Observation and its Application to Social Work

Rather Like Breathing
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Observation helps social workers and students to reflect upon situations before intervening. The Tavistock Model of Observation, which is informed by psychoanalytic ideas (especially those of Klein and Bion) is the starting point of this general book on the role of observation in social work. Karen Tanner and Pat Le Riche have brought together a range of contributions from practitioners and social work academics in order to discuss the application of ideas about observation to social work education and practice. While the Tavistock Model remains influential, the writers draw on material from a number of other disciplines, such as behavioural ethnography, psychology and critical social policy, on observation and social work. The central theme of the book is that of power relations. The authors focus on power in relation to the process of observation, and how observation can be used to counteract oppressive and dehumanising practices.

Clearly and perceptively written, the book develops the debate on the purposes of observation and provides an overview of current practice. It will be of use to students and professionals alike.
  • Published: Jun 01 1998
  • Pages: 200
  • 235 x 158mm
  • ISBN: 9781853026300
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Press Reviews

  • British Journal of Social Work

    I have come away from reading the book with renewed enthusiasm for the value of the observer role and its attendant skills, both through previous ideas being enhanced and clarified by being put in context and through being introduced to fresh thinking. Overall, I thought the book did very well in its exploration of the theoretical context for the use of observation and in its arguments for the core position of observation in social work. The subject matter of this book continues to be of fundamental importance within the social work profession and the book provides a distinctive contribution to its study and dissemination.