arise in increasingly managerial and regulated practice cultures, however, is a tendency to minimise the complexity of such boundary work and to operate fixed understandings of the lines between professional, personal and private domains.
This leaves workers vulnerable to disciplinary action should they cross externally determined boundaries McLaughlin, This is not fixed and, as we enter relationships, we draw upon what we feel is required to engage with others within a given context.
In social work, this is made more complex by the addition of professional values, roles and expectations. Hennessey argues that this balancing act should be explicit and not shied away from; rather, it should be harnessed and used to bring about change.