The move towards multi-agency work within social work is likely to highlight the importance of communication as a crucial skill. ‘Every Child Matters’ identifies the ability to communicate as one of the key aspects of the Common Core of Skills and Knowledge: ‘Good communication is central to working with children, young people, their families and their carers. It is a fundamental part of the Common Core’ (Every Child Matters, 2004).
Communication within social work is complex and involves many different areas of communication. It includes both verbal and written communication, individual and group communication.
This paper will consider the following:
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Communication with clients. Communication with other professionals. Communication within social work hierarchies.
There is now an increased interest in the whole area of communication from a psychological perspective. There is a growing awareness that it is necessary to try to understand what it is that
leads to failures in communication. Thus, Ferguson writes of the impact of fear, violence and emotional pain on social work practice and the consequent implications for communication. He comments that the Laming report into Victoria Climbié’s death presents rational and naïve solutions to what must be understood as often irrational and inherently complex processes (Ferguson, 2005). Similarly, Rustin comments on the impact of the mental pain on those working with Victoria Climbié. She talks about the defences which individuals use to defend against witnessing emotional pain and suffering in others (Rustin, 2005). Her arguments apply equally well to the whole area of communication and the way in which defences and irrational behaviour can interfere with the ability to communicate openly and transparently.
This interest in communication is also being developed in other professions. The concept of emotional intelligence or emotional literacy is being emphasised within education and learning (Weare, 2004)....