cover art for Therapy in name only

Let's Talk Social Work

Therapy in name only

This episode, made for Pride month 2022, examines the issue of anti-trans discrimination and conversion therapy. Host, Andy McClenaghan, is joined by Chay Brown Director of the trans-rights organisation, TransActual, Rachel Hubbard Senior Lecturer in Social Work at University of the West of England and BASW member, and Jacob Sibley, Director of LGBT Youth in Care. They discuss the discrimination faced by trans people, examine rates of anti-trans hate crime in the UK and consider the Government’s decision to exclude trans people from its planned ban on the use of conversion therapy in England and Wales. 


Various documents are referred to during the episode. They can be accessed via the following links:


TransActual—Trans lives survey 2021: Enduring the UK’s hostile environment


Galop—Transphobic Hate Crime Report 2020   


The Cass Review—Independent review of gender identity services for children and young people: Interim report


Stonewall—Shut out: the experiences of LGBT young people not in education, training or work


Government Equalities Office—National LGBT Survey: Research report


House of Commons Library—Hate Crime Statistics

To read the BASW Position Statement on Social Work with Transgender People please visit

More episodes

View all episodes

  • Age assessment of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

    This episode of Let’s Talk Social Work explores the incredibly important topic of the age assessment of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.Immigration policy is in the news almost daily at present and ensuring that the needs of children seeking asylum in the UK are met underscores the vital importance of the age assessment process. Andy McClenaghan is joined by Jo Schofield, Director of Immigration Social Work Services and BASW’s Public and Political Affairs Lead, Kerri Prince to discuss the role social workers play in age assessments and the implications of the recently passed Illegal Migration Act.
  • With a Little Help from My Friends

    In this episode Andy McClenaghan and guests explore the therapeutic role artistic and musical creativity can play in improving mental health.Andy is joined by experts by experience Ash and Molly and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service Social Worker, Sarah Ombler, who along with her colleague, Shauneen O’Connor, oversaw the incredibly exciting initiative, IMPACT CAMHS. They discuss the benefits which have come from the project, a service-user involvement group which supported a group of young people who use CAMHS services, to write and record music as part of a collective called Counterpart.The conversation examines the importance of meaningful coproduction by empowering service users to shape the projects and services they engage with. They discuss the benefits experienced by the young people in terms of increased confidence, improved social skills, reduced loneliness, and the realisation of creative potential. The episode also explores what social workers can learn from the creative, group-based approach to therapeutic service delivery.You can listen to the EP, Colour Theory, by Counterpart on Spotify and videos for the songs Hope and Break the Silence are available on Youtube:The project evaluation conducted by Queen’s University Belfast mentioned in the episode is available here.
  • Half A World Away

    Recorded just before the summer break, Andy McClenaghan and guests, Priya David and Duc Tran, discuss some of the many issues faced by overseas social workers who have come to the UK to practice. Priya and Duc are Co-Chairs of the BASW Diaspora Special Interest Group and offer insights into the challenges diaspora social workers can face when working in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the steps employers can take to address the problems identified.In June 2023, the BASW Diaspora Special Interest Group published a framework providing guidance on best practice in the recruitment and induction processes for social workers who have qualified outside the UK. The International Recruitment and Induction Standards for International Social Workers coming to the UK can be accessed here.
  • Summer schedule update

    Host, Andy McClenaghan, explains our plans to take a few weeks off, and that the podcast will return on 17 August to explore the experiences of overseas social workers working in the UK.
  • A Ray of Light?

    For the past year and a half, the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care Services has examined the challenges facing the delivery of children’s services across Northern Ireland. On 21 June, Lead Reviewer, Professor Ray Jones published his findings and recommendations for change.Host, Andy McClenaghan is joined by Professor Jones, Josephine Dowell, a student social worker and care experienced young person who has been closely involved in the Review process via the organisation Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC), and Carolyn Ewart, National Director of the British Association of Social Workers Northern Ireland. They discuss the challenges facing users of children and family services and the social workers who provide them. They also examine Professor Jones’s recommendations for reforming how services are organised, governed and delivered across the region.The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care Services report can be accessed here.During the discussion, Carolyn makes reference to the document Voices of Social Work Through the Troubles, it can be accessed here.
  • Let's Talk Social Work Live!

    This very special episode was recorded live in front of an audience on Monday 12 June, ahead of the BASW UK conference at Conference Aston in Birmingham. The theme of the discussion is exploring the role of podcasts as a learning resource. What do social workers gain from engaging in podcasts, what would they like done better, who is yet to be reached and what have the participants learned from making, studying and taking part in podcasts.Joining Andy McClenaghan to discuss all this and more are Patriche Bentick—Senior Practitioner in Camden Council and friend of and regular contributor to Let’s Talk Social Work, Joe Hanley—lecturer with the Open University and Dr Sylvia Smith—host of the wonderful Social Workers Matter podcast.
  • The safety net is broken: how the cost-of-living crisis is laying bare the failings of our social security system

    In this episode we return to the issue of poverty in the UK.  The country remains gripped by the cost-of-living crisis, and while we are all being affected, for some, rising prices represent an inconvenience. But, for those who prior to the crisis were experiencing poverty, and for many millions of households which were already struggling to make ends meet, the impacts have been devastating.  Andy McClenaghan is joined by social worker and founder of Food is Care, Dominic Watters, Dr Ciara Fitzpatrick, Lecturer in Law at Ulster University and anti-poverty campaigner, and Jonny Adamson, Communications and External Relations Officer at the British Association of Social Workers. They explore the impacts of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and the BASW UK campaign, Social Work Stands Against Poverty. You can listen to this, and all other episodes of Let’s Talk Social Work, at Apple Podcasts Spotify and everywhere else you get your podcasts, just search ‘Let’s Talk Social Work’.To book Dominic's ground-breaking Food Insecurity Training email - singledadsw@gmail.comFor information on BASW’s Social Work Stands Against Poverty campaign, click here. To read the Christian’s Against Poverty client report Taking on UK poverty, click here.
  • Social work and the media

    Does media coverage reflect the public’s opinions of social work, or does it shape them? Has the tone of coverage changed over the years, and do pressures on journalists working in media outlets limit the extent to which coverage can address the complexities and nuances of social work related stories? Joining host Andy McClenaghan to answer these questions are Julia Ross, Chair of the British Association of Social Workers, Anoosh Chakelian, Britain Editor of the New Statesman, host of the New Statesman Podcast and co-host of the Westminster Reimagined podcast and Shahid Naqvi, Editor of Professional Social Work Magazine. Andy is later joined by John McGowan, General Secretary of the Social Workers Union to discuss the work the union has undertaken with media regulators regarding coverage of social work related issues.To register to attend the live recording of Let’s Talk Social Work in Birmingham on the evening of Monday 12 June, please visit find out more about Julia’s book, Call the Social, mentioned in the discussion, click here.To read the IMPRESS media reporting guidelines for cases involving social workers, click here and for further information on the work of the Social Workers Union in this area, click here.
  • It's a family affair

    In February, Let’s Talk Social Work examined the Government’s strategy for children’s social care in England, Stable Homes Built on Love, and we’re returning to an important issue discussed in that episode—kinship care.Andy McClenaghan is joined by kinship carer, Natalie Boyes, Sam Turner, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the charity Kinship, and Dr Paul Shuttleworth, Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Education and Social Work at Sussex University. Their conversation explores what kinship care is, the challenges kinship carers face, what social workers need to know about it, and what needs to change to ensure children in kinship care, and their carers receive the support they need.During the conversation Sam references the document Practising in kinship care: The perspectives of specialist social workers. Paul’s podcast, Do Do Social Work, co-hosted with Sarah Flagg, can be accessed on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and everywhere else you get your podcasts. Some of Paul’s research can be accessed below: Shuttleworth, P.D. (2023) 'What matters for child participation - The role of valuation-based dialogical participation for children living in kinship care in England' Child and Youth Service Review (149) Available at :, P.D. (2022) ‘Recognition of Family Life by Children Living in Kinship Care Arrangements in England’, The British Journal of Social Work, p. bcac114. Available at: