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Home arrow Sociology arrow Holistic engagement : transformative social work education in the 21st century
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DYNAMIC ATTUNEMENT

We seek a conduit to meeting clients and the systems in which they live accurately, minimizing distractions or misunderstandings, and seeking transparency with regard to preconceived notions. As we traverse the key components of our model, we purport it is the efficacy of dynamic attunement that routes our work to the places we need to go or to the places we end up going, recognizing that sometimes these are not the same. We define dynamic attunement as skillful means of using and synthesizing all sources of data/ways of knowing to inform and shape professional practice. Attunement of this dynamic sort requires action to seek out all the ways of knowing and the creativity to piece it together into a mosaic for ongoing professional growth. Dynamic attunement includes access to one's intuition, changing responses internally and in others, and adaptation to the incredible unpredictability that unscripted moments can bring.

Some notion of attunement has always been a part of social work practice and is particularly emphasized in supportive communication between parents and children (Fogel, 2011). We emphasize in our conceptualization of attunement the imperative of accessing all the ways of knowing through holistic engagement and traditional sources. Once we access all of this data intentionally, we have terrific information, but in order to utilize it to empower our practice we must catalyze its fusion, allowing the full impact of all we can learn from and with another to collide with all we can learn within and from ourselves. Facilitating this requires intention, skill, and practice.

Once we access all of this data from others, the environment, and from ourselves, attunement generates it to become something greater, with all ofthe potential for empowerment and change that we seek as social workers. Attunement is a proactive practice that takes energy for synthesis and integration—to retain the meaning and to safeguard the relationship. Although unique, each source of knowing is crucial to the whole, no less valuable than any other. Echoing the importance of this integration, Larrison and Korr (2011) emphasize how signature pedagogies of social work “involve the integration of practitioner knowledge, performative action, and awareness that emphasizes the development of the professional self” (p. 194).

 
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