I’ve been interested in ‘self’ as an aspect of social work for many years. In 2014 I completed a Masters in Higher Education. The research explored the role of ‘self-awareness’ in the education of social workers. Towards the end of 2014 I applied and was accepted for a scholarship at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. The subject continues the theme of self and the role it plays in our practice. My previous project looked at the perceptions of students on social work programs. This project is interested in the perceptions of social work educators and professionals in the use of self as a social work skill.
In 1993 I developed a method for working with a play therapy technique in supervision with student social workers and supervisees in my practice. It is used in seminars and conferences. I wrote about this technique in the following article in 2007:
Amas, D. (2012). We all love playing in the sand! Using sand play therapy in critical reflection with students in practice placement. The Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 7(2), 6-24.
Life Story Work
I carried out Life Story Work with children and young people in long term foster care or who were being placed for adoption for many years in my role in a Direct Work Team and as an Independent Social Worker. I worked holistically including foster families and extended birth families using direct work techniques to develop inter-active life story books. I also worked on Later Life Letters supporting carers to help children explore their heritage in an age appropriate way as they grow. I presented a conference paper of a short piece of research on this subject at the International Social Work Conference in Hong Kong winning best abstract award:
Amas, D. (2010) Nurturing Identity and Resilience in children looked after by the state: Developing robust models of Life Story Work and Later Life Work to support transitions from care to adulthood. Joint World Conferenceon Social Work and Social Development: The Agenda
Mirror Mirror Project
This project was funded through a Research Grant. Workshops were carried out with social work students on year one of the BA (Hons) Social Work Award. It consisted of 4 morning workshops focussed on the use of creative and experiential techniques to support critical reflection and think about 'self' in practice. Essentially the project was interested in whether and how alternative creative mediums using drama, arts, movement and visualisation can support social work teaching and learning. The project was recorded and evaluated.
Anghel, R., Hicks, J., and Amas, D., 2009. Self-Awareness and Personal Development in Social Work Education – A Pilot Programme of Experiential Workshops. Networks (pp30-39)
Amas, D., Hicks, J., and Anghel, R., 2012. Mirror Mirror: Critical Reflection and “Self” through creative mediums social work education and practice in McIntoch, P., and Warren, D., (eds) 'Creativity in the Classroom: Case Studies in Using the Arts in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.' (Peer Reviewed publication)
Amas, D., 2014. An exploration of self-awareness in social work education. Research Conference Anglia Ruskin University 2nd June 2014
Anghel, R., Amas, D., and Hicks, J., 2010. (Re)Integrating ‘Self’ in Social Work Education through Experiential Learning and Reflection. 4th Annual Social Work Continuing Professional Development Conference. Integrated Practice. Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London