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SYSTEMIC AND PSYCHOANALYTIC IDEAS: USING KNOWLEDGES IN SOCIAL WORK

C. Flaskas
Published 2007 · Sociology

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Social work has a complex relationship to knowledge, and to its own production and ‘use’ of knowledges. This paper is about the use of systemic and psychoanalytic knowledge, and it maps selected ideas that are most relevant to social work. From systemic thinking, the core parameters of context and relationship sit harmoniously with social work commitments. Some more particular conceptualisations of multiple relationships are useful in moving beyond individualised understandings of the intimate experience of self and relationship. From psychoanalytic thinking, the whole idea of the unconscious and unconscious communication can be added to the more specific sets of ideas of attachment, transference and countertransference and projective identification, and restraints on the capacity to think. These ideas all address the relational context of intrapsychic experience. Though the map of systemic and psychoanalytic ideas is the ‘substantive’ exploration, this paper is nonetheless framed by an interest in the way in which social work relates to knowledge. The use of systemic and psychoanalytic knowledges thus becomes a case study that serves as a source of secondary reflection on knowledge in social work.
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