'The love that dare not speak its name’: the role of compassion in social work practice

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'The love that dare not speak its name’ : the role of compassion in social work practice. / Tanner, Denise.

In: British Journal of Social Work, Vol. 50, No. 6, 09.2020, p. 1688–1705.

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@article{9ea8d3c54b194dc990323afd19d2e0a4,
title = "'The love that dare not speak its name{\textquoteright}: the role of compassion in social work practice",
abstract = "The concept of compassion has little prominence in social work literature or in social work curricula, in contrast with those of nursing. This is despite compassion being a valued attribute of social workers from the perspectives of service users. This article considers the meaning of compassion, possible reasons for its absence from social work parlance and its potential contribution to social work practice. Whereas empathy is seen as comprising affective and cognitive components, compassion is defined in terms of affective and behavioural elements. More specifically, compassion is perceived as comprising both of {\textquoteleft}feelings for{\textquoteright} the person who is suffering and a desire to act to relieve the suffering. The desire to act is distinct from the act itself. Focusing primarily on the {\textquoteleft}desire to act{\textquoteright} component of compassion, the article suggests that the emotional health and mental well-being of social workers may be enhanced, rather than jeopardised, by acknowledging, facilitating and nourishing compassionate relationships with service users. It proposes that the emotional risks to social workers emanate not from the toll of feeling compassion for those in distress, but rather from a thwarting of their desire to act to alleviate suffering. It is argued that organisations have an important role in facilitating compassionate practice and possible avenues are considered to bring compassion into the fold of social work education, practice and research.",
author = "Denise Tanner",
year = "2020",
month = sep,
doi = "10.1093/bjsw/bcz127",
language = "English",
volume = "50",
pages = "1688–1705",
journal = "British Journal of Social Work",
issn = "0045-3102",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "6",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - 'The love that dare not speak its name’

T2 - the role of compassion in social work practice

AU - Tanner, Denise

PY - 2020/9

Y1 - 2020/9

N2 - The concept of compassion has little prominence in social work literature or in social work curricula, in contrast with those of nursing. This is despite compassion being a valued attribute of social workers from the perspectives of service users. This article considers the meaning of compassion, possible reasons for its absence from social work parlance and its potential contribution to social work practice. Whereas empathy is seen as comprising affective and cognitive components, compassion is defined in terms of affective and behavioural elements. More specifically, compassion is perceived as comprising both of ‘feelings for’ the person who is suffering and a desire to act to relieve the suffering. The desire to act is distinct from the act itself. Focusing primarily on the ‘desire to act’ component of compassion, the article suggests that the emotional health and mental well-being of social workers may be enhanced, rather than jeopardised, by acknowledging, facilitating and nourishing compassionate relationships with service users. It proposes that the emotional risks to social workers emanate not from the toll of feeling compassion for those in distress, but rather from a thwarting of their desire to act to alleviate suffering. It is argued that organisations have an important role in facilitating compassionate practice and possible avenues are considered to bring compassion into the fold of social work education, practice and research.

AB - The concept of compassion has little prominence in social work literature or in social work curricula, in contrast with those of nursing. This is despite compassion being a valued attribute of social workers from the perspectives of service users. This article considers the meaning of compassion, possible reasons for its absence from social work parlance and its potential contribution to social work practice. Whereas empathy is seen as comprising affective and cognitive components, compassion is defined in terms of affective and behavioural elements. More specifically, compassion is perceived as comprising both of ‘feelings for’ the person who is suffering and a desire to act to relieve the suffering. The desire to act is distinct from the act itself. Focusing primarily on the ‘desire to act’ component of compassion, the article suggests that the emotional health and mental well-being of social workers may be enhanced, rather than jeopardised, by acknowledging, facilitating and nourishing compassionate relationships with service users. It proposes that the emotional risks to social workers emanate not from the toll of feeling compassion for those in distress, but rather from a thwarting of their desire to act to alleviate suffering. It is argued that organisations have an important role in facilitating compassionate practice and possible avenues are considered to bring compassion into the fold of social work education, practice and research.

U2 - 10.1093/bjsw/bcz127

DO - 10.1093/bjsw/bcz127

M3 - Article

VL - 50

SP - 1688

EP - 1705

JO - British Journal of Social Work

JF - British Journal of Social Work

SN - 0045-3102

IS - 6

ER -