By Bernard Moss

Professional people workers are experiencing rapid and extensive change in the structures, roles and expectations of their work. Some may regard the calls for continued and even accelerated reform as exciting and challenging. Others find them daunting and bewildering. But, at this as at any other time, the most important task for everyone is to ensure that those who come to us for help and support continue to receive the best possible service. We exist to help make a difference to other people's lives.

Exploring the value base of people work involves travelling in areas that may seem familiar. But values can be eroded by pressure and anxiety. So a fresh light on a familiar scene, perhaps from a different angle, can reinforce our integrity and re-energise our commitment.

This book's overview of theory provides opportunities to reflect on our own journeys as individuals and as professionals, and on the impact that our own values have had. It can help us polish our reflective mirrors in order to see ourselves more clearly. As the exploration moves from theory to practice, it uses the Ten Essential Capabilities drawn from the mental health field as a framework. The approach illuminates what we strive to achieve. Both those who are familiar with the Capabilities, and those who may be new to them, can learn from considering their far-reaching effects into the practice of all people-work professionals and on the issues of discrimination and oppression in our work.

Numerous helpful exercises can be used on an individual basis, or in group discussion and there are recommendations for further reading and websites worth exploring. This book will have served its purpose well if it encourages you to go further and deeper on your own journey towards the goal of best practice.

Values is part of the Theory into Practice series (Series Editor: Neil Thompson). Each book in the Series can be read either as a general overview of particular areas of theory and practice, or as a foundation for further study. The series will be invaluable across the human services, including social work and social care; youth and community work; criminal and community justice work; counselling; advice work; housing; and aspects of health care.

Paperback. 128 pages. 978-1-903855-89-8. Published 2007. £14.95.


Bernard Moss
is Professor of Social Work Education and Spirituality, and the convenor of the Centre for Health and Spirituality, at Staffordshire University.


The Theory Base
Touching base
Who am I?
Values in Practice
Working in partnership
Respecting diversity
Practising ethically
Promoting recovery
Needs and strengths
User-centred care
Making a Difference
Safety and risk
Discrimination and Oppression
Mirror, mirror
Guide to Further Learning


"Ambitious… without doubt, allows readers to take a new and fresh look at some well-known material on values. This book will hopefully foster a desire for further reflection on the role that values play in everyday situations." Professional Social Work.

"Easy to read and concise introductory text. Knowing ourselves is a prerequisite for reflective practice." Community Care.

"A brief, user friendly exploration of the impact that our values bring to our work. The author really does "know his stuff" and is passionate to share it." Addiction Today.

"A refreshing perspective in the light of the many challenges facing social workers… reflective exercises are interspersed with the text, making this a useful teaching resource and learning tool." Rostrum.