The Social Worker’s Practice Manual

Not a textbook, a hands-on manual of practice – a practical guide from one of the UK’s most respected social work authors.  Divided into thirty sections, each covering a key area of practice, this essential handbook will be invaluable to newly qualified social workers, students on placement and more experienced workers and managers wanting to get the best results.  

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Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living – Make your feelings known

A much-used literary and dramatic device is for it to be apparent to the reader or viewer that someone has strong feelings (of love, for example), but is not expressing them and is losing out in some way as a consequence. As the plot develops, the feelings eventually become known and they all live happily ever after, or not, as the case may be.

But, outside of the world of fiction and drama, the question of when and how to express ...

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Ending prejudice in care: ‘As we go grey we don’t become less gay’

Ramses Underhill-Smith set up Alternative Care Services, which provides home care support to LGBTIQ+ adults in London, after a friend contracted HIV.

“He was living in New York and when the carers discovered he had HIV they refused to touch him. He was really distressed and I decided I wanted to do something about it. It made me think: What will happen to me when I get older?” says Underhill-Smith, who is transgender.

What occurred to Underhill-Smith’s friend is not confined to ...

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Workplace violence evolving

Glenn French wanted to know the truth. After hearing countless employers saying, “We don’t have that problem here,” he decided to canvass every trade union and labour organization in Canada. He wanted to know if violence in the workplace was an issue.  In the mid 1990s, he mailed surveys to hundreds of unions, from the fishermen in the west to the loggers in the east, and he was overwhelmed with responses.

“I was inundated with the answers to the questions that ...

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There’s more to life than being happy

Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there’s a more fulfilling path? Happiness comes and goes, says writer Emily Esfahani Smith, but having meaning in life — serving something beyond yourself and developing the best within you — gives you something to hold onto. Learn more about the difference between being happy and having meaning as Smith offers four pillars of a meaningful life.

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Mental models: How to train your brain to think in new ways

You can train your brain to think better. One of the best ways to do this is to expand the set of mental models you use to think. Let me explain what I mean by sharing a story about a world-class thinker.

I first discovered what a mental model was and how useful the right one could be while I was reading a story about Richard Feynman, the famous physicist. Feynman received his undergraduate degree from MIT and his Ph.D. from Princeton. During ...

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Define your own rules of success

In the days before we had rules, the strong and powerful could do what they wished and the not so strong and not so powerful could do little about it. This left little scope for fairness, equality, dignity and other such key values. While some people rail against rules and see them as an unnecessary restriction on human freedom, a civilised social order would not be possible without some set of rules that the vast majority of people are prepared ...

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‘A&E is no place for a crisis’: Bradford leads the way in mental health care

One consequence of the closure of so many mental hospitals since the 1960s has been the increase in the number of people being sent far from their homes when they have needed a bed to receive treatment. However, a scheme in Bradford is showing that you can stop such out-of-area placements altogether by strengthening community-based care and support.

“You can live in Lancashire and have to go to Cornwall for a hospital bed,” says Chris Dixon, clinical manager of the First Response crisis ...

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Untold stories from the Grenfell Wall

The Grenfell Wall sprang up overnight.

Within hours, hundreds of people had left messages of sympathy and support. Relatives of those missing brought favourite items, teddies and photos.

Missing posters were plastered everywhere, bearing the faces of those still unaccounted for and telephone numbers for anyone who might have information.

The wall is still there today in the shadow of the tower.

It provides a glimpse into the terrors that unfolded on 14 June 2017.

Click here to read more

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Seth Godin’s blog – Stretching without support

One of the fundamental equations of our self-narrative is: If I only had more support, I could accomplish even more.

Part of this is true. With more education, a stronger foundation, better cultural expectations, each of us is likely to contribute even more, to level up, to make a difference.

The part that’s not true: “If only.”

It turns out that every day, some people shatter our expectations. They build more than they have any right to, show up despite a lack of lucky ...

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Integration strategy must focus on tackling poverty for BME families

Someone from a black and minority ethnic background is twice as likely to experience poverty as someone from a white background in the UK. The Government’s developing Integration Strategy is an opportunity to right this wrong, but it currently neglects vital aspects of how to tackle poverty for people from different ethnic backgrounds – specifically how low pay and a lack of progression opportunities trap people in poverty.

Poverty creates tensions within disadvantaged communities. In times of austerity, when access to ...

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Find the right balance when it comes to risks

Life is a risky business. Whatever we do, whichever way we turn, we take risks. For the most part they are fairly minor risks, with relatively minor consequences if things go wrong. But, it is not at all uncommon for us to take life or death risks (using electricity, driving a car, being a passenger or even a pedestrian, for example). Risk is very much a part of everyday life. This has a number of implications, two main ones in ...

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Elderly cycle ride rolls across Scotland

A scheme that uses specially designed cycles to take elderly people on rides in an effort to tackle social isolation is to be rolled out across Scotland.The Cycling Without Age (CWA) project sees volunteers take their passengers out on so-called “trishaws”.

The scheme, which began in Denmark, has been operating in Falkirk since 2017. The Scottish government will spend £300,000 to expand it across Scotland, beginning in East Lothian, Perth and Kinross, the Highlands and the Borders.

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Stress in public services: How do you unwind?

“I spend time on my own with the blinds drawn and the world shut out.”

So answered a staff nurse, one of the 3,700 public and voluntary sector workers who responded to a Guardian survey on wellbeing in the workplace, when answering the question: when you feel stressed, what do you do to relax?

From playing heavy metal music on full blast to crocheting furiously in front of the TV, respondents had developed a wide range of ways to unwind. With ...

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The good, bad and indifferent: How an ex-resident is trying to improve residential children’s homes

I first met Bob 11 years ago when he was placed in our children’s home at the age of 15. Having experienced a chaotic and often violent upbringing, I witnessed an initially reticent and timid lad gradually develop into a confident and engaging young man.

On leaving the home just before his 18th birthday, a foster home and further education were his next destinations. Out of the blue Bob contacted me recently with some exciting and unexpected news. He was now working ...

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Important notice regarding the humansolutions BULLETIN

As we notified you recently, new data protection rules are being implemented soon. To comply with the legislation, we will shortly be deleting our existing databases. Consequently, if you wish to receive news of publications, events, offers and news from Neil Thompson and the team at Avenue, you will need to join our new database. This will mean that you will continue to receive our fortnightly humansolutions e-newsletter, the occasional Learning IMPACT supplement and other ad hoc communications from time ...

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Don’t criticise what you don’t understand

Many years ago I came across the idea that, the further away from something you are, the simpler it appears, and that idea has stuck with me. What it was referring to was the tendency for complex matters to seem quite simple and straightforward from a distance. If you don’t have a full grasp of a situation, it is very easy indeed to oversimplify and thereby rely on a distorted picture that can be very unhelpful in a number of ...

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