Journal of Social Work Practice: Psychotherapeutic Approaches in Health, Welfare and the Community Call for Papers

Special Issue: Emotion and Discourse

Journal of Social Work Practice

Social work and related areas of professional activity are conducted through interaction, through purposeful conversations in dyads and groups.  For several decades it has been possible to record these conversations for the purpose of studying interaction, and currently the use of audio and video recording is growing. 

Nonetheless, little of this staple social work activity is recorded for detailed analysis of the interaction itself.  Research more often reports findings based on memory, perception and interpretation of events.  The papers in this special issue will analyse interaction as it spontaneously unfolds in different contexts.

Many social work situations are by their nature emotional, both for service users/clients and for professionals.  Matters such as mental distress, abuse and neglect, substance misuse, debt, bereavement, and the granting or withholding of resources will arouse emotion. 

Social workers are expected to be aware of and responsive to client emotions, both to build rapport and because emotional expression may reveal the intensity of service users’ concerns. 

They are also expected to be emotionally resilient and aware of their own emotions, which they manage through processes of supervision and reflection.  Some research voices concern that social workers are not sufficiently emotionally responsive to clients and may lack self-awareness.

This special issue focuses on the observable and analysable aspects of ‘emotion talk’. 

  • When and how does emotion become relevant in social work and related encounters? 
  • How do clients and professionals do emotion in different contexts? 
  • How do professionals observably respond to displays of emotion by clients? 

Papers may address expressed emotion and/or conversations that refer to emotional states.

Submission Instructions

This issue invites papers that analyse discourse and turn-by-turn interactions that have been captured in audio and video recordings. 

The aim is to shed light on what occurs in the vicinity of emotion in the purposeful conversations that form a major part of social work practice.

The maximum length for articles is 6,500 words, and shorter pieces are also welcome.  Please consult the Journal’s Instructions for Authors for more detailed guidance.

If you would like to talk through your ideas for an article, we would be happy to communicate with you by e-mail, Skype or phone. 

Please send abstracts of 250-500 words for proposed papers (by 28 February 2018) to: and

Full drafts due: Mid-July 2018

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Juliet Koprowska
  • Guest Editor: Carolus van Nijnatten