WELCOME

TO MY WEBSITE AND MY SOCIAL WORK WISE INDEPENDENT PRACTICE

My hopes and intentions for this space are to share my knowledge and wisdom acquired through my career of over 30 years of social work with people who are searching for support and inspiration for their own practice.

The majority of my career has been dedicated to responding to inter-personal violence through my work in a range of organisational contexts, including statutory and therapeutic responses to child abuse and neglect, sexual assault and domestic violence.

In recent years in independent practice I have been educating and supporting social workers and students to respond to workplace and institutional violence and developing models of practice that integrate critical, post-structural, feminist and trauma-informed theories.

As a proud member of the social work profession, with over 20 years AASW membership, I am committed to enacting the values and ethics of social justice in all my work.

Deanne Dale

Educator
Supervisor
Consultant

SOCIAL WORK WISE LOGO EXPLAINED

The owl represented in this logo is inspired by the mythology of Ancient Greece as a symbol of wisdom, protection, ‘inner sight’ (insight) and the ability to see what others cannot, for example, the bigger picture context and relational landscape. I consider all of these attributes and skills as gifts of the social work profession. The wisdom we acquire is hard-earned at the frontline of service industries like welfare and health and is frequently under-valued and under-acknowledged by the organisations we work for and our colleagues of other professional disciplines.

The owl is holding a little red book that reflects my ‘left leanings’ towards socialist foundational ideas and social justice. In Chinese cultural traditions the colour red denotes good luck and joy and in Buddhist and Hindu traditions according to the seven chakras, red is the root chakra representing energy, action, confidence, courage, and change.

The owl is wearing a purple academic hat or mortarboard representing my commitment to personal lifelong learning and supporting students joining the social work profession. Again, according to chakra traditions purple is the crown chakra representing wisdom, being at one with the world and creativity. Purple is also the colour of the women’s movement and feminist thought.

You may notice the expression on the owl’s face which I hope conveys the hopeful skepticism I hold in engaging with the challenges and complexities of social work practice.

SOCIAL WORK WISE LOGO EXPLAINED

The owl represented in this logo is inspired by the mythology of Ancient Greece as a symbol of wisdom, protection, ‘inner sight’ (insight) and the ability to see what others cannot, for example, the ‘bigger picture’ context and relational landscape. I consider all of these attributes and skills as gifts of the Social Work profession. The wisdom we acquire is hard-earned at the frontline of service industries like welfare and health and is frequently under-valued and under-acknowledged by the organisations we work for and our colleagues of other professional disciplines.

The owl is holding a ‘Little Red Book’ that reflects my ‘left leanings’ towards socialist foundational ideas (although stopping short of Mao’s Communist China manifesto) and Social Justice. In Chinese cultural traditions the colour red denotes good luck and joy and in Buddhist and Hindu traditions according to the seven chakras, red is the root chakra representing energy, action, confidence, courage, and change.

The owl is wearing a purple academic hat or mortarboard representing my commitment to personal lifelong learning and supporting students joining the Social Work profession. Again, according to chakra traditions purple is the crown chakra representing wisdom, being at one with the world and creativity. Purple is also the colour of the women’s movement and feminist thought.

You may notice the expression on the owl’s face which I hope conveys the hopeful scepticism I hold in engaging with the challenges and complexities of Social Work practice.

Theoretical and Philosophical Influences:

My current practice is primarily informed by:
  • Feminist theories including Intersectionality
  • Post-structuralism, Social Constructivism and Critical Theories
  • Social-Ecological and Systems theory
  • Trauma Informed care

My Preferred Practices Include:

  • Anti-oppressive practice including anti-racist and anti-colonialist, cultural competency
  • Social Justice therapies including Response-based practice and Narrative approaches
  • Critical Discourse Analysis and Critical Reflection
  • Trauma informed e.g. Neuroscience psychoeducation, reparative parenting, PA.C.E.

While these theories, philosophies and associated practices are my primary influences I have also been trained and supervised in a range of evidence based, therapeutic approaches including Psychodynamic, Gestalt, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectic Behavioural Therapy, Strengths-Based, Solution-Focused and Systemic Family Therapies. I am able to work with flexibility and enjoy the challenge of assisting practitioners to integrate concepts and ideas from a range of frame works into their thinking and practice.

Perspective on Inter-Personal Violence Trauma Theories

Like many practitioners in the inter-personal violence response space my work has been influenced by the trauma informed care model that has at its foundation an interest in the neuro-biological impacts of trauma on an individual person’s mind, body, relationships and so on. I am interested in exploring with people the ‘what happened to you?’ stories of their lives, rather than on the ‘what’s wrong with you?’ stories. However since I am a social work practitioner whose work is influenced by ideas from critical theories, post structuralism, feminism and social justice, I am also interested in the ‘how and why did this happen to you?’ question.

This question conceptualises inter-personal trauma as occurring in the cultural, societal and political contexts of people’s lives including experiences of oppression and exclusion-racism, misogyny, homophobia and so on. Similarly in my supervision work I encounter workers who have been subject to abuse in the organisational workplace context, who have had their experiences described as ‘burn out’, caused by a failure to engage in enough ‘self care’.

While I am interested in listening to, understanding and mapping the impacts and effects of trauma on people’s lives and relationships as a starting point in my work, my primary focus of enquiry is on the stories of responses to violence including those of overt and covert resistance. I regard this as the all important ‘how did you respond to what happened to you?’ question that opens up enquiry into victimhood narratives of hopelessness and powerless frequently encountered when working with people subjected to violence and abuse. For inspiration I refer to the work and writing of Johnella Bird and Response Based Practitioners such as Vikki Reynolds and Allan Wade and also Narrative Therapist founder Michael White. I have had the privilege of attending training with all of these luminaries of critical, post-structural and social justice thinking and acknowledge and express gratitude for the part each of them has played in shaping my work.

I use the diagram below to invite students and supervisees I work with to explore how their own thinking fits with various aspects of the complex landscape of trauma theory. I also find it helpful in exploring the relationship between theory and practice.