OBJECTIVES: The aim of the text is to answer the question: What negatives can participation bring in the context of social work? THEORETICAL BASE: The theoretical background includes critical social work, a democratic model of participation, recognition of expertise based on lived experience with drug use, homelessness and/or sex work and the concept of marginalization. METHODS: The qualitative research approach is based on deductive qualitative analysis, on multiple case studies of 21 semi-structured interviews with helpers and people with experience. OUTCOMES: The article presents 6 main areas of negative impacts or consequences of participation, which arose from the statements of respondents: mental demands, reaching one’s own limits, lack of a formal framework, non-acceptance of professionals, difficult accessibility, and burnout. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: The described negatives can serve to realize the context and possible impacts of participation for helpers, people with experience, and for service managers who want to work in a participatory way in order to prevent these negatives.
participation, negatives, helping workers, marginalization, people with experience, drug users, homeless people, sex workers, lived experience, barriers
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