Parental resistance and social worker skills: towards a theory of motivational social work
AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
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AbstractParental resistance is a ubiquitous feature of child and family social work, yet there has been limited research or theoretical work directed at the issue. This paper identifies social and individual reasons why parents may be resistant. Five principle causes of parental resistance are discussed, namely social structure and disadvantage, the context of child protection work, parental resistance to change, denial or minimization of abuse or neglect and the behaviour of the social worker. It is argued that motivational interviewing (MI) provides particularly useful skills and concepts for firstly reducing the social worker contribution to resistance and secondly minimizing the resistance related to other reasons for resistance. Key adaptations required in the strategic aims of MI if it is to be used in child protection work are identified and discussed, the most important of which is maintaining a focus on the child's welfare and safety. It is concluded that MI offers an opportunity to improve practice by increasing parental engagement and to make a contribution to social work theory by combining an attention to both broader social structure and the micro-skills required in social work interviews.
CitationForrester, D., Westlake, D., Glynn, G. (2012) 'Parental resistance and social worker skills: towards a theory of motivational social work'. Child & Family Social Work 17 (2):118
JournalChild & Family Social Work