14 September 2020
Manualised interventions, in use across the UK for decades and increasingly in use in Denmark, aim to support change through professional practitioners following detailed prescriptions of what they must do to affect a particular change in the target group. Social pedagogy, a strong professional tradition in Denmark and an emerging profession in the UK, takes an approach that responds to the individual’s experience of the immediate situation, seeks to nurture relational opportunities and to empower people to fully participate in their lives and society. Harbo’s research reveals that this approach can be at odds with manualised interventions for a variety of reasons. A social pedagogically informed programme has been developed in London that uses a clear ethical stance and key theories as its foundation, and upon which structures have been developed, but no manual. This article explores the use of these manualised and non-manualised interventions in Denmark and the UK and the roles of social pedagogues in supporting change through programmatic interventions. Harbo’s doctoral research findings on practice surrounding the highly prescriptive manual Aggression Replacement Training in Denmark ( Harbo, 2019) is explored alongside Kemp’s reflections on the social pedagogically informed Family Learning Intervention Programme in England, examining the tensions and synergies that emerge around each programme when they meet reality and the individual characteristics of day-to-day situations. The perspectives presented emerge from practice research and reflections, and as such are based in an experiential research tradition. Finally, we draw together our learning and openings for further research and policy development.