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Juliet Koprowska

BA (Sheffield), MSW and CQSW (York), DipHE Counselling (Humberside)

  • Honorary Fellow in Social Work

Visit Juliet Koprowska's profile on the York Research Database to see a full list of publications and browse her research related activities.


Areas of expertise

  • Communication and interpersonal skills in social work
  • Analysis of communication in child protection
  • Mental health and social work
  • Systems-centred theory and practice (SCT)

Academic biography

I joined the academic staff at York in 1995, and prior to that was a social worker in the field of adult mental health. My primary interest is in communication in social work: how it is done, how to research it, how to help students learn to do it. I am one of a small number of social work academics researching naturally-occurring communication – ‘institutional talk’ – in child protection social work, using conversation and discourse analysis as a framework.  

I maintain an interest in mental health, in the impact of trauma, and in the role of child protection social work as preventive of adult mental health difficulties. I also have a longstanding interest in feminist concerns with violence against women, and was a founding member of Sheffield Rape Crisis.  

I am author of a popular textbook, Communication and Interpersonal skills in Social Work. My work is informed by a psychodynamically-informed systems theory. My first degree was in English Literature and my interest in language, conversation, relationships and narratives is rooted in both the immediacy of the present moment and in the stories people tell.

Professional activities

  • Co-editor of the journal of Social Work Practice
  • Member of the College of Social Work
  • Registered social worker with the Health and Care Professions Council 
  • Member and Trustee of GAPS (Promoting psychodynamic, systemic and relationship-based approaches in social work)
  • Member of the Systems-Centred® Research and Training Institute Trustee of The IslandN1 (mentoring young people in York)


Research & Publications


  • naturally-occurring professional communication,
  • child protection,
  • conversation analysis.

Analysing communication in child protection social work. This project currently focuses on naturally-occurring communication in Initial Child Protection Case Conferences, using conversation analysis.

Research groupings

Centre for Advanced Studies in Language and Communication (CALSC): An interdisciplinary research centre for language, communication and interaction the University of York  
Discourse and Narrative Approaches to Social Work and Counselling (DANASWAC), an international network of researchers.

Recent publications

Koprowska, J. (2014), Communication and Interpersonal Skills in Social Work. (4th edition)  London: Sage Learning Matters. **

Koprowska, J. (2012) Curriculum Guide for Communication Skills.  The College of Social Work.

Koprowska J (2010) ‘Are Student Social Workers’ Communication Skills Improved by University-based Learning?’, in H Burgess and J Carpenter (eds), The Outcomes of Social Work Education: Developing Evaluation Methods. Southampton, Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Social Policy and Social Work: 73-87.

Koprowska, J (2007) ‘Communication Skills in Social Work’, in K. Postle and M. Lymbery (eds), Social Work: A Companion to Learning.  London: Sage: 123-133.

Hooper, C-A. and Koprowska, J (2004), The vulnerabilities of children whose parents have been abused in childhood, British Journal of Social Work Vol. 34, No. 2: 213-228.

Koprowska, J. (2003), The Right Kind of Telling?  Locating the teaching of interviewing skills within a systems framework, British Journal of Social Work Vol. 33, No. 3: 291-308.

Supervision interests

Communication and institutional talk in social work; social work practice; professional learning and practice.

PhD students

  • Vivian Yu: The Social Life of Older People Living Alone in Hong Kong
  • Takahiro Asano (with Ian Shaw): Professional learning as a way of being a social worker - Post-qualifying learning among Japanese social workers
  • Juliana Munlo (with Carol-Ann Hooper): Intimate Partner Violence and Mental Health: The Narratives of Women in South Africa on their Experiences of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Post-traumatic Growth in the Aftermath of Violence
  • Samantha Baron (with Ian Buchanan): An investigation into social work as a profession



  • BA in Social Work
  • MA in Social Work Practice Education in Social Work

Communication, systems theory, family skills, group work skills, mental health and trauma; supervising, teaching and assessing social work students. I also run a professional development group.

Teaching and Learning Interviewing Skills for Social Work

A cohort of students was followed through their two year professional training, tracking their experience of the interviewing skills (communication skills) course at the university, and of practice teaching and direct observation on placement. They, with students from the subsequent cohort, and their practice teachers, were involved in first piloting and then being trained in a new model for direct observation.

  • Project information and order forms for supporting videos

Contact details

Juliet Koprowska
Honorary Fellow

Juliet Koprowska, 4th edition sage 2014

Koprowska, J. (2014) Communication and interpersonal Skills in Social Work. (4th ed.) London: Sage.



Still from training video

  • Moving Images: Teaching Interviewing Skills in a  University Social Work Department
  • Facts, Feelings and Feedback: A collaborative model for direct observation