Professional Learning in Family Support Social Work in Sweden
Practitioners’ Integration of EBP and Reflection
Keywords:Evidence-based practice (EBP), professional learning, human service organizations, parental support
The integration of evidence-based practice (EBP) in human service organizations has increased during the last decade. Providing the best possible treatment by applying research and considering the client’s specific needs, EBP is recommended for human service organizations. However, due to its oftentimes manual-based format, critics claim that EBP is a result of increased focus on cost-efficiency, control, and standardization of work. Different conceptualizations of EBP appear to prevail, highlighting the need for more studies that investigate different perspectives and experiences (e.g., that of professionals). In this study, focus group interviews were conducted with family support social workers (n = 19) in Sweden who are trained and active in the evidence-based model Family Check-Up (FCU). Participants reported that FCU promotes professional learning and development, especially experiential learning. Those interviewed felt that research/evidence provided a certain “weight” to the therapeutic situation, so that they were not merely treating patients based on their own opinions. Further, FCU was described as empowering and developmental, with an encouraging, reflective, and reinforcing client-related approach. However, to enable these kinds of positive outcomes of EBP, organizations must provide sufficient time and resources devoted to the practical application of EBP.
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