Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 116–127 | Cite as

Ways of knowing in clinical practice

  • Ruth G. Dean


Concepts developed by Polanyi regarding personal knowledge and the tacit dimension have particular relevance for social work clinicians. The concept of personal knowledge changes our understanding of the use of theories and points to the imprecision in our use of language. It leads to a relativistic view of knowledge through which the client's story is seen as a constructed narrative rather than a set of facts to be objectively recorded, therapeutic neutrality is considered a myth and difficult ethical questions about value differences and the clinician's influence over clients are brought to the fore.


Clinical Practice Social Work Work Clinician Ethical Question Personal Knowledge 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth G. Dean
    • 1
  1. 1.Simmons college School of Social WorkBoston

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