Being a service user and a social work academic: balancing expert identities

Fox, Joanna (2016) Being a service user and a social work academic: balancing expert identities. Social Work Education: The International Journal, 35 (8). pp. 960-969. ISSN 1470-1227

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I am a service user and academic working in a university social work department. My hybrid identity allows me to draw on different types of knowledge in all aspects of my work, including: academic, practice and experiential wisdom. Service user involvement is mandated across social work education but the scope and breadth of different kinds of participation is developed in diverse ways across university contexts. This article affirms the value of service user involvement in health and social care education, exploring its positive impact on students. When lecturers share personal experience of using services alongside practice and academic wisdom in the course of teaching, sometimes the value of experiential knowledge is doubted and its influence dismissed. I examine the importance of experiential wisdom in social work education, specifically when it is embedded in an academic role in a university social work department, and consider how it can be respected and valued. The parallel experiences of involving peer support workers in mental health services, who use their knowledge of recovery to mentor other service users, are then briefly examined, together with reflection of the concerns across mental health with professionals sharing their experiential wisdom with the people that they support.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: social work education, service user involvement, expertise-by-experience, mental health service user, experiential knowledge
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Joanna Fox
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2016 09:39
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2022 11:04

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