The social graces, however, recognise that we are not isolated beings. To assist this, social work education needs to embrace the concept of connection as an integral dimension of social work values. In a similar vein, social work practice needs to be premised on the principle of connection within professional relationships, recognising that how this is negotiated will be unique to individuals and their social, political and cultural settings. The origins of this didactic and hierarchical construction of the social work relationship can be linked to the influence of the medical model: the doctorpatient relationship placing the doctor at the centre of the power structure, as a representative of rational authority (Kane, 1982). Gould (1990) and other scholars have warned of the dangers of Foucauldian approaches to social work that would effectively eliminate any claim of expertise. Professional boundaries: Crossing a line or entering the shadows? As someone who is dual-heritage, but cloaked in white privilege due to my light skin tone, I am painfully aware of power differentials in terms of ethnicity; I have, throughout my life, been given different treatment to other family members. Ethical violations such as sexual relations and other forms of exploitation or discrimination are indisputably outside the remit of the relationship. The power imbalance can become exploitative when practitioners who are members of a dominant culture devalue the client's own values and perceptions. Such a stance underestimates the place of inter-subjectivity and unconscious dynamics inherent in all relationships (Ruch, 2010). In addition, post-structural and feminist theorists have challenged the various epistemological assumptions of social work (Mandell, 2008). Yet, for something so As a result, the boundaries of social work relationships are homogenised, even though the literature maintains that there is a great heterogeneity in the contexts in which social workers engage with clients (Sudbery, 2002; Anderson and Wiggins-Carter, 2004). Social work seeks to address social injustice by challenging the processes of discrimination and oppression which create barriers to inclusion and lead to social exclusion; it seeks to address power imbalances and to empower people to develop and connect to networks and services to improve health and well-being. Journal of Progressive Human Services, 19, 39-54. About. Erin Roark Murphy, LMSW, Understanding Power: An Imperative for Human Services, Social Work, Volume 62, Issue 4, October 2017, Pages 373375, Alongside these developments, there has been a proliferation of models of practice, such as cognitive behavioural and solution-focused therapy, associated with the burgeoning What works? and evidence-based agendas (McNeish et al., 2002). The Yo-Yo Effect: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Social Workers Experiences with Job Flexibility during the Pandemic, Social Workers Perspectives on Extreme Risk Protection Orders, Am I the Only One Who Feels Like This?: Needs Expressed Online by Abortion Seekers, About the National Association of Social Workers, Subscription prices and ordering for this journal, Purchasing options for books and journals across Oxford Academic, Receive exclusive offers and updates from Oxford Academic. This led to the young people creating a micro project that resulted in the installation of security lighting. Inevitably, however, ethical questions arise in the social work relationship when moral and political imperatives are in conflict with the individual client's well-being. The editors to Understanding Power: An Imperative for Human Services begin the book with a thorough overview of power dynamics and theories of power relations, targeted toward human services practitioners across disciplines (that is, social workers, psychologists, counselors, occupational and physical therapists, and medical professionals). Whilst the ability to forge good interpersonal relationships is desirable, but often not essential for highly developed professions such as medicine and law, it is an absolute precondition of effective social work practice (Chu and Tsui, 2008; Chu et al., 2009; Proctor, 1982; Ward et al., 2010). When on the society site, please use the credentials provided by that society. Register a free Taylor & Francis Online account today to boost your research and gain these benefits: Ethical Dilemmas in Power and Authority: A Social Work Student Confronts Her Own Power, Social Work, University of Brighton, Brighton, England, /doi/full/10.1080/17496535.2020.1839183?needAccess=true. Power imbalances and the international development architecture Conceptual Framework Power can be defined as "the ability of human agency to exercise control over its social and physical environment"i. A power imbalance is an environment, relationship or interaction where one party has far more social power than the other. As a consequence, the professional boundaries within social work have become increasingly incongruent with developments in the profession's unique theoretical and value base. EDITORIAL Theories of power in interprofessional research - developing the field Shelley Cohen Konrada, Simon Fletcher b, Rick Hoodc, and Kunal Pateld aSchool of Social Work, University of New England, Armidale, USA; bFaculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Kingston and St Georges University London, London, UK; cKingston University, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, London . The Author 2012. In 1990 in the UK the case of 'The Pindown Experience', which occurred in the county of Staffordshire, came to the public and media attention. Social workers often come from the dominant cultural group; therefore, relationship forming with clients from minority groups requires an understanding and critical appraisal of dominant taken for granted views of the world. KEYWORDS: Social work power authority Disclosure statement Figure2 illustrates our conceptual model and gives examples of issues that fit within and outside the professional boundary. A personal account can be used to get email alerts, save searches, purchase content, and activate subscriptions. Attempt the above exercise with the grace you feel the least drawn toward. Human suffering is ubiquitous. In doing so, it is far easier to identify (and work on) our own prejudice, or indeed on our own privilege. Rate the graces on a linear scale of 1-10, 1 being that they impact you only a little, 10 being that they impact you significantly. Our proposed model acknowledges that social workers bring particular expertise to the relationship. When I was studying at university, I could see that my lecturers were keen to highlight power imbalance and the importance of recognising this in social work practice. The articulation of unconscious behaviours, if sensitively done, can be liberating and emancipating for individuals who gain insight into how they configure relationships with others and, particularly in the case of statutory work, with those in positions of authority. It is this exclusive and implicit model of boundary setting that we are seeking to reconfigure. Understanding Power: An Imperative for Human Services. Having feelings of "not coping" can feel, well, pretty disastrous. It could be said that, in the course of its development, social work research has been mindful of the distinctive position and contribution of clients and has endeavoured to adopt an approach that is inclusive and endorsing of connections rather than separations in the research process. In this essay, I reflect on my experiences of the ethical issues arising from an imbalance in power dynamics both between myself and a service user and between myself and another professional. She is committed to promoting the well-being of practitioners and managers in the interests of those with whom they work. Choose this option to get remote access when outside your institution. There is room for reflection and correction. Download full paper File format: .doc, available for editing. Framed in a comprehensive. Facilitate a constructive discussion on power conflicts and imbalances in placement settings. The book then elaborates further on the various ways that power relations manifest and present in clients seeking care across human services settings. I explore the use of power and professional authority, value dilemmas resulting from my role as both a social work student and a youth justice worker, and deontological and teleological issues arising from tensions between professionals with differing objectives. Contemporary therapeutic approaches that draw on humanistic, post-structural and critical theoretical paradigms advocate transparency and the deconstruction of power relations (Healy, 2005). Cultural competence in social work practice refers to the fact that social workers: Should develop behaviors, knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work effectively across cultures False Institutional services focus on addressing the current problems that people face in their lives. Collaborating with the client in the setting of professional boundaries is likely to have a positive impact on the quality of the relationships we have with clients, itself an important factor in successful outcomes. In this case, it is possible that the client becomes the main actor. The practice terms, critical reflection and reflection or reflectivity are interrelated in ways that aim to explain reflexivity in the profession which, in turn, can offer an enhanced understanding of reflexivity applied in research. Analyze the daily practice or incident and your use of the enactments within the framework of cultural humility: 1) lifelong learning and critical self-reflection, 2) recognizing and mitigating power imbalances, 3) holding institutions accountable. The tendency to resort to distancing behaviours, and in the scenario above for example, to adopt a boundary that excludes rather than includes and connects with the partner, and, in so doing, possibly implying that the female client should act similarly, is a common professional response. As part of the modelling process, educators can demonstrate their capacity to reflect in the moment and can help students develop the reflective skills and mindset that are pivotal to the application of the model in practice. Countering this presumption, our positively orientated boundary-setting model, based on the creation of boundaries that establish connections within professional relationships, is more in keeping with the contemporary ethos of social work. In social work, therefore, one is always dealing with power relations. Integral to these traditional models are professional boundaries that separate the professional from the client and concentrate on what the boundary is, rather than why it is needed and how it is created. Access to content on Oxford Academic is often provided through institutional subscriptions and purchases. Journal of Social Work Values & Ethics, Fall 2017, Vol. This conceptualisation is more compatible with contemporary theoretical developments within the profession. It is important to recognise that there are issues and behaviours that are clearly outside the boundaries of the professional relationship (outer circle of Figure2). 1. In all professional relationships, there are power imbalances and the potential for discrimination and exploitation. This point is reinforced by clients' appreciation of cross-boundary behaviour as an expression of personal concern (Turney, 2010). Developing psycho-dynamic reflective skills that can address the conscious, unconscious and reciprocal aspects of professional relationships is critical for effective, sensitive boundary management and professional well-being (Fook, 2002; Ruch, 2010). Search for other works by this author on: The cultural mediator: Bridging the gap between a non-Western community and professional social work practice, Caring, mutuality and reciprocity in social workerclient relationships: Rethinking principles of practice, Redefining social work standards in the context of globalization: Lessons from India, Diversity Perspectives for Social Work Practice, Use of self in relational clinical social work, Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), Code of Ethics: Australian Association of Social Workers, We don't see her as a social worker: The importance of the social worker's relationship and humanity, The Heart's Narrative: Therapy and Navigating Life's Contradictions, British Association of Social Workers (BASW), The Code of Ethics: British Association of Social Workers, Risk, instrumentalism and the humane project in social work: Identifying the informal logics of risk management in children's statutory services, The nature of practice wisdom in social work revisited, Social work as moral and political practice, The workerclient relationship revisited: Families in society, Good helping relationships in child welfare: Learning from stories of success, Service-user perspectives on relationships, Relationship-Based Practice: Getting to the Heart of Social Work. They could differ according to place, time and culture. This power imbalance can impede therapy when societal power dynamics, such as race, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, and HIV status are taken into consideration. Managing this delicate process has been conceptualised as maintaining professional distance, premised on the belief that a psycho-social separation will encourage rational scientific objectivity. The imbalance of power in the CPS-parent relationship is a central aspect of the relation- ship. Social workers often grapple with difficult professional and systemic power dynamics with both service users and the other professionals they encounter in multi-agency working. The emergence of post-structural approaches to social work has led to a more critical appraisal of the complex nature of relationships with people who are oppressed or marginalised and has contributed to a concerted effort to challenge reductionist understandings of professional relationships to better cope with the diversity and uniqueness of people's individual circumstances (Ruch, 2005). However, accepting the offer of an alcoholic drink may violate certain ethical assumptions. For full access to this pdf, sign in to an existing account, or purchase an annual subscription. Having the capacity to think on your feet is an important skill for social workers to acquire if the proposed model is to be effective. For full access to this pdf, sign in to an existing account, or purchase an annual subscription. One of the key aims of the graces is to name power differentials. The institutional subscription may not cover the content that you are trying to access. For the purpose of this paper, we will use the term client. Don't already have a personal account? If you are a member of an institution with an active account, you may be able to access content in one of the following ways: Typically, access is provided across an institutional network to a range of IP addresses. It is the professional responsibility of social workers to take the lead in the formation of an effective and ethical relationship, but the development of boundaries needs to include client participation. Larson, G. (2008). This term should be taken to include collective clients such as families and communities. Have you ever felt too intimidated to disclose your sexuality to colleagues? Her research and teaching interests lie in the fields of relationship-based and reflective practice. celebrity chef leyton, caltech athenaeum membership fee,