The Conscious Use of Self in Youth Work Practice

Jean Hatton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article foregrounds key themes relevant to youth workers and other professionals drawing on doctoral research undertaken by myself: a lesbian youth work educator (Hatton and Monro 2019). Firstly, youth workers must share something of their self with young people in order to build authentic and reciprocal relationships. Whilst few authors talk explicitly about how youth workers use their self within their work, this use of self is central to building authentic and reciprocal relationships (de St Croix, 2016). Secondly, boundaries between the personal and professional need to shift and evolve rather than be fixed, as might be suggested by the Institute for Youth Work’s (IYW) code of ethics (n.d.). Thirdly, critical reflection on practice is continually required to ensure that sharing is always in the interest of young people and that boundaries are always appropriate.

Whilst the findings discussed were collected from research undertaken with cisgendered lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer (LGBQ) women youth workers, this paper focusses on how the use of self is central for youth and community workers, regardless of their identity and background.
Original languageEnglish
JournalYouth & Policy
Early online date8 Jul 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jul 2022


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