Becoming a critical social work practitioner
Becoming a critical social work practitioner

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Becoming a critical social work practitioner

3 Critical use of language: service user views and professional power

3.1 Introduction

This section builds upon the previous two by encouraging you to critically examine the importance of language in constructing social work relationships. The activities highlight key messages about the power of talk in helping people to make sense of their experiences, take control and make changes to their lives. The ‘power of talk’ applies as much to social workers as to the service users with whom they work. However, the reality of social work practice suggests that ‘making sense, taking control and making changes’ is more easily said than done. The opening activity in this section illustrates how even a very small snippet of practice can be analysed and how theory can be used to provide different explanations of what might be taking place.

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