Speaking and understanding each other’s language: systemic thinking in the land of Social Care

I attended this workshop at the Institute of Family Therapy on Friday 2nd May.

The advance publicity said:

This one day workshop aims to explore the significant challenges of working systemically in statutory settings and how we may contribute to developing meaningful and sustained change when presenting difficulties are likely to be multifaceted, entrenched and maintained by trans-generational patterns of relational functioning. The importance of understanding client’s relationships with professional agencies will be highlighted, along with how families and professionals may be positioned in relation to each other in regard of power and difference.

The presenters were Heleni Andreadi and Caroline Pipe.

Heleni Andreadi is a Systemic Therapist and Supervisor who has worked in a number of different settings, including Social Care and the NHS for over ten years, ever since she moved from Greece to London. She was trained at KCC and has over time developed an interest in using systemic ideas and practices in Adult Mental Health as well as training and supervising other practitioners in collaborative and enabling ways. Her experience within Social Care has ignited her curiosity for dominant and subjugated discourses as well as the different domains of practice and how these ideas can be usefully considered by other disciplines.

Caroline Pipe is a Systemic Therapist and Supervisor currently working in a Social Care setting in East London. Prior to qualifying as a Systemic Psychotherapist, Caroline worked as a Children and Families Social Worker and has over twenty years experience working in Child Protection and Care Proceedings. A central focus of her work is the consideration of how adopting a stance of curiosity and reflexivity may liberate practitioners from the “domain of production” and facilitate both rigour and appreciation in professional practice.

I wanted to go to this workshop because I’ve often been struck by the real difficulties which agencies have in communicating with each other. As a Social Worker who started work in a Local Authority, moved to a Voluntary organisation and then worked in the NHS, becoming a Family Therapist as part of that journey I have experienced some abrupt changes in the cultures I have operated in.

I liked the workshop a lot. Partly because I got to meet an old colleague and do some catching up but mostly because of the chance to spend a day thinking about how people talk with and to Social Care workers and vice versa.

The presenters used a CMM (Coordinated Management of Meaning) approach and the day was a nice mixture of teaching, exercise and discussion. They were also able to show some video of their work, which I am always impressed by!



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