Promoting therapeutic and relationship-based approaches in social work

Bristol Balloons

Social Work Stories

Social Work Stories is a space to capture and share the moments from our social work lives which stand out, perhaps because they remind us why the work remains important to us, or because they are telling or poignant moments in our relationships with people, or because they capture learning or change in others or ourselves.

We warmly invite you to contribute your own stories to this page.  Stories can be as short or long as you choose (as a guide 200 – 1000 words works well).  You may remain entirely anonymous, and we of course ask you to change the names of people in your stories so that they are not identifiable.  Stories may be submitted by using the form, or by email to


At our 2017 Conference in Cardiff, recalling a Guardian article in which five contributors explained how a social worker had changed their life, our Sociodramatist Valerie Monti Holland prompted us to share our social work stories with one another. Valerie noted that stories of social work are most often negative, prompted by death or perceived failure – positive stories do not emerge generally, and this should be balanced.

Reflecting on Ruth Allen’s talk earlier in the day Valerie suggested that we “change the talk” “if you change the story, you change the culture” she invited us to “think about your stories and the stories you have created around resilience, relationship based, strength based social work” She then went on to share a story she’d heard from a social worker who’d been asked by a nurse to visit a man in a hospital bed, because staff had been unable to get him to respond to them. The social worker noticed a BR insignia on a satchel on the floor of the room and asked him about his involvement in the railways. He lit up and talked at length about his life and work.