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National Symposium 2015 - Uncovering your personal practice model and assisting others to discover theirs

Event Details
Date: Ongoing
Venue: Online
CPD hrs: 1 hour
CPD Category: 2 - Skills and Knowledge

AASW member: $20

Non member: $30

Organiser: AASW National

This is a recording of one of the concurrent workshops from the AASW National Symposium in November 2015. The workshop was presented by Carolyn Cousins on "Unconvering your personal practice model and assisting others to discover theirs". Most social workers spend time in their final year of university trying to ‘tie down’ their practice to a theory or theories and develop a sense of who they specifically are as a social work practitioner. However new roles, workplace experiences and the sheer weight of learning involved in understanding and applying organisational policies, procedures and approaches, can soon leave discussions and debates about theory as a distance memory. Experiences of purely action or task based supervision (which is common), as well as a lack of time to keep up with changes in research and theory, can easily leave practitioners unsure of, and unable to articulate, the theoretical basis of their practice. Social Workers can fi nd themselves acting from intuition, ‘common sense’ and years of built up wisdom - none of which are bad things – but this can lead to a sense of ‘Imposter Syndrome’ – that one day, someone will discover they are unsure of their theoretical foundations. This session will break down theory into specific ‘manageable’ categories, and outline a process for assisting practitioners identify the various influences on their practice and thinking. It will assist them ascertain which theoretical approaches best suit their current model of practice, that will have adapted and changed overtime – providing a kind of ‘theory tune up’. This process comes from the presenters’ experience as an external supervisor and trainer, that many social workers seem to struggle to feel ‘legitimate’ in their approach, particularly when working alongside other disciplines who more sure of their theoretical ground. The session will also look at both the individual ‘discovery’ process, which can be applied to self or with supervises, as well as consider some of the challenges for the social work profession in ‘claiming’ our own corner of theoretical space.

Learning objectives:

  • For participants to consider and reflect on the theories and models informing their own current practice;
  • For participants to reflect on why they are drawn to particular theories and practice approaches and examine the influence of their past work experiences and personal history on their practice;
  • For participants to leave with a process for assisting staff they supervise/manage/work with to uncover, or discover, and articulate their personal practice model.

Presenter details

Carolyn Cousins has worked in the fields of: child protection; domestic violence; and mental health for over 20 years. Holding statutory, specialty and management posts in both Australia and the UK. She has Masters Degrees in Social Work and Adult Education, as well as a Diploma in Management. Based on the Central Coast, Carolyn currently provides clinician supervision and training to a range of clinicians and groups across NSW. She also runs training and workshops in relation to both clinician issues and management/supervision. Carolyn has published in relation to children at risk, out of home care and also the quality of service provision and management. She is also an article and book reviewer for a number of journals in the UK.

Recording Details

This recording was filmed in November 2015

Duration: 49 minutes


This course can be claimed for CPD purposes, consistent with the CPD Goals and Hours Requirements.

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AASW member: $20

Non member: $30ASW.


Register for access by following the link to the right. Upon registering, you will receive a confirmation email - please read this email carefully, as it provides your access to the online course.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers