My background and experience with empowerment in social work

I have worked with empowerment as an approach in social work since I was young and participated in the civil rights movement in the U.S. South. Since i came to Denmark, I have always worked with empowerment as an approach to social work, first in my work with the rehabilitation of former drug addicts and later on Kofoed's School, a public institution for the unemployed and homeless.

In the 90's, I helped organize and participated in a network of 15 social work professionals, who at that time taught in social work education or were practitioners in social work throughout Denmark. We were primarily interested in developing approaches in Danish social work and introduce empowerment in the social work curriculum.

We worked for three years through making presentations to each other, reading each other's written material, supporting and discussing how empowerment could be used in social work and developed in social work education. Today, almost all of the participants in this network have published books, articles or work today as trainers and consultants regarding empowerment.

I have since written several articles and chapters in books on empowerment. I have also helped to organize several national conferences regarding empowerment in the 1990s. These efforts have resulted in that empowerment is today an accepted approach in social work in Denmark, where several projects, institutions and organizations are using empowerment as a foundation for their social work practice.

I have worked as a consultant, trainer and supervisor for practitioners who are working with an empowerment approach in social work. These have primarily been educators and social workers, but also psychologists, health care professionals, nurses and other social workers e.g. in shelters, projects for children and youth, or in various aspects of the public social services.

I've regularly, as part of my job as an assistant professor in social work education at the University Collge Metropol, taught courses, held study circles, seminars and functioned as a bachelor counselor and graduate advisor with empowerment as a central theme.

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