Building resilience through reflection
- developing social workers and practice
Alison Paris July 6th 2012
Welcome and Introductions!
 Aims of the Workshop.
-To consider the significance of resilience awareness the conscious
development of resilience for social work practitioners, trainee
social workers, and their supervisors.
To identify the themes in the Professional Capability Framework(PCF)
which help us identify and apply a continuing developmental
process with learning practitioners
 To identify and consider some connections with reflection
 To actively explore some principles and tools for supporting
reflection and resilience building
-To offer examples of tools, frameworks and approaches to use in
supervision and other settings with self, students and qualified staff.
I hope to …….
Consider some existing emerging themes concerning resilience
and learning practitioners
Make usable connections with the PCF Framework
Offer examples of tools, frameworks and sequences for identifying
our own and others’ resilience strengths and supervising reflectively
for resilience
Use ourselves - think about what some of the tools might mean for
Explore ideas for supervision and mentoring( having a go at one
or two, if we have time!)
Offer ideas to take with you to support students ,NQSWs( I have
used the generic term ‘learner’ for wider applicability) staff and
Trying some ideas out….
• Your Pack
Resilience Hunting equipment! We will use
……….To take with you…..
• Your WRAP
Social Work and resilience – some key
research findings( Grant and Kinman 2010)
• Social Workers gain considerable satisfaction form their
work but report higher levels of work-related stress than
many other occupational groups
• Serious ongoing implications – a cumulative effect;
longevity in social work practice averages at 8 years
• Need to identify protective factors and to equip social
workers with emotional skills and competences which
can help protect against stress
Linked insights
 ‘Salutogenisis’ (Antonovsky 1979: Becker ,CM ,Glas
coff, M.A and Felts,W.M.( 2010)
 A protective process of ‘being’, allowing flourishing in
the face of stress – reflects…..
 Sense of Coherence – the ability to comprehend the
whole picture of the stressful situation and to marshall
 Generalised Resistance Resources(GRRs) - resources
which keep the individual’s movement pro-health –
physical, psychological, social and ecological
Insights ctd
• Awareness of own vulnerabilities and willingness to
address these and take care of self ( Anderson and
Burgess 2012)
• Capacity to transfer that awareness to others and to
support them
• Capacity to learn skills and awarenesses that support
and protect
• Compassionate practice – with and in relation to self
and others,
• Compassionate practice – significantly expressed within
the PCF range of areas
Making professional links - the PCF– Your balance
for compassionate practice – a sense of the whole
person – (social worker and service user focus)
Professionalism…in the context of
Values and Ethics…. and
Diversity…leading to an active awareness of
Rights, Justice and champion which you bring
your professional……
Knowledge….which you express through
Intervention and Skills….. using which, you develop
positive impact and increasing effectiveness through
Critical Reflection and Analysis…in the setting of ,but
supported by
Contexts and Organisations…. through guidance and
compliance ,but also through enacting your practice
responsibilities proactively
Professional Leadership
Key points of connection – skills and
 Meta-competences (Bogo 2010) underpinning ‘values in
action’ involving use of skills to convey values /attitude within
other broader skills and tasks. Could in a sense be called
 Emotional Intelligence( Awareness of , expression of and
regulation of emotions in the context of professional
 Plus
 Empathy( Capacity to support ourselves compassionately
and to enter into the experiences of others, while not over identifying with these)
 Plus
 Reflective Ability( Capacity to systematically build a our
awareness of internal and external situations ;to test
awarenesses and consider alternative approaches
Capability statements concerning resilience
• How they help us….
• By defining Resilience in the specific context of social work
• By assisting learners to both understand and demonstrate
resilience and is ingredients
• Through a more holistic emphasis, to guide learners and
educators towards connecting evidence and learning about
resilience across the range of Capabilities
• By offering a standard by which to discern strengths, areas of
expertise, difficulties, areas of weakness, and contribute to the
exploration of marginal capability(PEPS Domain C (14)
• Marginal capability often reflects difficulties within ‘metacompetencies’
Differing Level Statements – all under
‘Professionalism’ –
• Readiness to Practice:
-Describe the importance of emotional resilience in social work
End of First Placement:
-Show awareness of own safety, health , well-being and emotional
resilience and seek advice as necessary
End of Final Placement
-With support, take steps to manage and promote own safety,
health , well being and emotional resilience
-Develop ways to promote well-being at work, identifying strategies
to protect and promote your own well being
Experienced Social Worker
-Recognise and seek ways to promote well-being for team and
Defining Resilience
Inevitably a construct:
socially , culturally and
psychologically and personally
Definition = includes what is
personally meaningful
Bounce- backability!
‘Getting up , dusting down and
starting all over again..’
( Words from a Song)
‘We all know what resilience is
until we try to define it’(
Padesky 2009).
Defining Resilience and its
• ‘The process of, capacity for, or outcome of, successful
adaptation despite challenging or threatening
circumstances’( Masten et al 1990)
...A general capacity for flexible and resourceful adaptation
to external and internal stressors’( Klohen (1996 ) cited
in Kinman and Grant (2010) p..2)
Importance for Student Social Workers - Gant
and Kinman( 2010) - resilience themes
Reduction of ‘stress’ and ‘distress’ in social work students.( my
terms).multiple stress contexts – the significance of learner stress and cross
– institutional stress( also my terms)
Social work students were both less distressed and stressed if…
They were more Emotionally Intelligent – that is, able to show empathy but
also having strong reflective capabilities (able to engage in- empathic
reflection, reflective communication and self –reflection.
If able to show empathy but were not so able to empathically reflect on
self and other - greater tendency for stress and distress.
Emotional Intelligence( including being able to undertake and engage in
self - other reflection) =Resilience =Psychological health and well-being.
Therefore better able to practise safely effectively and
compassionately in organisations
Therefore students need support to learn to reflect, and supervision
that enable and builds reflective processes
Importance for Newly Qualified Staff
Concerns about stress resilience of newly qualified social workers
Laming 2009 – need to develop ‘emotional resilience to manage challenges
they will face( from Gant and Kinman 2010)
Curriculum of knowledge for students and NQSWs tends to be contentdriven….. little focus on emotional management ( Morrison 2007) and
building resilience
Unfinished and complex nature of the social work( Tovey 2007)
Need for enhanced capacity to deal with ‘reactions of the heart’( Gant and
Kinman 2010)
NQSWs still experiencing un – regulated caseloads,lack of supervision , or
supervision which is focussed only on case management and lack of focus
on their learning process.
All currently made more difficult organisational cuts and ‘restructuring’
Knock on effect for more experienced staff .
Positive Change and Resilience
• Plasticity…
• ‘….substantial psychological change …… is possible when a
person’s environment changes’
• We are much more flexible than we think
• Small positive changes in a social or psychological system ignite a
‘ripple effect’. Also moves from person to person – organisational
• And Mindfulness …the more we become aware of small inner and
outer influences we have and of how we can best influence, the
stronger and more effective these become
Gilbert (2008), Ryle ( 1991).
Positive change ctd - Connecting with our own resilience
energy – Identifying our strengths and establishing coherence ( a
personal narrative of resilience)
 Defining energies in terms of strengths
 Reframing overcoming of difficulties as proof of
Strength, Intelligence, Insight ,Creativity and
 Moving us from deficit to ‘self-righting capacity’
(Werner and Smith 1982)
Resilience for learning about and supporting practice
( Padesky 2009)
• We all have within and outside ourselves a personal resilience
ecology or set of interactions- resilience in one area can strengthen
• We can seek for and recognise our strengths systematically and
positively and ‘transfer’ strengths to other areas
• We can support each other in drawing out our resilience strengths
• Resilience enables aware and focussed practice in challenging
circumstances and underpins effective decision making
• We model resilience awareness with colleagues and supervisees
• By accessing and using our opportunities for ‘proactive resilience’
we influence both practice and organisations
An Holistic Resilience Model ( Davis 1999)
A framework for learning about resilience for trainee
social workers(Reflecting Kinman and Grant 2010)
Building Awareness – what is resilience and what are our
• Building Empathy – compassionately but also honestly identifying
key vulnerability and strengths components and what we can do
about these - supporting ourselves and others
• Building Emotional Intelligence – Understanding and seeking
ways of managing own emotions and our professional relationships;
seeking a positive and strengths – focused mindset
• Building Reflective capacity - With others - opening up
possibilities , testing with others and against relevant information
and standards(PCF); linking inner and outer pictures, before and
after experiences and underlying dynamics( power)
Some ideas for working with trainee social
workers and other learners
A Possible Sequence
Defining Resilience
Building awareness
Developing Empathy
Developing Emotional Intelligence
Way in(1) What’s resilience?
• Identifying key words
• Some ideas about what they mean to each of us
• How can we each best interpret meanings so that we
can most easily act on them( Remembering
‘Resilience’ as a construct)
• Opening up Empathy and Emotional Intelligence in
the interactive process involved
(2) - Your life snake
• Resilience ups and downs? Where do you
feel you ‘bounced back’ and where not?
What helped and hindered?
Being systematic , practical and definite - Padesky
(2009) – 4 stage model for Resilience building
• Stage 1 -Identify strengths
• Stage 2 – Construct a map of your
resilience strengths
• Stage 3 – Apply to other areas
• Stage 4- Practice using
(3) - Resilience Examples- Identify your resilience ideas
in the windows….
(4)Resilience hunting
• Your mission – to seek out resilience strengths with another person.
• Do this by asking questions ( open) but also illiciting stories
symbols, metaphor
• Test assumptions about ‘failure’
• Can use drama and art ( see Anghel et al 2010- using drama and art
to explore resilience strengths and skills a part of a social work
qualifying programme)
• Important : Must note specific strengths
• Must form these into a profile of strengths
• Important then to go and apply profile of strengths in different
circumstances – rehearsing and strengthening skills
(4) Identifying and Developing Your Strengths
• Strengths/Assumption Hunting and
questionnaire (in your packs)
• Working together using Resilience Hunting
guide (in packs)
Application (1)Lewin’s Forcefield
How does the context in which we work and
also live help us be more resilient?
Pushing or
Pulling/encouraging or
Application (2)Using resiliencies
• How can we transfer our resiliencies to
influence our context?
•Identify concerns in Circle of Concerns
•Identify areas of influence or strength in Circle of Influence
•Pinpoint the links between areas of Influence and areas of Concern
From Covey, R, 1992.Adapted
Application (3)Building Meta-Skills Use
• Identifying the ‘narrative’ behind a meta competence and skillfor example - Empathy
• What does theory tell you about the skill? Identify the key ideas
and particular connections between Feeling Things, Knowing
things and Doing things; thinking about people we are
working with – how would we put that mix into practice
• How would you like to experience that skill – real situations
• Actually putting it into practice( shadowing ,co-working, being
• Using a Reflective Log for skills development =- recording and
reflecting on how he Knowing Doing and Feeling came in to
action through using the skill – for you and for service users.
• Testing out the narrative in Supervision
Resilience is not all down to the individual
• Shared responsibilities
• 1. Supervision and Support
• 2. Organisational culture and conditions
The Social Work Reform Board - supervising the process of
learning for practice - resilience forms part of this
 An holistic perspective on the professional role of the
social worker and the notion of Continuing Professional
 A ‘balanced ‘concept of supervision accountability/developmental balance;process/structure
 Responsibilities of both organisation and individuals
 Emphasis on reflection( practising it, supporting
practitioner development of it) which is transformative
– not only in and on practice but critical( big picture,
underlying dynamics) and reflexive( inner picture, self /
professional dynamics) – not any old reflection!
The Reflection Connection - What kind of
reflection supports Resilience Building?
 Emphasis on: Specifically identifying personal , practical,
professional and spiritual resilience strengths
 Incorporating feelings about task, role, process
and self/other interactions
 Building up the learning process beyond surface
(understanding facts/procedures) to deep
(understanding and applying
 Links for use within the Supervision Process
for development of students and practitioners
A Reflective Supervision Process – Boud ,Keogh
and Walker ( 1985) –motivating for resilience building
• Emphasis on:•
incorporating feelings
listening and clarification skills
• Supervisor modelling Empathy and
Emotional Intelligence
• Building in learning
• Working towards positive consolidation
or change
(Boud et al 1985, Johns 1995)
Describe the experience, recollect what happened
Notice what happened/how you felt/what you did
exploring discrepancies
Using listening skills/asking questions,
Acknowledge negative feelings but don’t’ let them form a barrier
Work with positive outcomes
focus on positive outcome
Exploring any barriers, supporting a
• Connect ideas and feelings of the experience to those you had on reflection
•Consider options and choices
Supporting connections/options and
How do I feel about this experience?
Could I have dealt better with the situation?
What have I learnt from this experience?
Encouraging learning, identifying
strengths, encouraging use of strengths to make positive changes
Boud, D.; Keogh, R.; Walker, D. (Eds) (1985) Reflection: turning experience into learning.
London: Kogan Page
Johns, C. (1995) Framing learning through reflection within Carper’s fundamental ways of knowing in nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing 22(2) 226-234
Adapted: Alison Paris - University of Birmingham 2011
A professional presence –underpinning resilience development
-Pro-Social Modelling
( A problem solving perspective –
yes, you/I can!),
(Listening, empathic ,
Small steps, action plan, visible
outcomes for visible progress
Caring but not collusion, behaviours
and actions not judging people or
attributing motivations)
Trotter 2002
Cherry 2010
positive values and compassionate
practice a ‘discourse of
caring’(Bisman 2004)
Professional reliability and
Affirming organisational ,team, and
individual task and purpose
Affirming accountability for ‘right
focus’ and ‘best practice’
Moving the learner forward – Supporting resilience
development (Morrison 2005)
• From Red(Anxious) Cycle - Difficult experience; Reflection
defended; Links to bigger and personal pictures reduced
(unseen areas for both remain unseen); application in practice
of new ideas undermined; learning from experience not
• To
• Green( Open ) Cycle – Difficult experience; Reflection
supported and hence open; links to bigger picture and to
personal input opened up ( unseen areas for both); Ready to
apply new ideas in practice; Next experience more informed
A Possible exercise
• Consider a key practice issue a supervisee
(student, or practitioner) might bring to you in
supervision or for guidance, which has:
an emotive component
an element of actual or potential poor
How have you used or might you use the
principles to ensure a learner moves or stays in
the ‘Green Cycle’ ?What might they look like?
Organisational culture and conditions: SWRB
standards for employers of social workers - summary
1. Have in place a social worker accountability framework
2. Use effective workforce planning systems
3. Implement transparent systems to manage workload and
case allocation
4. Ensure social workers have tools and resources to do their
job safely and effectively
5. Ensure social workers have regular and appropriate social
work supervision
6. Provide opportunities for continued professional
development, research and practice guidance
7. Ensure social workers can maintain their registration
8. Establish effective partnerships with HEIs to support delivery
of social workers education and continued professional
Considering your support - revisiting the resilience wheel( Tamsin Waterhouse 16.3.11)
Resilience – Proactive about Well-being
Links with ‘Salutogenesis’
Monitoring our well being
Identifying triggers which might threaten
WRAP PLANNING- wellness recovery
action plan
( Jane Thakoordin and Riffat Bashir- March 16th 2011
• Designed by a Service user group
• WRAP - designed for learning about yourself, what
helps and what doesn’t, and how to get progressively
more in control of your life and your experience. It is a
framework with which you can develop an effective
approach to overcoming distressing symptoms, and
unhelpful behaviour patterns.
• Can this also be applied to students, staff members and
Creating your own WRAP - to take
with you
• What keeps me well?
 What are the triggers that I may be feeling
(unwell, unhappy, overly stressed)?
 What can I do about them?
 How can I identify early warning signs?
 What is my action plan when things begin to
go wrong?
 ……..this can be used in supervision with
students, staff members and teams
Picking up on the themes we have covered - Some
questions for you to consider…
Is it helpful to place resilience as more centre stage in our work
with students and developing staff?
How can we focus on providing more of a Reflective Space and
Compassionate presence in supervision?
How can we use the PCF to assist students in understanding the
contribution of resilience development to their professional
development and practice? And for assessing their capacity for
resilience in practice?
Models, Connections, and Principles – what might be useful to you
to adapt or create from? Any useful links?
How could you use ideas about resilience with individuals and/or
groups of: students/practitioners/managers/practice educators?
Thank you
• For your ideas, participation and

Building resilience through reflection for developing social workers