• Caring for a child with a learning disability born into the family unit: Women's recollections over time

      Lovell, Andy; Mason, Tom; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2011-08-01)
      Caring over time for a child/young adult with a learning disability requires that the family, and in particular the mother, negotiate their needs with services and professionals, and these negotiations are complicated further by significant behavioural issues in the children. This study reports on a series of interviews undertaken with mothers of children and young adults with learning disabilities and a history of challenging behaviours. The interviews were supplemented by documentary data from clinical and other notes in order to provide a more detailed view of the issues arising from caring over time. Detailed thematic analysis revealed five key themes demonstrating the cumulative effect of caring for someone with such complex needs, the centrality of that individual’s needs to the lives of those interviewed and the ongoing negotiation between family and professionals required in order for the former to work out how to continue caring both effectively and on their own terms. All the names of mothers and children are psuedonyms.
    • Defining the problem and sourcing the solution: a reflection on some of the organizational, professional and emotional complexities of accessing post-adoption support.

      Harlow, Elizabeth; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-05-16)
      In the United Kingdom as elsewhere, children across the age range are now being adopted from care. Some of these children, by no means all, are expressing additional physical, emotional, behavioural and educational needs. In consequence, the government has introduced legislation and attendant policies aimed at providing adoptive families with support. In 2013 in the northwest of England, a specialist post-adoption support service was established, and an illuminative evaluation of its organization and provision was conducted. A key theme emerging from the qualitative data concerned the difficulties parents had encountered in accessing appropriate support prior to the creation of the service. These difficulties have been interpreted as: uncertainty in defining the problems encountered and knowing which agencies and professionals to approach; ambivalence about seeking help; professionals’ uncertainty in knowing how to respond; and the scarcity of resources. This paper illustrates these difficulties, then draws attention to some of the ways in which they are being addressed.
    • I wanted to feel the way they did: Mimesis as a situational dynamic of peer mentoring by ex-offenders

      Buck, Gillian; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2016-10-10)
      Despite growing enthusiasm for peer mentoring as a criminal justice intervention, very little is known about what actually happens within these relationships. Drawing on an ethnographic study of peer mentoring in the North of England this article will foreground the concept of inspiration” in these settings. It will argue that Rene Girard’s theory of mimesis offers a framework with which to analyze role modeling in mentoring relationships and that a Girardian reading also offers interesting insights into the unresolved problem of the origins of personal change.
    • Is living well with dementia a credible aspiration for spousal carers?

      Tolhurst, Edward; Carey, Malcolm; Weicht, Bernhard; Kingston, Paul; Stafford University; University of Chester; University of Innsbruck (Taylor & Francis, 2018-05-21)
      In England there has been substantial policy development and an academic drive to promote the goal of ‘living well’ for people with dementia and their family members. This article critically evaluates the feasibility of this intention, with reference to the experience of those caring for people with the condition. Qualitative data are utilised from a study which explored how couples negotiate relationships and care. The focus of this paper is the perspectives of spousal carers and the challenges they encounter within their caring role. Views were obtained via semi-structured joint interviews where the carer participated alongside the person with dementia. The extent to which living well with dementia is a credible aspiration for carers is examined via three themes: identity subsumed under care responsibilities; the couple as an isolated family unit; and barriers to professional support. The findings highlight that experience of caring is highly complex and fraught with multiple practical, emotional and moral pressures. It is asserted that research into dementia and care relationships must avoid a zero sum situation, prompted by living well discourses, where attempts to bolster the position of people with dementia compound the marginalisation and stigmatisation of informal carers.
    • Social Work Through Collaborative Autoethnography

      Gant, Valerie; Cheatham, Lisa; DiVito, Hannah; Offei, Ebenezer; Williams, Gemma; Yatosenge, Nathalie; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2019-02-13)
      This paper discusses a research project involving 5 MA Social Work Students and 1 member of Social Work Academic Staff. Using narrative and taking a collaborative autoethnographical approach, this project highlights some of the feelings that students articulated following a 70 day placement experience. Findings include anxiety, powerlessness and frustration, together with growing confidence, recognition of their skills and a deeper understanding of the role of ‘self’ in social work. Raising issues of preparedness for practice placement, this paper has implications for both social work practice and social work education. Autoethnography (AE) is both a method of carrying out research and a methodology, specifically a qualitative methodology linked to ethnography and narrative inquiry. AE results in highly personalised narrative accounts of the researcher’s engagement with specific sociocultural contexts in the pursuit of knowing more about a phenomenon. Applying such a methodology to explore collaboratively issues of student lived experience of placement is a new and innovative use of this method.
    • Stigma: the representation of mental health in UK newspaper twitter feeds.

      Bowen, Matt; Lovell, Andy; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2019-05-10)
      Background The press’ representation of mental illness often includes images of people as dangerous, and there is evidence that this contributes to stigmatising understandings about mental illness. Little is known about how newspapers portray mental health on their Twitter feeds. Aims To explore the representation of mental health in the UK national press’ Twitter feeds. Method Content analysis was used to code the Tweets produced by UK national press in two time periods, 2014 and 2017. Chi-square analysis was used to identify trends. Results The analysis identified a significant reduction in the proportion of tweets that were characterised as Bad News between 2014 and 2017 (χ2 = 14.476, d.f. = 1, p < .001) and a significant increase in the tweets characterised as Understanding (χ2 = 9.398, d.f. = 1, p = .002). However, in 2017, 24% of the tweets were still characterised as Bad News. Readers did not retweet Bad News stories significantly more frequently than they were produced. Conclusions There is a positive direction of travel in the representations of mental health in the Twitter feeds of the UK press, but the level of Bad News stories remains a concern.
    • The tyranny of ethics? Political challenges and tensions when applying ethical governance to qualitative social work research

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-11-29)
      This paper examines problems which current ethical governance processes generate for qualitative researchers within social work. It draws upon case studies and critical theory to detail the unpredictable and diverse nature of much social work qualitative research. It argues that too often this research is pitted against a narrow institutional focus placed on positivist-orientated empirical research and income generation. Overtly instrumental interpretations of ethics - often determined by realist and bioethical paradigms - can quickly inhibit the methodological dynamism required to meaningfully capture the complex and non-binary issues which social workers accommodate in their work and subsequent research. Arguments that policy-led, institutional and professional cultures have generated a conservative culture of risk-aversion within the neo-liberal university are also considered.
    • Using codes of ethics for disabled children who communicate non-verbally - some challenges and implications for social workers

      Carey, Malcolm; Prynallt-Jones, Katherine A.; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-02-09)
      This article evaluates the use of professional codes of ethics by social workers specialising in work with disabled children who communicate non-verbally. It draws upon phenomenological interviews and other studies to highlight challenges faced by practitioners in a complex role which demands high-levels of skills and knowledge. Supporting other research, codes of ethics were rarely utilised by practitioners who typically maintain a vague appreciation while often compelled to focus upon pragmatic and quick responses to a complex role. Despite this, it is argued that principle-based frameworks embedded within codes of ethics carry important political implications. These include the potential to strengthen existing utilitarian and bioethical discourses embedded in policy or dominant professional narratives, and which can at times marginalise or exclude disabled children.
    • Using visual methodology: Social work student's perceptions of practice and the impact on practice educators.

      Bailey-McHale, Julie; Bailey-McHale, Rebecca; Caffrey, Bridget; Macleand, Siobhan; Ridgway, Victoria; University of Chester; Kirwin Maclean Associates (Taylor & Francis, 2018-06-21)
      Practice learning within social work education plays a significant part in students’ educational journey. Little is understood about the emotional climate of placements. This paper presents a small scale qualitative study of 13 social work students’ perceptions of their relationship with a practice educator (PE) and 6 PE’s perceptions of these emotional experiences. Visual methodology was employed over a two-phased research project, first social work students were asked to draw an image of what they thought practice education looked like, phase two used photo eliciation, PEs were then asked to explore the meaning of these images. Results demonstrated that social work students focused on their own professional discourse, the identity of PEs, power relationship and dynamics between themselves and PEs, the disjointed journey and practice education in its entirity. Whilst the PEs shared their personal views of practice education and reflected on this, both groups had a shared understanding of practice education including its values and frustrations. Keywords: social work placements, visual methodology, practice educators