Promoting systemic thinking, and therapeutic and relationship based approaches in social work


Promoting systemic thinking, and therapeutic and relationship-based approaches in Social Work

GAPS National Conference 2024


Thursday 24th October 2024


Leeds and online via Zoom


9.30am - 4.30pm




Ravi Kohli, Juliet Koprowska

Dignity & Epistemic Justice in Social Work

– a day of reflection on the things that matter – great and small

We warmly invite you to join us at our 2024 National Conference where we will welcome two excellent keynote speakers, Ravi Kohli and Juliet Koprowska to respond to our conference theme.

This year’s National Conference will be held in Leeds, and online via Zoom for those who cannot be with us in person. However you choose to join us, there will be opportunities to connect in small facilitated discussion groups to reflect on and talk about what you have heard. There will be a hot vegetarian lunch for those joining us in person.

2024 marks GAPS’ 11th National Conference, our 4th hybrid event.  We work hard to make sure both our in-person and online audiences have a really good day. We receive terrific feedback from these events.

The conference is open to Social Work Practitioners, Students and Educators. GAPS members and non-members are welcome.

Keynote Presentations:

Losing heart in social work – and regaining it

Juliet Koprowska

When we think about relationship-building in social work, everyone knows that people want empathy, warmth, interest and kindness from social workers, and social workers usually want to bring those qualities into the work. Yet when we look at social work up close, the picture is patchy. Social workers carry out attuned, emotionally sensitive practice and also display disconnected practice lacking in respect for people. How and why does this happen? Drawing on both research and theory, this talk will explore the conditions that lead social workers to become alienated from the people we work with, and what it takes to reconnect with ourselves and others.

About me

I am the author of Communication and Interpersonal Skills in Social Work (2024, 6th edition) and following a career in adult mental health social work, taught on social work programmes at the University of York from 1995-2018. I am interested in drawing on and integrating insights from systems theory, psychodynamics and conversation analysis. As a Licensed Systems-centered® (SCT®) practitioner, I lead training groups and co-ordinate an annual SCT training week held in York. I am Chair of GAPS.

SCT® and Systems-Centered® are registered trademarks of the Systems-Centered Training and Research Institute, Inc., a non-profit organization.

Juliet Koprowska

Juliet Koprowska

Social work with young refugees – relational wellbeing in a troubling world

Ravi Kohli

Social work with young refugees is often multi-dimensional. When it goes well, it bridges the past, present and future. It makes the right things matter. It turns hopes into intentions. In my research, young people who are refugees seek out social workers with whom they can rebuild safe and prosperous everyday lives. In this presentation I look at the ways that social workers quietly and steadily contribute to young refugees’ lives in having enough material resources, being connected to others in sustainable ways, and feeling themselves at home in a new country. All these are aspects of ‘relational wellbeing’ in young refugee lives that are part of a research project that speaks to the notions of dignity and epistemic justice. It asks the question: what can we learn from the lives of young refugees when they go well? And how does wellbeing come into being, not just as a feeling inside somebody, but as a co-construction in the spaces between people when they seek to be together?

About me

I am a migrant to the UK. I am a qualified social worker. These two aspects have informed much of what I do today. I am interested in the migratory lives of young people who seek asylum in richer countries or are trafficked into and within those countries.

Many have faced dangers. Many are frightened. Many are talented and ambitious. They face all sorts of challenges, including a fundamental one of coming back to an everyday life after the death of ordinary living.

I try to understand the colours that make up the kaleidoscope of their lives. My work is often about understanding journeys of safety, belonging and success following different types of migration, including forced migration.

So for me it’s an honour to help young people to feel that they are understood. My work also helps their carers and law and policy makers to make sense of what to do for the best now that they are together.

Ravi Kohli

Ravi Kohli

Horizon Leeds

Horizon Leeds – about the venue

From its riverside location, with open views across the rooftops of central Leeds, Horizon Leeds is a unique, independent award-winning conference and meeting space. The venue is part of the NHS Confederation family. This means that Horizon Leeds’s revenue is reinvested to support the NHS Confederation’s work. This includes representing the NHS and its members to continually improve care for patients and the wider public throughout the UK.

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New voices for GAPS workshops

GAPS is excited to announce that we are looking to bring in new voices to deliver workshops and seminars over the coming year