Emotions, Relationships and Resilience in Child and Family Social Work

Emotions are at the heart of life and at the heart of our interactions with others. Similarly, child and family social work practice is an emotional endeavour – families respond to us and we respond to them. Being able to work with emotions is a hallmark of effective social work and a key component of relationship based practice.

‘While social workers focus daily on caring for others, issues of self-care are too often neglected’ (Kanter, 2007)

A practitioner who uses relationship-based practice is interested in the quality of relationship which can be built with children and families. Reflecting on this relationship provides the social worker with important information about how to work with families to effect change.

This can be a complex and challenging task and given the demands (and volume of work) in child and family social work and it is easy for practitioners to feel less emotionally resilient.  Social workers report that the emotional impact of their work can cause conflicted feelings which get under the skin and perturb their private lives. As practice supervisor you play a key role in helping social workers express these difficult feelings so that they do not impact on relationships with children and families.

The resources in this section are organised into two areas:

Each section contains a knowledge briefing for practice supervisors and learning tools.

The learning resources in this section will prompt you to:

  • Review how you can support your supervisees to be emotionally resilient practitioners.
  • Explore ways in which you can discuss emotional responses and emotions within reflective supervision.
  • Consider how you can promote relationship-based practice in your team and model this within supervision discussions.

Briefing for Senior Managers

This short briefing is written specifically for senior managers and strategic leads. It presents a summary of key recommendations about how senior leaders can support practice supervisors to promote emotional resilience and help their teams adopt the principles of relationship-based practice.

Webinar icon Webinar -Nurturing emotional resilience in your team

Dr Louise Grant and Professor Gail Kinman have developed a number of research studies focusing on emotional resilience in social work.

In this webinar they present recent research findings about how practice supervisors can help practitioners in child and family social work contexts to be emotionally resilient.