Blog

Welcome to my Blog

The blog is a dedicated to supporting knowledge sharing between social care professionals. There will be regular blogs about contemporary issues in social care as the site progresses.  I am interested in areas of practice that connect knowledge with critical reflection, in all its forms, with practice. I also work with creativity, intuition, human values, relational work and fun. These are the places where I believe practice wisdom is formulated.


Can social work do magic?

As social professionals we work with nuanced skills that are difficult to explain or recognise. There is something that happens which social professionals might understand as being more than the sum of all our techno-rational parts; something that makes our work unique.  I was recently discussing this in supervision with a social work student who said, ‘Oh, that's where the magic happens'. It is true there is something that sparkles in our skills, that makes us carry on in difficult circumsta...


Can supervision be done in a sand tray?

Sand tray work is a well known play therapy technique that acts as a powerful cathartic tool for use with children, young people and adults. Over a number of years I've adapted it as a tool to work with in supervision. Whenever I facilitate a sand tray session as supervision it conveys a certain mysterious quality for participants. What is it? What does it do? Having started working with sandtray as a supervision tool in 1993 I've developed and adapted it to work with individual students in pra...


Child Protection and the Mousetrap Play

In 2011 I had the honour of meeting a very special man by the name of Terry O’Neill. Terry’s brother, Dennis was killed by his foster carers in 1945. If you are in Child Protection you may be familiar these names. It was a shocking story in a war weary Britain that captured the imagination of Agatha Christie, who went on to write a short story about the case called ‘Three Blind Mice’.  This would later be rewritten as a radio play and then as the now famous longest running theatre produ...


Caseload Measurement isn't an Indication of Quality

Is case load weighting helpful? Or might a better measure be the quality of "case work"? For many years now arguments about the number of cases social workers should hold has raged. A recently published report by the Department for Education will no doubt have come to the attention of all social workers in the last couple of weeks (Community Care on-line).  It has calculated that each social worker in front line children services have 16 cases. In the same week as these results are published, a...


Self-Aware Social Work

A social worker I was once responsible for called me a ‘very human supervisor’. I felt honoured and was pleased that someone was able to recognise skills I’d tried to nurture for many years. This has a lot to do with who we are in our personhood and something also about how we use ourselves in our relationships. Being human, in my view is connected to the ways in which we learn the impact of ourselves, our own being and personal experience on others, which is referred to in social work as ...