Dual diagnosis, social work and the perspective of a social work student

Publication Name

Advances in Dual Diagnosis


Purpose: This paper reports a social work student’s experience of a mental health rehabilitation placement. The term “dual diagnosis” in this context includes people who experience both a mental health diagnosis and a substance use disorder. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the student experience as the author learnt about some of the challenges that people with dual diagnoses face during the recovery process. Design/methodology/approach: The author kept a journal during the placement. Critical reflection was used to interrogate the journal entries for key themes and events that contributed to the author’s learning about social work practice and dual diagnosis. Findings: This study found that social workers are in a fortunate position to work in this multi-disciplinary setting and contribute the social work perspective to care for people with dual diagnosis. However, there are still some gaps in achieving optimal care. Practical implications: Suggestions for further practice development include a more integrated approach between services, further training for clinicians and a focus on a community-based setting as opposed to an institutionalised one. Originality/value: According to the author, the student experience is important because students see situations and settings with fresh eyes that can highlight things that experienced practitioners take for granted.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access



Link to publisher version (DOI)