Klientrelationen – en balansgång: En studie om socialsekreterares förhållningssätt och utmaningar i arbetet med klienter med missbruksproblematik
Sammanfattning: The aim of this study was to increase the understanding of how social workers, working with people with substance abuse, describe the client relationship, the strategies they use and the challenges they encounter in building and maintaining this relationship. The study was based on semi-structured interviews with five professional social workers from two different municipalities in southern Sweden, who predominantly work with clients with substance abuse disorders (SUDs). My theoretical approaches in analyzing the material were Alain Topor’s perspective on recovery and meaningful transgressions and Max Weber’s ideal types of social action. The study found that there is room for individual discretion, within the confines of the professional social worker role, that allows for the social worker to take up a more informal or personal position to further foster the client-provider relationship. The study also found that the social workers make use of everyday actions that may go beyond the tasks defined by the professional role, to further improve the relationship with the client. The participants described how the quality of the client-provider relationship seems to correlate with the client’s tendency to confide and share information with the social worker, the client’s disposition towards the social worker and thereby the client’s receptivity to the social worker’s recommendations and suggestions. The participants described that complications may arise when the terms of the client-provider relationship remain undefined, as the client may become too dependent on the social worker or perceive the relationship to be primarily friendly rather than professional. The study also found how the client-provider relationship might cause tensions with other institutions related to substance abuse treatment, as the knowledge about the client which the social worker possesses may not correspond with the information on which the institutions make their decisions. The notion of what constitutes an appropriate approach to the client-provider relationship varied between the social workers and their colleagues, which further contributes to the difficulty in defining the boundaries of the client-provider relationship.
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