Sindslidende mennesker i de frivillige kontaktfamilier

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Mikael Karup Haugaard
  • Niels- Ulrik Poulsen
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
The decentralisation and rationalisation of the psychiatry through the last 100 years has resulted in constant changes of the social offers that have been given to the mentally ill. From the 1990’s through present time the changes have produced increased activities and expansions of the municipal social psychiatry. The character of society’s normative obligation, however, has not changed significantly. The society is still obligated to take care of its “weak” people, and regulates habits that constitute a potential social threat or danger. Ideologically the society is dominated by a neo-liberalistic paradigm that has led to increased individualisation and focusing on the individual’s own responsibility of taking care of its own life as an active and productive citizen (workfare). The individual’s belonging and social affiliations have also been subject to constant changes, and thus, on behalf of neo-liberalism, resulted in deprivation and marginalisation. There is a small group of citizens of diverse diagnosis, ages, sex, and ethnicity that do not have the demanded mastering strategies to succeed in society today. Oftentimes these citizens are described as troublesome as well as costly. A focus aimed at the individual level and a medical understanding will only provide limitations in the comprehension of their situation and the complexity of the social intervention. Therefore, there is need for broad, more eclectic and pragmatic approaches to comprehend such phenomena. This can provide an understanding of new and challenging working areas of social work, in research, as well as a broader understanding of the individual’s life-world and everyday life as an interacting citizen. As a citizen and individual you have, beside the political and social rights, a need for social integration in working relations that can generate social capital. In this regard, “new” actors have arrived, or there has been a rediscovering of voluntary work (altruism) where some of the principles of the 1860’s philanthropy have been found useful again. In the social psychiatry, that we are involved with in our daily work, contact families, which are based on volunteers, is a social offer that is used and developed more and more as a part of the health promoting and social work. Our aim is provide a better understanding and consciousness of that phenomenon and the mentally ill’s everyday life and situation in those interactions. Through a phenomenological perspective, focus group interviews, grounded theory, and “the communicative action” we have analyzed what influence having a network/contact family has for the individual. A possible assumption could be idyll and harmony, but what does really happen in these generally human ”common sense” interactions? That is what we will shed light on in this master’s thesis. The design is founded on a research and experience based knowledge and is thus a method within social sciences. A micro perspective (bottom up) in evaluating and including the citizens (users) in the development of the social work. With our choice of method we have created a room for the individual’s life’s statements, and thus, a basis for the individual to be heard, seen, and understood. That provides an opportunity of recognition by one self and others as a competent individual (identity). The thesis provides no universal solutions of doing the right in everyday life’s interactions between contact families and the users. The generated theory about “the difficult relation” leads to a curiosity for the unknown, and thus, a common experience of “your” and “my” life-world. The thesis has a normative mission and an encouragement of creating a frame and dialogue for making the invisible visible in the social work. In that way the thesis sheds light on what social work is from a user perspective.
Publication date2009
Number of pages130
Publishing institutionKandidat Uddannelsen i Socialt Arbejde, Aalborg Universitet
ID: 16455902