Social work is a complex discipline with ongoing need for reflection, both theoretical and empirical, even more so if we want to focus on the relational dimension of this discipline within the international arena which is the aim of this Journal.
In this issue of Relational Social Work Journal, several authors contribute to this reflection with papers, discussing topics of social work education and practice.
With the first paper, I propose a theoretical reflection on relational dimension through professional observation in social work, given that practitioners who deal with social problems must take account of the complexity of networks observed.
Next, Walker from London discusses a systemic, relationship-based approach to teach social work students. The author states that there should be coherence between the approach from which social workers are taught and the relationship-based approach they use with service users and their colleagues.
Reflecting on field social work, we can appreciate Rodriguez’s contribution from Madrid on the role of social networks in community social work. The paper presents results from a study with social workers engaged in municipalities and shows the importance of social networks in encouraging citizen participation and for community development.
Avancini from Italy contributes by reflecting on relational social work presenting results from a participatory research with caregivers of people with dementia. The paper explores several contents related to the meaning of caring for a person with this disease, difficulties and positive aspects of caregiving and relationships between caregivers and the elderly. The results provide useful considerations and suggestions for social workers.
To conclude, the Journal presents an interesting experience of group work with parents of children in care who met to discuss some possible strategies aimed at overcoming the mistrust felt by service users towards social workers. Malacrida examines this experience and concrete indications about the importance of service users’ involvement emerged.
Thank you to all the authors for their contribution to our Journal. We hope that this issue, like past issues, of the Journal will contribute towards a continuity in the in-depth analysis of the Relational Approach in Social Work.