Emphasising 'the relationship self' as a goal in casework
journal contributionposted on 02.06.2017, 01:09 by Furlong, Mark
Traditional and radical authors agree that strengthening the autonomy of service users is a primary aim in casework. The current paper seeks to balance this emphasis on individual autonomy by arguing that the relational aspects of the self also require attention. This argument proceeds in three steps. Firstly, recent theoretical work will be introduced to advance the premise that the self can be understood as ‘relational’ as well as ‘autonomous’. Secondly, a summary is offered of the research which concludes that a strong social network, or in the more recently favoured terms, that ‘social connectedness’ and ‘attachment’, is protective of health and well-being. Building on these two ideas, it is then suggested that it may be important for caseworkers to promote the quality of interdependence and connectedness of those service users with whom we work, irrespective of the presenting problem and the practitioner’s preferred method and assigned practice role.