Open Dialogue in Czech Social Work

Martin Novak, Pavel Nepustil, Jan Fukala

OBJECTIVES: In this article, we deal with the question of situating the innovative method of Open Dialogue in Czech social work. Our main intention is to reflect on how attempts to implement the Open Dialogue in the Czech Republic fit into the context of social work, what obstacles they encounter and what challenges they pose. THEORETICAL BASE: We start from postmodern, poststructuralist and social constructionist positions, which understand knowledge as a never-ending and continuously changing process. METHODS: We used collaborative writing to explore the question, so the creation of the text itself was a research process. OUTCOMES: We have come to the conclusion that neither Czech social work nor the system of social services poses fundamental obstacles to the implementation of the Open Dialogue. However, the question remains whether the framework for social services is not too restrictive for important aspects of the Open Dialogue, such as the primary focus on the social network. For further consideration, we therefore ask the question whether social work should not develop a new paradigm ‒ dialogical social work. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: We identify three challenges for social work associated with the introduction of Open Dialogue: the shift from the individualised view of the client to the perspective of the whole family or social network as the client; accepting the assumption that multiple voices can be invited to every situation and new possibilities for solutions can always be discovered; and the need to let go of the agendas that we, practitioners, bring to collaboration, whether because of donor demands or to alleviate our own insecurities.

open dialogue, dialogical practice, social work, social services, collaborative writing

p. 107-124

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