She let out a burp and got rid of it! Learning from a social worker's stories about bodies in mental health professional conversations

Mensinga, Jo (2015) She let out a burp and got rid of it! Learning from a social worker's stories about bodies in mental health professional conversations. In: Francis, Abraham, La Rosa, Paula, Sankaran, Lakshmi, and Rajeev, S.P., (eds.) Social Work Practice in Mental Health: cross-cultural perspectives. Allied Publishers, New Delhi, India, pp. 247-257.

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Abstract

Little appears in the social work or mental health literature about exploring the practitioner's body as a 'source of knowledge' which can be accessed, explored or even accounted for by social workers in their everyday practice. Although the importance of positioning the social worker's body to facilitate and/or influence their interactions with people has long been understood, and the well-being of service users' bodies has been accounted for in bio-psychosocial assessments, the impact of the worker's body on their perception, assessment and choice of interventions is rarely discussed. In a research project undertaken in 2010–11, human service workers who participated in or expressed interest in embodied practices such as yoga were invited to tell body stories that emerged from within their own professional experience. This paper explores a narrative shared by Lily in which she explores body stories told in response to interacting with a consumer who recounted a harrowing story for the first time. While Lily notes the positive outcome of a burp from a student's body, her own body story of back pain highlights the need for more understanding and/or direction in the workplace as to how to make space for the practitioner's body's voice in professional conversations. It is proposed that by acknowledging and beginning to listen to the body's voice, a more holistic appreciation of human service workers' experience will encourage more research and theorizing about the body's impact on worker performance and consumer experience.

Item ID: 37276
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-81-8424-958-3
Keywords: consumer experience, worker's body, professional conversations, yoga
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Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2015 06:17
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160701 Clinical Social Work Practice @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 50%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9405 Work and Institutional Development > 940502 Professions and Professionalisation @ 50%
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