Why commit to and engage in relational social work?

Social work is the art of building links; the relational perspective is the essence of our profession and discipline, as it is in the strength of links that the meaning and need for critical social work that is committed to social transformation is shown; social work is committed to building knowledge and more humane and humanising environments.

This congress stems from the enthusiasm and commitment to building a space for reflection and sharing from various professional perspectives and spaces (university, social services, third sector…) visions, stories and experiences that enhance the strength of relational ties as key to social work.  We are convinced that social work will emerge reinforced from the synergy of all these experiences, conceptualisations and approaches both from their epistemological and practical perspective.

Enhancing the strength of relationships in practice and in the very conceptualisation of social work is one of its hallmarks, as social work acquires its meaning in its role of supporting personal and social bonding processes and in its commitment to developing and building more humane relationships and environments.

Regaining the strength of relational social work means returning to its roots to a certain extent and overcoming the bonds and depersonalisation of bureaucracy and procedures; it means recognising ourselves as specialists in accompanying psychosocial support and empowerment processes.

From a Social Work perspective, this relational approach acquires a complex and multidimensional dimension that transversely affects and involves several spaces such as the individual/familiar, community and organisational levels.

Speaking about relational social work also means to be guided by more positive and dynamic concepts and perspectives in our professional practice; it also involves focusing not only on dysfunctional or pathological aspects, but also building and creating bonds in which individuals feel supported and architects of their own life project and not merely passive recipients of resources or planned interventions in an impersonal and procedural way.

Thus, enhancing relational social work as Silvia Navarro proposes in her text De como Robinson Crusoe (re)descubrió a Viernes, (2011)

“leads us to talk about: otherness, social actors and individuals, social networks, social support, mutual aid, social capital, life opportunities, links and community involvement, human development, competences, enhancement or empowerment, resilience, change, conflict, diversity, accounts, social creativity, reflexivity, synergies, mainstreaming, etc. It encourages us not only to build new and exciting stories about social issues but also, and above all, to test and review our practices to reinforce their transforming function”.