This week’s writer is an approved social worker.

Arrive at work only to discover I’ve forgotten I am supposed to be on a
training course on the other side of the city. Get there just in time for the
inevitable icebreaker questions. Participants are required to not only give the
usual details of names and workplaces but also to discuss which social work
theory we have used most recently. I consider making my mobile phone ring and
pretending there is an emergency at work only I can solve. Decide against it
because the course is to remind us of theory and make us better able to help
students link their studies to practice. Struggle to come up with anything but
then remember the magic words “task-centred practice”. Successfully manage to
blag my way through day one.


I am the only male on the course and confess I feel uneasy when what appears to
be the most knowledgeable of my peers talks about her primarily using feminist
theory in her work. I have no problem with feminism but I am still having
flashbacks to my Diploma in Social Work course where men were regularly
indicated to be the cause of society’s ills. This must be how young Germans
feel when someone mentions the war – a mixture of guilty and innocent at the
same time. The facilitator acknowledges my gender during our discussions. I was
still hoping no one had noticed.


Back at work in the office. My spirits are lifted because of my new knowledge
and feel I am better able to use what I already knew. My initial cynicism about
the course was misplaced and I do some of the best work I’ve done in a long
time. Either I can do social work in my sleep or I have been taught very well.


The final day of the training course is marred by the news that a colleague has
been dismissed and our union has arranged an emergency meeting. Fear an all-out
strike may be imminent and our facilitator analyses the situation using systems
theory. I am now totally in awe of the intelligence and effort she has devoted
to our group. Despite the news about my colleague, I feel more confident in my
job than I have done in years. The emergency meeting goes as expected. Union
leader after union leader make increasingly over-dramatic speeches. The last
speaker uses the sword of Damocles and Goliath in the same sentence.


I have to co-ordinate a Mental Health Act assessment today. My health
colleagues always seem to save this type of work until Friday afternoons and it
is late by the time I finish. On my journey home I desperately try and reflect
on which theories I’ve just used. Can’t find one although I don’t spend very
long trying. My mind wanders to the thought of a nice cold beer and I decide my
reflective practice is best done in a public house with the help of some

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.