It's personal: Lived experiences of Adult Social Care and Social Work practice in a policy context of personalistion

Richardson, Andrew J (2020) It's personal: Lived experiences of Adult Social Care and Social Work practice in a policy context of personalistion. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust / University of East London. Full text available

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This study focuses on what can be learnt from lived experiences of adult social care and social work practice in England in a policy context of personalisation. The concept of personalisation is increasingly a key driving force in adult social care policy with significant implications for social work practice. In this study, psychosocial and participatory methods are purposefully combined, with lived experience and coproduction placed at the centre of a unique qualitative methodology. A reflective learning group with people with lived experience is a core feature of the research design. The findings reveal some important learning for social workers. Firstly, a risk is identified that social workers working within a personalisation framework focused on independence and strengths might unconsciously collude with psychic defence mechanisms. Like those defences first identified by Menzies-Lyth (1960) they include individual and social defences against anxiety associated with unconscious fear and hatred of dependency. The findings also highlight a phenomenon that the researcher characterises as depersonalisation – a social care system that appears unreal, detached and emotionally numb. The need for emotionally engaged social workers capable of bearing reality is a suggested response to such phenomena in adult social care. It is proposed that social workers have an essential role to play in perceiving and responding to such defences and countering the adverse effects of depersonalisation. Drawing on Fairbairn’s (1952) concept of ‘mature dependence’, the author argues that the social work role should include facilitating the developmental achievement of mature dependence for people accessing adult social care. Secondly, the findings reveal the need for better integration of a form of personalisation rooted in principles of self-directed support and relationship-based practice approaches in social work. Finally, a reorientation towards contribution-focused practice and an outline personalisation relationship-based practice model emerges from the findings. The draft model proposes that social work practice in adult social care in a policy context of personalisation should be focused on interdependence, choice and control, and reciprocity.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of East London in collaboration with the Tavistock Clinic for the award of Professional Doctorate in Social Work
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Social Work, D60
Subjects: Groups & Organisations > Groups/Institutions/Organisations
Social Welfare > Social Welfare Personnel
Social Welfare > Social Services
Social Welfare > Social Work
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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