What Do We Know? The Experiences of Social Workers Working Alongside Aboriginal People

Bindi Bennett, Joanna Zubrzycki*, Violet Bacon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Social work practice with Aboriginal people and communities is generally regarded as complex, with workers often engaging with communities that are experiencing significant disadvantage. This paper reports on a research project that interviewed Aboriginal and non Aboriginal social workers who are experienced and well-regarded by Aboriginal communities. It provides insights into what sustains these workers and how they integrate a range of knowledge, values, and skills in their work. The research findings suggest that experienced Aboriginal and non Aboriginal social workers prioritise the development of relationships with their Aboriginal clients and communities, which are characterised by reciprocity, the integration and valuing of Aboriginal and Western worldviews, and the application of microskills such as deep listening and stillness. The article concludes with the presentation of a practice framework that is applicable to Aboriginal and non Aboriginal social workers who want to work alongside Aboriginal people across a range of practice contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-37
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Social Work
Volume64
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

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