Our facilitated screenings of ‘Resilience: The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope’ continued with a special online screening for a group of social workers on 11th October 2021.
The screening was facilitated by Dr Nicola O’ Sullivan, Ag Eisteacht associate and independent social care consultant, and Professor John Devaney, social worker and academic with an interest in child welfare, domestic violence and the impact of adversity in childhood across the life course.
Professor John Devaney contextualised the content of the award-winning documentary with research from Ireland and the UK, as well as sharing theory and research related to current social practice to make it relevant for social workers in Ireland. We followed with the screening itself and then facilitated a small group peer discussion to provide an opportunity for social work practitioners to reflect on and to contextualise what they had seen and to speak about the impact of the documentary on them.
Eighteen social work practitioners from Galway, Dublin, Limerick, Tipperary, Clare and Cork attended, with strong representation from Túsla, including frontline social workers and managers. We also had practitioners from private fostering services, hospital social workers and practitioners from the community and voluntary sectors.
Dr Nicola O’Sullivan said: “Social work can be busy, complex and intense so it was wonderful to see that frontline workers and managers felt it worthwhile taking time out to think about this material and its relevance to them in their role, in a safe and supported environment.
“Covid-19 has brought so many additional pressures to social work practice, not the least of which was not being able to meet people in person, particularly at times of crisis, trauma or deprivation. For many families, Covid-19 has worsened their experiences of day-to-day living. I hope that our event gave attendees an opportunity to think about the children and families they meet in the context of ‘what’s happened to them’ and to understand that this is where some of the emotions or challenging behaviours they see may be stemming from.
“The screening of the Resilience documentary film in the way that Ag Eisteacht does it is powerful in that the space to consider this information is safe and supported. We were also very lucky to have Professor Devaney share with us his knowledge and research to provide further depth in terms of adversity here in Ireland and the UK and the meaning of this for practice.
“We considered that trauma can happen in families, in communities and in society; that the very organisations we work in can be trauma inducing. This change of perspective can potentially contribute to a difference in outcomes for children and families and workers themselves, and to the quality of the relationships they build in their work.”
Those in attendance very much valued the opportunity to see the documentary, even those who had seen it before. They especially valued the expertise and input from Professor Devaney and the up-to-date information on trauma in an Irish and UK context.
Our Resilience screenings form part of our advocacy work in raising awareness of the buffering impact of quality relationships in practice. We have shared 23 facilitated screenings to date, reaching 625 frontline practitioners across many disciplines in private, public, community and voluntary settings throughout Ireland.