Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Don’t Understimate Yourself

Some people regularly stray into arrogance territory, by which I mean that they overestimate their own importance and their own capabilities. Indeed, this is a common theme in movies and dramas: the person who annoys others with their inflated self-belief and then eventually gets their comeuppance. It makes for satisfying viewing.

However, what I think is far more common is for people to go to the other extreme, to underestimate their importance, their capabilities and the difference they can make. This ...

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Young Carers Awareness Day 2018

A big thank you to everyone who took part on 25 January 2018 and helped us highlight some of the pressures that the UK’s youngest young carers are facing. The aim of Young Carers Awareness Day is to identify and raise awareness of the 700,000 young carers across the UK who are caring for a sick or disabled family member. By raising awareness we hope it will help them to get the support they desperately need.

For Young ...

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Disabled actors on prime-time TV? No wonder I cried at Silent Witness

While watching Silent Witness … it struck me that I’m old enough to remember Ironside, the crime fighter in a wheelchair, on TV in the 60s and 70s. As a disabled kid, I loved his van – I wanted that van. I never once thought about whether the actor Raymond Burr was disabled. Which he wasn’t, of course. The first time I saw a disabled actor – an actual disabled person – playing a role was probably Sandy in the British TV soap Crossroads (also ...

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Managing an autistic employee

Working with someone on the autism spectrum (including those with Asperger syndrome), can be an enriching experience for managers and colleagues alike, but it may also present some challenges. Here we explain how to avoid or overcome any difficulties, in order to ensure enjoyable and effective working relationships.

Many autistic people have a variety of sometimes exceptional skills that enable them to thrive in roles ranging from sales assistant to computer programmer and journalist to statistician, to name a few. However, they are often disadvantaged when ...

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How to grow from conflict: Respect, second chances and diversity of ideas

It’s all too easy to develop a grudge, and let one bad experience inform how you view a person going forward. But as leadership expert Angie McArthur says, “The more certain we are, the more stuck we will remain.” A moment of broken trust can compound into a closed mind, but to loosen up that knot, revisit the experience and ask yourself: how subjective is your narrative of the events? What was going on in your life at the time ...

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Don’t believe everything you read

I will be very happy if we ever reach a time when people are no longer naïve enough to say: ‘It must be true, I read it in the newspaper’, but I am not holding my breath. While complete falsehoods and fabrications may well be the exception, opinions being expressed as facts is a very common phenomenon. And, of course, even when factual information is presented, how it is presented can be very significant. For example, consider the difference between: ...

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Using a time diary to stay on top of your workload

On average, social workers work for 9.5 hours a day, despite being paid for only 7.5 hours, research from Community Care and Unison showed in 2017. Lack of time is a huge issue in social work. A climate of austerity, fewer resources and increased caseloads leaves little spare time in the day for any social worker. Two-thirds (67%) of those who responded to the Community Care/Unison survey had not had a lunch-break that day, and 64% said they almost never took a ...

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How to support transgender employees

The 2010 Equality Act states that employers have a legal obligation to ensure their staff are not being discriminated against – over age, race, sexuality, gender or gender identity. Despite this, many companies treat transgender people as a disruptive influence in their workplace, worrying about how they will manage in a customer-facing role, or if they will upset existing employees. This is the wrong attitude; the first step to being an inclusive employer is accepting that a transgender person is ...

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We invited children into our care home to tell stories. The results were amazing

When I was a child and got scared of something or couldn’t sleep, my granny and great aunt used to tell me stories. Their words magically carried me away from my fear and worry and allowed me to explore new worlds. They are both gone now, but as they approached the end of their lives, I remember sitting by their beds telling them stories about my life, my work and memories we shared. They smiled, relaxed and seemed to forget ...

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Helping employers support their working carers

There are over five million informal carers in the UK and their number has increased 16.5% since 2001. The economic value of their contribution, calculated from the cost per hour of providing homecare to an adult, is £132 billion a year – nearly twice what it was in 2001. Many carers are of working-age (an estimated one in ten working-age people) and being a carer has a profound impact on someone’s ability to work.

Despite the difficulties involved, an estimated 2.6 million ...

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Coming soon! The Social Worker’s Practice Manual

Coming soon! The Social Worker’s Practice Manual. Neil’s latest publication is not a textbook; it is a hands-on manual that distils his decades of experience in social work. Watch this space!

Are you a social worker who uses Facebook? If so, why not join Neil’s brand new Social Work Focus group? A group for discussion, support, learning and sharing. Just click here.


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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Feel free to disagree

Conflict is a broad term. It can range from minor disagreements to out-and-out war, with various degrees of antagonism in between. Relatively minor conflicts can escalate to much more serious situations, and so it is understandable that people will so often be very wary of entering into even a minor conflict for fear of it developing into something of more major proportions.

However, this wariness comes at a price, as it means that we can become reluctant to air any disagreements. ...

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Justifying gender discrimination in the workplace

The issue of gender equality in employment has given rise to numerous policies in advanced industrial countries, all aimed at tackling gender discrimination regarding recruitment, salary and promotion. Yet gender inequalities in the workplace persist. The purpose of this research is to document the psychosocial process involved in the persistence of gender discrimination against working women. Drawing on the literature on the justification of discrimination, we hypothesized that the myths according to which women’s work threatens children and family life ...

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Challenging disadvantage and marginalisation

Our latest book Social Work with Disadvantaged and Marginalised People (Prof Jonathan Parker & Prof Sara Ashencaen Crabtree)is published by Sage. The work offers theoretical and practice based perspectives and insights into the complexities and importance of working with people at the margins of societies. Everyone who works with people and especially social and community workers need to understand the powers and processes that lead to disadvantage and marginalisation and to develop the knowledge, skills and values necessary to bringing about positive ...

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After Carillion, social enterprises must take charge of public services

It will not be a shock to those working in a charity or social enterprise that Carillion is in liquidation. Nor is it a surprise that the board and senior management of this juggernaut appear to have rabidly pursued short term profit, paying themselves hefty salaries and bonuses in the process. It is no great revelation that the nation’s public services, and the often vulnerable people who depend upon them, have been put in jeopardy by the greedy feckless few. But ...

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Arts based practice in bereavement care masterclasses

Playing in the Ruins: Developing an Arts Based Practice in Bereavement Care

This Cruse Masterclass will enable participants to exercise their creative imagination and enhance their bereavement support skills through an understanding of the relatively new field of Expressive Arts Therapy (EXA).  An arts based approach to practice not only helps clients to heal the wounds of loss but also helps the practitioner to develop more effective self-care strategies. All people have an innate ability to be creative and the creative process ...

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Spotlight – New social work Facebook group

Are you a social worker who uses Facebook? If so, why not join Neil’s brand new Social Work Focus group? A group for discussion, support, learning and sharing. Just click here.

Coming soon! The Social Worker’s Practice Manual. Neil’s latest publication is not a textbook; it is a hands-on manual that distils his decades of experience in social work. Watch this space!

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Reframing negatives as positives

Every cloud has a silver lining may well be a cliché, but that does not mean that the idea does not contain more than an element of truth. Of course, it would be an exaggeration to argue that every negative (cloud) has within it a positive (a silver lining) of some description, but it is certainly the case that negative events will often also bring some degree of positivity.

In a sense, this is a reflection of the complexity of life. There is ...

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