In the closet or coming out? When social workers manage their personal service user experiences in social work practice

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Based on the current results from my ongoing PhD project, the focus of the presentation is the implications of social workers’ personal user experiences in vulnerable positions. The presentation accentuates the intersection between two differently situated groups in social work: the users and the social workers. Yet, within this intersection, practices in social work unfolds as performed by social workers who also identify as human beings with user experiences. The power dynamics connected to the user experiences draw attention to the social worker's ability to manage their experiences. Related to present discussions of expert-by-experience knowledge, the research puts emphasis on social work practice in which user experiences among social workers themselves can be involved in their practice, whether subtle or deliber-ate. The research is carried out as participatory practice research in a collaboration with a participatory board of social workers with personal user experiences. Through narrative interviews and practice portraits with social workers with user experiences, the preliminary results imply embedded power dynamics in rules and standards. Within a Practice Theory framework, the social worker's doings and sayings and dilemmas of managing “being a social worker and service user in the same body” are important to professional responsibility, however, a particular empathy can trouble practice and requires self-reflexivity. The presentation concludes a need for further discussions of the stability of norms in social work practice and the legitimacy of social workers involvement of their user experiences as a part of their practice.
Publikationsdato22 nov. 2018
StatusIkke-udgivet - 22 nov. 2018
BegivenhedFORSA/NOUSA Nor­dic So­cial Work Con­fer­ence : Power and So­cial Work - Uni­versity of Hel­sinki, Fin­land , Helsinki, Finland
Varighed: 21 nov. 201823 nov. 2018


KonferenceFORSA/NOUSA Nor­dic So­cial Work Con­fer­ence
LokationUni­versity of Hel­sinki, Fin­land