• Art therapy with refugee children: a qualitative study explored through the lens of art therapists and their experiences

      Akthar, Zahra; Lovell, Andy; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2018-11-09)
      This article sets out to explore the use of art therapy with refugee children, from the perspective of art therapists and their experiences. Three semi-structured interviews were conducted to gain insights by capturing experiences and stories. Using thematic analysis, five themes were identified: (1) giving voice; (2) rebuilding trust, opening wounds; (3) sharing stories, healing pain; (4) exploring identity, discovering new-self; and (5) understanding art therapy. Upon reflection, two key aspects of art therapy were established, these were identified as: (1) providing refugee children with a safe space to heal and discover new-self, and (2) giving refugee children a voice to express and share stories. Despite the last of the five themes (understanding art therapy) being established as a factor that limits the use of art therapy, this has created an avenue for further research. From the findings, it was concluded that art therapy can be a useful form of psychotherapy for refugee children. Art therapy can provide these children with a safe space to heal, and give them a voice to be heard.
    • Attachment Theory: Developments, Debates and Recent Applications in Social Work, Social Care and Education

      Harlow, Elizabeth; University of Chester
      Attachment theory may be considered controversial given that some of its foundational principles are contested. Not only this, it is currently being developed by insights from neuroscience, another perspective that academics have subjected to critique. Nevertheless, at the beginning of the twenty-first century in England and the United Kingdom in general, there has been a renewed interest in its explanation of child development, as well as its application in schools, social care settings and the practice of professionals such as social workers and teachers. This paper outlines the core principles of attachment theory, acknowledges some of the criticisms, then traces the ways in which the theory has been developed over time. The theory is then illustrated with a description of the ways in which it is being applied in the training of foster carers, the provision of support to adoptive parents and in the school environment.
    • Factors Affecting the Participation of Physically Disabled Children and Young People in Out of-School Activities in the United Kingdom: A Qualitative Study

      Knight, Kate; Greenop, Daz; Vickerman, Philip; Porcellato, Lorna; University of Chester; Liverpool John Moores
      Physically disabled children and young people (PDC&YP) face many challenges when participating in out-of-school activities. PDC&YP should have the same choices and opportunities as other C&YP; to forge friendships locally and to access out-of-school activities (Knight et al., 2013). However PDC&YP have fewer opportunities than their non-disabled peers due to challenges such as access, support and suitable provision. This multi-method qualitative study examined the factors affecting participation of PDC&YP in out-of-school activities. The perspectives of PDC&YP and parents were sought using a range of data collection tools. These included interviews, focus groups and creative focus groups with 13 PDC&YP and 19 parents. Play-based creative focus groups were specifically designed for PDC&YP aged 7 to 17 years. The study demonstrated that PDC&YP enjoy specialist disabled activities to meet others ‘like them’ but want more local opportunities to do this. Some PDC&YP and parents felt they were not disabled enough for ‘disabled’ activities but not able enough for mainstream. PDC&YP requiring personal care were a ‘hidden’ group who are at risk of missing out on experiences that they are entitled to. The study concludes by presenting the need to improve provision through disability awareness training and a co-ordinated partnership approach to be employed by the local authority to raise the profile of disability and ‘bridge the gap’ between service users and service providers. The social needs of children require the same focus and attention to aid their wellbeing and to enhance out-of-school lives.
    • Guest Editorial

      Harlow, Elizabeth; Izod, Karen; University of Chester; University of the West of England (Taylor and Francis, 2015-06-01)
      This guest editorial introduces the special edition on the supervision of social work practice
    • Household and market survey on availability of adequately iodized salt in the Volta region, Ghana

      Agbozo, Faith; Der, Joyce B.; Glover, Nutifafa J.; Ellahi, Basma; University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, Ghana; Volta Regional Health Directorate, Ghana Health Service; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2016-10-27)
      Consumption of adequately iodized salt (AIS) ≥15ppm is one of the criteria for measuring progress towards universal salt iodization (USI) and sustainable elimination of iodine deficiency disorders. After series of health promotion activities, this survey was conducted to evaluate the extent to which USI was achieved. Cross-sectional survey was conducted in 1,961 households and 350 markets to estimate the iodine levels of salt consumed or sold. Three degrees of iodization were estimated from fine, coarse and granular texture salt using MBI rapid field test kits. Differences in iodization levels were determined using Bonferroni test in STATA. Determinants for household utilization of AIS were identified using regression analysis and reported as odds ratio (OR). Availability of AIS in households (24.5%) and markets (30.9%) was far below the 90% recommendation. No differences where observed in urban (26.8%) and rural (24.1%) households. Households that used fine-texture salt (OR: 40.13; CI: 30.1-53.4) or stored salt in original packs (OR: 8.02; CI: 6.01-10.70) were more likely to consume AIS. Across districts, highest household availability of AIS was 51.7% while the least was 7.5%. The district with the highest market availability of AIS was 85.7% while the least was 8.3%. Almost 32% of the traders were aware that selling non-iodized salt was unauthorized but out of this, only 12% sold AIS. Public education should emphasis appropriate handling and storage of salt throughout the supply chain. To ensure adequate salt fortification with iodine, improved surveillance of factories and mining sites is recommended.
    • Looking into the LGB affirmative therapies over the last fifty years – a mixed method review synthesis

      Broadway-Horner, Matthew; Kar, Anindya; University of Chester; Advanced Neuropsychiatry Institute, Kolkata (Taylor and Francis, 2022-04-04)
      In the past few decades, affirmative therapies for sexual minorities have burgeoned. These are appropriate therapies but often there is a lack of adequate research. We set out to study the research evidence available. For this mixed-methods review, we identified 15 studies looking into the experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in psychological therapies. These included nine qualitative, five quantitative and one mixed-method study. The minority stress hypothesis may explain some of the major difficulties LGB individuals face. Studies showed computer-based therapies may reduce or even eliminate unhelpful responses on part of the therapist. Challenges related to confidentiality and privacy in this context remain. Therapists may focus on minority stress but other stressors and not just discrimination may contribute to various mental health problems and their clinical presence. And finally, divergent findings found internalized homophobia may best explain discrimination-based minority stress and that therapist self-disclosure of own sexuality produced better results than the therapists who did not self-disclose. These findings are discussed and future directions for research are identified.
    • Older Trans Individuals’ Experiences of Health and Social Care and the Views of Healthcare and Social Care Practitioners: “They hadn’t a clue”

      Benbow, Susan M.; Kingston, Paul; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2022-01-24)
      This study investigated older trans people’s experiences of health and social care, and the experiences and views of practitioners in order to inform service development. Sixteen trans adults aged over 50 from Cheshire and nearby were recruited via community organisations and interviewed individually or in focus groups. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed with consent. Health and social care service practitioners were interviewed remotely or face-to-face. Data were analysed thematically supported by qualitative data analysis software. Three main themes were identified. ‘Levers’ indicated forces that influenced an individual’s contact with health and or social care positively or negatively, and encompassed five sub-themes: age; experiences good or bad; family/ close relationships; LGBT identity/ communities; and money/ finances. ‘Contextual forces’ encompassed societal forces that shape individuals’ encounters in care, lack the potential for positive influence, and are more closely allied to stereotypes/ myths: this theme included three sub-themes: discrimination/ hate; ignorance; and risk from others. ‘Positive practices’ encompassed five sub-themes, including learning/ training. In conclusion older age increases the importance of access to treatment for gender variance whilst simultaneously complicating it; older trans service users may be sensitive to potentially discriminatory experiences because of historical experiences; services should endeavour to understand individuals in the context of life history and psycho-social context; practitioners benefit from training in positive inclusive approaches to care; local community services are advantageous. Further research is needed with particular attention to social care, the experiences of trans men, and how to translate findings into person-centred practice, education and training.
    • “Our feelings are valid”- reviewing the lesbian, gay, and bisexual affirmative approaches in a mental health setting.

      Broadway-Horner, Matthew; Kar, Anindya; University of Chester; Advanced Neuropsychiatry Institute, Kolkata (Taylor and Francis, 2022-02-07)
      In recent years, although research into support mechanisms for managing distress experienced by Lesbian Gay and Bisexual (LGB) communities has increased. Stigma-related discrimination related to sexual minority status remains. This is further compounded by stigma against mental illnesses thus creating double jeopardy. This review will outline recent discoveries by exploring existing theories highlighting factors that explain health disparities for cisgender LGB people. It appears that the experience of the LGB population and the use of psychological therapies is varied across the spectrum. Some focus upon symptom reduction as part of the experience, but others talk about not being validated. Some mention minority stress constructs, alongside the psychological mediation framework, which offers a potential theoretical understanding of the experiences of the LGB population who receive psychological therapies.
    • Promoting practitioner research through a social work teaching partnership

      Buck, Gillian; Whiteside, Nicola; Newman, Andrea; Jones, Helen; Stanley, Selwyn; Feather, Julie; Millard, Wayne; University of Chester; Cheshire and Merseyside Social Work Teaching Partnership; Liverpool John Moores University; Warrington Borough Council; Edge Hill University (Taylor and Francis, 2022-09-29)
      Research is critical for effective and innovative social work practice, yet social workers do not always have time to engage with research and there are limited accounts of how practitioners can undertake research in practical and meaningful terms (Mitchell, Lunt, and Shaw 2010). Using a reflective, storytelling methodology (Beresford 2016), which centres experiential knowledge, we describe how one regional social work teaching partnership nurtured practitioner research over a three-year period. We introduce a regionally administrated ‘hub’, that connected social workers and academics and supported the development of seventeen research teams. The studies that resulted, focused on a range of important issues including child protection, young people in transition to adult services, adults in community and residential settings, lived experience-led provision, and social work education. In terms of limitations, our reflections are descriptive and illuminative, rather than critical, our findings are also not representative but rather reflect a snapshot of practice. Despite limitations, this commentary reveals the feasibility and value of proactively nurturing practitioner research and offers a blueprint for cultivating similar initiatives in other regions.
    • Psychiatric morbidity in medically ill patients using Spanish version of GMHAT/PC

      Tejada, Paola A.; Jaramillo, Luís Eduardo; Polo, Gilberto; Sharma, Vimal; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2016-12-14)
      The study aimed to assess psychiatric morbidity in medically ill patients and to examine the use of GMHAT/PC Spanish version in a general health setting. We recruited patients who were hospitalized at the services of Internal Medicine, Surgery and G/O during a period of 1 month for each service. The diagnosis of a medical illness was supported by specialists in each service. A trained GP conducted a psychiatric assessment of all the participants using GMHAT/PC. The interview was carried out at patients’ bedside. Of 455 medically ill patients, 4.8% had a mental illness identified by GMHAT/PC interview. Anxiety, depression and organic disorders were the most frequently identified mental disorders in internal medicine and surgery. Cancer had a significantly higher prevalence of comorbid mental illness. In this study the proportion of medically ill with mental disorders was less compared to other studies. The GMHAT/PC is more close to identifying clinical cases of mental illness and also patients who need help. The GMHAT is more a diagnostic instrument than a screening instrument. Physicians and practitioners can be trained to identify mental illness using computer-assisted tools such as GMHAT/PC. A holistic approach of providing care to such patients may improve their overall outcome and quality of life.
    • Psychological Therapies and Non-Suicidal Self Injury in LGBTIQ in Accident and Emergency Departments in the UK: A scoping review

      Broadway-Horner, Matthew; Kar, Anindya; Ventriglio, Antonio; Pemberton, Max; University of Chester; Advanced Neuropsychiatry Institute, Kolkata; Camden and Islington Foundation NHS Trust; University of Foggia (Taylor and Francis, 2022-08-25)
      Background: To identify psychological interventions that improve outcomes for those who overdose, especially amongst Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning populations. Objective: To recognise and assess the results from all studies including randomised control trials that have studied the efficiency of psychiatric and psychological assessment of people who have depression that undergo Non-Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI) by self-poisoning, presenting to UK A & E Departments Method: A scoping review of all studies including randomised controlled trials of psychiatric and psychological therapy treatments. Studies were selected according to types of engagement and intervention received. All studies including Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) available in databases since 1998 in the Willey version of the Cochrane controlled trials register in 1998 till 2021, Psych INFO, Medline, Google Scholar and from manually searching of journals were included. Studies which included information on repetition of NSSI behaviour were also included. Altogether this amounts to 3,900 randomised study participants with outcome data. Results: 7 trials reported repetition of NSSI as an outcome measure which were classified into 4 categories. Problem solving therapy (PST) is indicated as a promising therapy and has shown to significantly reduce repetition in participants who NSSI by overdosing than patients in the control treatment groups consisting of standard after care. Conclusion: The data shows that Manualised Cognitive Therapy (MACT) psychological intervention was more effective than TAU after care. However, these differences are not statistically significant with p = 0.15; CI 0.61, 1.0 which crosses the line of no effect. And Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy (PIT) is more effective than standard treatment. Despite being only one study in this subgroup the analysis shows a statistically Significance with p = 0.009, CI0.08; 0.7
    • Social work students and dyslexia: outcomes from an empirical study and some implications for practice

      Gant, Valerie; Hewson, Michael; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2022-09-07)
      Dyslexia is likely one of the most misunderstood conditions impacting on educational outcomes at all levels, in and across all practice and intellectual domains. This paper discusses a project carried out by two qualified social workers, one an academic involved in teaching and assessing social work students, the other a doctoral student with a formal diagnosis of dyslexia and dyspraxia. The research involved 9 social work students from 3 different universities who identified as having dyslexia. Semi structured interviews were held in order to identify challenges experienced by participants as well as any strategies they used to ameliorate them. The data from the interviews was coded and analysed, the findings indicated a range and variety of experiences. Participants described feeling anxious and questioned their ability to study social work, both in university and on placement. Feelings of exhaustion were noted, which indicated the need to examine and potentially to rebalance educators’ expectations across academic and practical roles, and to provide support for students to meet workload requirements particularly when on placement. Findings from the interviews were shared with academic staff and practice educators, additionally a ‘good practice’ guide was produced to support educators in placement as well as in universities
    • Social Work Students sharing practice learning experiences: Critical reflection as process and method.

      Walker, Jane; Gant, Valerie; University of Chester
      This paper offers a commentary regarding the centrality of critical reflection in social work before discussing a research project drawing on a sample of ten social work students as they approached the end of their social work training in one English university. The original intention of the research was to focus solely on students’ perceptions of critical reflection, but when using a more reflexive approach, we identified that participants utilised the focus groups as an opportunity to discuss their practice learning experiences per se before considering and discussing critical reflection. Most students were placed in child protection social work teams and discussed how they felt unprepared for such a fast-paced and stressful environment. Participants felt that the expectations some practitioners had of students were unrealistic, and not always commensurate with the Professional Capabilities Framework. Students highlighted the use of practice scenarios in developing their knowledge and skills particularly when considering their application of critical reflection. This study highlights the significance of adequate preparation for practice and argues for a more focused agenda for future research exploring the culture of learning, including those factors that inhibit students sharing their concerns as well as the training needs of educators
    • Social Work Students’ Perceptions of Ageing

      Ridgway, Victoria; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2018-06-23)
      Little is understood about social work students or social workers’ perceptions of ageing in the UK. This paper presents a small-scale study of 20 master social work students’ perceptions of ageing during the first year of their programme. A mixed method approach was employed over a two-staged research project, in both stages the social work students were asked to complete Kogan’s (1961) Attitudes Towards Older People Scale (KATOPS) and draw a person aged 75. Results demonstrated that most students had neutral to positive attitudes towards older people at the beginning of the programme and these improved in stage two; all had positive attitudes. The drawings provided a visual narrative of their perceptions of older people, visual signifiers included physical signs of ageing. Fulfilment, emotion, family, individuality and appearance were emergent themes. Whilst the programme enhanced the students’ perceptions more work is needed to dispel the myths and stereotypes about ageing
    • Some ethical limitations of privatising and marketizing social care and social work pro-vision in England for children and young people

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2019-03-01)
      This article analyses the negative ethical impact of privatisation, alongside the ongoing mar-ketisation of social care and social work provision for children and young people in England. It critically appraises the implications of a market-based formal social care system, which in-cludes the risk-averse and often detached role of social workers within ever more fragmented sectors of care. Analysis begins with a discussion of background policy and context. The ten-dency towards ‘service user’ objectification and commodification are then detailed, followed by a discussion of the limiting of choice for service users. Service and social fragmentation, and the often severely restricted ‘life chances’ of many children and young people in care, are then deliberated. The concluding discussion reiterates the moral implications of marketisation in relation to ethical frameworks, including those associated with autonomy, informed choice, social exclusion and social justice. The tendency towards children increasingly being utilised as a means to an end within business-orientated sectors of care is highlighted, alongside ethi-cal questions asked about the State’s purpose in providing a community of support.
    • Stigma: the representation of anorexia nervosa in UK newspaper Twitter feeds.

      Bowen, Matt; Lovell, Andrew; Waller, Rhian; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2020-07-15)
      Background There is evidence that the representation of mental health in newspapers has an influence on readers’ attitudes, however, relatively little is known about how the industry presents accounts of anorexia nervosa. Further, the industry increasingly uses Twitter as a medium for reaching readers and this remains an under-examined area of research. Aims To explore the representation of anorexia nervosa in the UK national press’ Twitter feeds. Method Frame analysis was used to examine the manner in which anorexia nervosa was represented in the Twitter feeds of all national UK newspapers between 2009-2019 (n=332). This qualitative approach used Braun and Clarke’s stages of thematic analysis, while drawing on Van Gorp’s use of a frame matrix to support the definition of the news frames. Results The analysis identified four news frames: social model, illness model, stress-recovery model and clickbait model. Conclusions The newspapers drew on a range of perspectives in their representation of anorexia nervosa, which typically were not stigmatising in their accounts. However, there was a pattern of using sensationalistic images in some of the tweets, which may encourage readers to view people with anorexia nervosa as Other, and as a consequence contribute to stigmatisation.
    • Trapped in discourse? Obstacles to meaningful social work education, research and practice within the neoliberal university

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester
      This article appraises the role of the neoliberal university in regulating social work education, research and practice. The dominance of governments and employers in determining social work education is highlighted, alongside the ascendancy of skills-based and vocational training. Moreover, it is proposed that research, associated learning, and practice are now more often moulded around essentialist science-based, behavioural or functionalist paradigms, which fit conveniently with free market, politically conservative and authoritarian agendas. The neoliberal university is increasingly able to rationally prepare social workers to fulfil narrow ideological objectives, which includes priority given to attempts to empower, pathologise, and scientifically manage structurally disadvantaged populations from minority groups. Reductive paradigms, nevertheless, can struggle to cope with social fragmentation and diversity, with social work students often ill prepared for many of the complex challenges which they later face as qualified practitioners. Analysis for the article draws from critical theory, and it is concluded that market-based discourses and related professional paradigms - and the symbolically constituted and hyperreal fantasies which they help to maintain - can prove difficult to escape. Social work continues to face a precarious future within university settings in which free market narratives, associated norms, targets, and labour insecurity prevail.
    • Universal credit, lone mothers and poverty: some ethical challenges for social work with children and families

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2021-06-22)
      This article critically evaluates and contests the flagship benefit delivery system Universal Credit for lone mothers by focusing on some of the ethical challenges it poses, as well as some key implications it holds for social work with lone mothers and their children. Universal Credit was first introduced in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2008, and echoes conditionality-based welfare policies adopted by neoliberal governments internationally on the assumption that paid employment offers a route out of poverty for citizens. However, research evidence suggests that the risks of conditionality polices for lone parents can often include increased poverty, a deterioration in mental health or even destitution posed by paternalistic sanctions or precarious low-paid employment, which can undermine parenting capacities and children’s well-being. The article also critically appraises and questions challenges posed by an increased reliance upon contractual ethics by governments, alongside the wider behaviour modifying policies of the workfare-orientated state. This includes that working-class lone mothers can erroneously be stigmatised as representing a morally challenged dependent burden through activation policies and risk-averse social work practices.