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Systemic Lens to
Social Work Practice

The Practice Research Collaborative focused on “The systemic lens to social work practices/multi professional Practice Research network of systemic social work practices'” is led by three researchers with extensive history in the field. Dr. Laura Yliruka has been active in practice research since 2008, and currently works at the National Institute of Health and Welfare in Finland, coordinating systemic practices in child welfare, as well as working at The University of Helsinki as a Practice Research lecturer.


Dr. Kaarina Mönkkönen currently works as a senior lecturer of social work at The University of Eastern Finland, where she is interested in looking at practice research from a dialogical point of view. Lastly, Dr Päivi Petrelius, practice researcher and development coordinator,  research interests focus on the development of a systemic professional agency, and collaboration in child welfare within a multi agency context . 

System Lens to Social Work Practice
Aalborg Workshop
Chair: Laura Yliruka


In the first workshop of Systemic Lens we explore different hypotheses: 

Our hypotheses: 

  • WHAT? Systemic practices, including relational practice, and group critical reflection may create resilience for communities and individuals – agency and meaningfulness – as well for the service users. It is the goal of practice research (PR) to show how to carry out systemic practices.

  • HOW? PR should be carried out in a way which creates resilience in the practice and research context. PR should therefore include shared processes of learning, meaning making (knowledge creation) and identity building.

  • WHY? Resilience is an important goal in child welfare services. Workers commonly experience a high emotional load because the context of the work and the lives of children and families are very complex and constantly changing.

  • WHERE? We think that PR builds resilience by working closely with the practitioners and children and families together by strengthening polyphony and multiperspective understanding.

  • ME? We argue that all stakeholders (researchers, practitioners and service users) should try to put themselves into the picture/system.

There will be four papers presented in the seminar and discussions.



09.00–09.30  Welcome! Dr. Laura Yliruka, THL

09.30-10.00  Dr. Erica Russ, Southern Cross University, Australia: A relational-reflective framework for resilience in social work practice  

10.00-10.30  Doctoral project researcher, Natalie Joubert, UEF: Resilience and the shift to cultural competence - early intervention with migrant families in Finland

10.30-11.00  Dr. Liz Reimer, Southern Cross University: Transforming classroom culture to transform self: a co-operative inquiry into overcoming restrictive personal discomfort and interpersonal power dynamics when teaching and learning critical reflection

11.00-11.15  Break

11.15-11.45  Dr. Laura Yliruka & Dr. Kaarina Mönkkönen & Dr. Päivi Petrelius: Towards collaborative, resilience building implementation of systemic practices in Finland

11.45-12.00 Discussion followed by lunch (from 12:00)

About the Collaborative

This collaborative's main interest is to expand knowledge relating to systemic child welfare – what are the core skills of relationship-based and systemic social work? How can systemic social work be studied as an open and closed system? The group will focus on various systemic traditions and evolving systemic practices and theories and how they contribute to social work today. 


Their ambition is to build an inspiring learning and sharing environment to support developments in systemic, empowering, critical social work thinking and practice. This collaborative will be about producing knowledge together, where the themes of the meetings will emerge from the diverse member’s research interests.


Get in touch with this collaborative to discuss current research projects, collaborations and upcoming meeting dates. 

For more information please email Laura Yliruka


under construction 

Reports and Publications 

Under construction

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