Making sense of the initial home visit: the role of intuition in child and family social workers' assessments of risk

Cook, Laura L. (2017) Making sense of the initial home visit: the role of intuition in child and family social workers' assessments of risk. Journal of Social Work Practice, 31 (4: Risk in Social Work). pp. 431-444. ISSN 0265-0533

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    Abstract

    This article conceptualises the role of intuition in professional judgement. It draws on findings from an empirical study of home visiting in child and family social work. The study used a psychosocial analysis of narrative interviews (n=18) to investigate how workers constructed a professional judgement in relation to an initial home visit. In contrast to deliberative or analytic reasoning, intuition is defined as a non-conscious mode of reasoning, allowing the individual to reach a rapid judgement about a situation or person, often with striking accuracy. In this study, CFSWs’ intuitions during their first encounter with the family were an important source of information for their assessment of risk – their emotional responses, ‘niggles’ and ‘gut feelings’ sensitised them to potentially salient information before it was rationally accessible. The study identifies five heuristics used by CFSWs to assess risk during the initial encounter with parents: openness, coherence, emotional congruence, child focus and personal responsibility. It is argued that intuition is an important part of CFSWs’ decision-making toolkit. However, when accepted uncritically, intuitive reasoning can represent a risk for professional judgement through the creation of bias. The article identifies specific biases relevant to judgements made on the basis of an initial

    Item Type: Article
    Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Social Work
    Depositing User: Pure Connector
    Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2017 06:07
    Last Modified: 09 Apr 2019 12:31
    URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/65295
    DOI: 10.1080/02650533.2017.1394826

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