Consolidating your learning
You started by looking at the importance of historical and biographical perspectives in understanding service users’ life experiences and the context in which law and polices are formed and services delivered to help them. You have now considered your own identity and value base, and been introduced to a wider knowledge base, including theories and research into human behaviour and attachments. You have recognised that people receiving services may have a very different perspective from your own. You have also by now considered some of the skills needed to be able to acknowledge this and be empathetic to each service user’s situation.
However, social work is a practical business about engaging and supporting real people. Reflection is the process of learning that supports the integration of these different forms of knowledge and understanding into the direct work that is done with service users. In the rest of this section, you will explore what reflection means and how you can begin to develop this approach to your studies.