Demartis, Maria Rosalba (2012) Teoria e pratica dell’aiuto professionale: un’analisi empirica sulla relazione tra domande, risposte e stili relazionali nel servizio sociale. Doctoral Thesis.
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The thesis analyses the idea of “help” typical of professional social work and also goes into its anthropological, psychological and sociological aspects.
The research, both bibliographical and empirical, has focused on three aspects:
1) Meaning, emotional - behavioural roots of spontaneous help in ordinary life and possible reciprocal relations with the social worker’s professional help;
2) Client’s help claim analysis, with focus on who, when, how, why and what for someone asks for help to a stranger;
3) Expectations and help relationship quality. This third aspect aims at knowing the clients’ expectations in their help claim and the social workers’ expectation in giving help. It also aims at understanding if the clients’ expectations are somehow affected by their wish of empathy, welcome and love.
The empirical research, conducted with a qualitative-type method, was carried out with the shadowing method applied to four social workers belonging to different local social work offices and social/health care offices.
The collected documentation, classified in ethnographical notes, was analysed with symbolic interactionism and Goffman’s sociology concepts. A new emergent category “agape action” was also used in the analysis and interpretation of the material.
Ritual interaction, bureaucracy, listening, personalization, vulnerability and care are among the relevant topics brought out as significant by the client’s help claims and their respective answers.
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