N O T E S AND N E W S R E P O R T O F T H E P S Y C H I A T R I C S O...
N O T E S AND N E W S
R E P O R T O F T H E P S Y C H I A T R I C S O C I A L W O R K S E M I N A R
A one-day Psychiatric Social Work Seminar existing law with regard to mentally ill and its
was organised on 27th December 1958 at the implications in practice.
Institute of Social Service, Nirmala Niketan.
T h e Seminar attempted to define a psy-
chiatric social worker. After much discussion
Eleven psychiatric social workers trained in the following definition was evolved. "A
four schools of social work in India ( T a t a psychiatric social worker is a social worker
Institute of Social Sciences, Baroda School of
Social Work, Delhi School of Social Work who works in a psychiatric setting (clinic or
and Nirmala Niketan Institute of Social hospital) and whose functions include
Service) and two schools of social work in (1) intake interviews; (2) work with patients
the U.S.A. (New York and Smith) parti-
in their families prior to discharge and later
cipated. Three psychiatric social workers follow-up; and (3) casework treatment of
working in Ahmedabad who could not attend adult and children."
the Seminar in person sent their recommenda-
It was felt that the psychiatric social worker
tions and suggestions.
herself had to work towards achieving this
goal and this she can do by respecting others,
There were two sessions with a lunch-break accepting them as people, by being sure of
in between. Discussions mainly developed herself and her role, opposing only when
round the present functioning of the psychia-
professional point or principle is involved and
tric social worker in India and its implications by using every opportunity to interpret the
for the training of personnel.
role of psychiatric social worker no matter
how long the period of time it involved.
It was felt that the proper role of a
psychiatric social worker was not understood
It was unanimously felt that such a meeting
by various disciplines in the setting, and so gave workers an opportunity to think aloud
the psychiatric social workers had difficulty in and share their experiences, thus clarifying
functioning for what they were trained. In their own thinking about the day-to-day
some settings at the most a psychiatric social practical difficulties. T h e group also felt that
worker is accepted as a colleague but not as if such meetings were held from time to time
a member of the team.
there would gradually evolve a useful body of
knowledge about practice in this field.
As far as their training was concerned,
Those present did not think that the time
majority of the participants felt that there was was ripe enough to organise themselves into
a gap between the theory taught and the a separate group. It was decided to meet
practice of psychiatric social work and again at the time of the annual meeting of
suggested a closer integration of the two.
the Indian Psychiatric Society early in 1959 in
T h e Seminar incidentally also touched on Bombay, and in the meantime the seminarians
the subjects: (1) T h e relation of specialised would give a thought and consult their
training (of psychiatric social work) to generic
colleagues in the profession, with regard to
social work; and (2) the drawbacks in the the forming of such an association.