Bernard Moss,
  Russell House Publishing
  ISBN: 9781903855898


This easy-to-read and concise introductory text is designed to cover values for “people work”, by which Bernard Moss means occupations which help people overcome difficulties preventing their “living life to the full”, writes Demetris Hapeshi.

Moss reminds readers that everyone has values and these values form personal prisms through which people interpret experiences.

It follows, Moss argues, that ethically and professionally we are obligated to adhere to the Greek dictate “gnothi seaton” (“know yourself”). Without this knowledge, we would not recognise and own the “inevitable seep” of our values into our work. As Patrick Casement in On Learning From The Patient (1985) put it: “What comes from whom, in any two-person relationship, is not always clear.” Knowing ourselves is a prerequisite for reflective practice.

Moss bases his discussions on the National Institute of Mental Health in England’s Ten Essential Shared Capabilities: A Framework for the Whole of the Mental Health Workforce. He discusses the implications of these capabilities under chapter headings such as Respecting Diversity and Positive Risk Taking.

Throughout his discussions, Moss draws on practice examples and provides exercises. These culminate in a series of exercises in the chapter “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall”.

As might be guessed with this Snow White reference, these exercises start with the reader constructing a short biography, then identifying what this biography implies for the reader-practitioner what “suspicions and hesitations” services users might have when working with this reader-practitioner and finishing with the reader-practitioner being invited to consider their own live cases against a template of “isms”.

Moss ends by referring to the “even bigger picture: religion and spirituality”, but that is another project – one which Moss in Religion and Spirituality (Russell House Publishing, 2005) has already begun.

Demetris Hapeshi is MSc Social Work course leader at the London Metropolitan University


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