Personal and professional boundaries in Australian social work: A study of the self in practice

Publication Date



Personal and Professional Boundaries in Australian Social Work presents the findings of a national research project that explores how a group of social workers construct these boundaries in their daily practice. These practitioners come from diverse cultural backgrounds; Aboriginal and Torres Strait, Anglo Australian, Anglo Celtic, Jordanian, Chinese, South American and Filipino. They work in a range of rural and urban contexts and in different fields of practice. Through the analysis of their practice experiences, a new theory emerges about the relationship between the personal and the professional self and how the boundary between these 2 identities is constructed. This theory highlights the influence of a range of factors on the construction of personal and professional boundaries including; cultural identity, gender, social class and the context of practice. It also identifies that the boundary between the personal and the professional self is a site of knowledge development in social work. The research has implications for social work education, practice, staff recruitment, retention and supervision.


School of Social Work

Document Type


Access Rights

ERA Access

This document is currently not available here.