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Social workers and body practitioners: an inter-professional exploration

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

This PhD project will examine how social work practitioners who are also body practitioners – dancers, yoga teachers, physiotherapists, massage therapists, choreographers etc - implement and integrate their heightened awareness of the human body into their social work practice. The project will be based on a mixed-method approach and will combine participant observations, semi-structured interviews and an online questionnaire.

Social Work has traditionally emphasised its affinity with the "social model" which promotes understanding the human behaviour in connection with the wider social context. As part of this attempt, social work distanced itself from the medical model. This seem to have cost social work in its tendency to ignore in most cases the human body.

While the academic literature on the connection between social work and the body has developed during the last decade, it is still very limited. Issues related to the body are rarely taught as part of the social work curriculum, and the body is rarely an integral part of social work interventions. Despite these omissions, we can learn about the possible benefit and contribution of focusing greater attention on the human body, through social work practitioners who are also body practitioners. We can assume that these individuals will have a heightened awareness of their bodies and the bodies of their service users and through them we might be able to learn about how such greater awareness contributes to their practice, resiliency and wellbeing.

Funding Notes

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: View Website. Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU students and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.)

How good is research at Brunel University London in Social Work and Social Policy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 16.10

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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