Social work students' thoughts on their (in)ability to empathise with a birth mother's story: pondering the need for a deeper focus on empathy

Gair, Susan (2010) Social work students' thoughts on their (in)ability to empathise with a birth mother's story: pondering the need for a deeper focus on empathy. Adoption and Fostering, 34 (4). pp. 39-49.

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Abstract

Empathy is considered in the literature to be crucial to any successful therapeutic engagement. But how to teach, learn and 'do' empathy seems much less clear. Susan Gair discusses how, through the use of selected narratives in a classroom-based inquiry, second-year social work students at a regional Australian university were guided to define the concept of empathy and to reflect on their ability to empathise. Findings illuminated some students' compassionate empathy, while many others demonstrated conditional empathy or even an apparent lack of it with regard to certain life experiences, including those of past birth mothers. These serendipitous findings have implications for adoption practice and beyond.

Item ID: 16361
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: empathy; social work education; adoption; birth mothers
ISSN: 1740-469X
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2011 04:36
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160799 Social Work not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920201 Allied Health Therapies (excl. Mental Health Services) @ 100%
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