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FULLY BOOKED - IASW National Social Work Conference & AGM - Building Professional Resilience

  • Ashling Hotel, Parkgate Street
  • 8.30 - 4.00, AGM 4.15 - 5.30
  • 05 Jun 2015

Price €20 members/ €40 non-members/ €10 students & unemployed

The theme for this year's conference is Building Professional Resilience.


Please see below for a link to Pamela Trevithick's  ‘Humanising managerialism’ paper in case you would like to read more on the themes Pamela covered. The link is:

and the full title and reference details are:

Trevithick, P. (2014) ‘Humanising managerialism: reclaiming emotional reasoning, intuition, the relationship, and knowledge and skills in social work’, Journal of Social Work Practice, Vol. 28, No. 3: pp. 287–311



The conference puts a focus on the factors that contribute to building resilience in the social work profession, both individually and collectively, and aims to create a space where we can think about how to respond and adapt constructively to stress and adversity.

We are also seeking submissions for poster and oral presentations - see the documents to the right of the page for further details

We’re delighted to announce the keynote speakers

  • Dr. Pamela Trevithick, Visiting Professor in Social Work at Buckinghamshire New University
  • Martin Webber, Anniversary Reader in Social Work and Director of the International Centre for Mental Health Social Research at the University of York
  • Martin Mc Cormack, Head of Operations, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

The morning session will be chaired by Tony Bates, Founding Director of Headstrong – The National Centre for Youth Mental Health. 


8.30       Registration, tea & coffee

9.30       Opening Address Dr James Reilly, TD, Minister for Children & Youth Affairs

9.45       Stress & burnout in social work: Messages from research about what helps  (Martin Webber)

10.30 How can we build resilience in ways that are nurturing and nourishing? (Pamela Trevithick)

11.20    Tea/coffee break. View poster presentations

11.45    Building a resilient social work organisation (Martin McCormack)

12.15    Q&A/ panel discussion

12.45    Lunch

2.00      Parallel Workshops (Details below)

3.30      Feedback & ways forward

4.00      Close conference

4.15 – 5.30       Tea/ Coffee break & IASW AGM


Speaker Biographies

Tony Bates has 30 years experience of working in mental health. In 2006 he founded Headstrong – The National Centre for Youth Mental Health, an organisation committed to changing how Ireland thinks about young people’s mental health. Tony founded Headstrong based on international evidence that shows most serious mental health issues in later life start from problems in adolescence (12 – 25 years) and that if young people get help to deal with issues early they can avoid developing serious mental health problems. Tony believes that with the help of service providers and communities and young people we can change the existing systems that are not working for young people and Ireland can provide accessible and youth friendly mental health supports for young people that will result in better mental health and life outcomes.

Prior to establishing Headstrong, Tony worked as Principal Clinical Psychologist at St James’s Hospital. He worked and trained in the US and Oxford University alongside some of the leading international innovators in mental health. On his return to Ireland in 1996 he established the Trinity College Dublin’s Masters in Cognitive Psychotherapy.

Tony is regular contributor to national print and broadcast debate about mental health, including a fortnightly column in the Irish Times. Tony was an editor A Vision For Change, the new ten year Government policy on mental health service reform and author of the bestseller book “Depression: A Common sense approach”.


Elizabeth Hamilton is Team Leader for the Child Welfare Team in DSW/Kildare West Wicklow Child and Family Agency. Elizabeth is from New Zealand and worked in Statutory Social Work, Health Social Work , Non Government Agency and did part time tutoring in Social Work University of Victoria, Wellington, NZ. Since being in Ireland from April 2002, Elizabeth has worked in social work in Child Protection & Child Welfare. In 2004, Elizabeth trained in supervision under the Regional Supervision Training programme under People Management Regional Plan 2005-2012 in the HSE. Elizabeth has been occasionally involved with Trinity College & UCD social work departments.


Martin Mc Cormack is Head of Operations at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, where he is responsible for the RCPI Examinations; Postgraduate Specialist Training Programmes and Professional Competence Schemes.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in Social Work in Trinity College Dublin, his master’s degree in Healthcare Management from Institute of Public Administration and his Diploma in Corporate Governance from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

Before assuming his current position, Mc Cormack was Chief Information Officer at Beaumont Hospital. Earlier in his career, he held a number of senior management positions, including Principal Medical Social Worker in Beaumont Hospital.

He is passionate about creating communities of excellence and in 2012 he was awarded the Computerworld Honors Laureate Program award for visionary application of information technology to promote positive social, economic and educational change. He has particular expertise in Corporate Governance and Innovation management and is Director of the Wellness Alliance Charity, a Fellow of the Irish Computer Society and a Visiting Research Associate in Trinity College Dublin. 

Presentation: Built to last - ingredients of resilient social work organisations

Martin‘s presentation focuses on resilience at a strategic level. He will explore what is it that makes some organisations able to not only survive, but also to thrive in the face of adversity. He will highlight research findings on the key indicators of resilience in organisations and discuss the implications for social work managers.

Patrice Reilly is a professionally qualified social worker with a Masters Degree in Social Work from UCD. She also has a Graduate Certificate in Crisis Pregnancy Counseling from NUI Maynooth, a Certificate in Community and Life Coaching from the ILI and a degree in Business, Economics and Social Studies from Trinity College.

Patrice is currently employed by the HSE working as a Primary Care Social Worker in West Tallaght for the past five years. She has also been employed on a part time basis as a Social Work Team Leader in Here2Help Crisis Pregnancy Services. Patrice is also a guest lecturer on the Masters in Social Work Programme in UCD where she teaches on the primary care social work and self care modules. She has also been involved in the primary care social work at a national level through holding the positions of Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Secretary on the IASW Social Work in Primary Care Special Interest Group over the past five years.

Patrice has a variety of experience across other sectors prior to working in primary care including crisis pregnancy and family tracing services, mental health, homelessness, disability, working with survivors of sexual violence and within the corporate world.. 


Dr Pamela Trevithick is the Visiting Professor in Social Work at Buckinghamshire New University and a part-time Coordinator of GAPS - a membership organisation set up to promote therapeutic and relationship-based practice, and the importance of psychodynamic and systemic thinking in social work. She is the author of the best-selling third edition text Social Work Skills and Knowledge: A Practice Handbook (2012) – a book with an international reputation having been translated into five languages. Dr Trevithick is a feminist and actively campaigns against inequality and the outsourcing and selling off of public services. Her latest article, ‘Humanising managerialism: reclaiming emotional reasoning, intuition, the relationship, and knowledge and skills in social work’, can be accessed free until June 2015 via or accessed via the GAPS website (

Presentation: How can we build resilience in ways that are nurturing and nourishing?

Pamela will talk about how to build professional and personal resilience in ways that take account of the mounting demands and expectations experienced in social work. Some pressures arise internally - from our histories and how we’ve been shaped by life and the experiences we’ve had. Other pressures arise externally – from the context within which we work and the demands placed upon us. When both internal and external pressures are at play this can become an ‘unbearable’ strain for some people. Yet for other individuals, these pressures can be endured in ways that demonstrate resilience. This presentation will explore what is meant by the term ‘resilience’ and how an understanding of human emotions - and our own self-awareness - can help us to become more resilient. 

Martin Webber is a registered social worker with experience of working with people with learning disabilities and people with a mental health problem. He is Anniversary Reader in Social Work and Director of the International Centre for Mental Health Social Research at the University of York. His research focuses on developing and evaluating social interventions for people with mental health problems. He maintains strong connections with social work practice through his research and his role as academic lead of Making Research Count at York.

Presentation: Stress & burnout in social work: Messages from research about what helps 

Stress and burnout is increasingly prevalent among social workers. However, despite a growing evidence base about the causes and consequences of practitioner stress, employers appear slow to intervene to reverse this trend. This presentation will review the international research on stress and burnout in social work to provide some evidence-based recommendations about actions which can be taken. It will particularly focus on interventions which have been found to be effective in reducing stress to suggest positive steps which practitioners and employers can take to enhance workplace well-being.



How can we build resilience and care for ourselves and others: the part played by energising and de-energising experiences (Pamela Trevithick)

This workshop will offer some helpful and practical tips on how to care for ourselves and others – and how to build resilience in ways that are emotionally nurturing, nourishing and that can stand the test of time. A central focus will be an exploration of what constitutes and energising and de-energising experiences and how both can impact on how we see ourselves, others, and our outlook on life and work. It will also explore, from a more humorous and lighthearted perspective, the extent to which defensive reactions can hinder the opportunity to build greater resilience. This workshop will explore these themes, and practitioners’ experiences, in an atmosphere that is supportive, caring, stimulating and fun.

Sustaining the Social Worker: Putting Self Care First (Patrice Reilly)

The workshop will consider the concept and importance of self care in social work. Participants will have the opportunity to explore their own self care needs through a self care assessment. In considering the dimensions of self care, participants’ awareness of the impact of their everyday practice on their lives will be raised. Participants will leave the workshop with a personal self care plan. 

Practitioner Research Symposium (co-chaired by Sarah Donnelly & Erna O'Connor)

See downloadable document on the right for further

Using Supervision to Enhance Resilience (Elizabeth Hamilton)

The workshop discusses how we use supervision to encourage resilience in social workers so that we keep a balance of our heart and brain in the job. We will also look at messages from research that can help inform our practice in reflective supervision.