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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Ruth Forbes

Ruth Forbes
Ruth Forbes
Programme Director BSc Social Work
2.29 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0)131 651 1485

Practice Background

I have social work experience in children and families practice teams; in specialist fostering and adoption work and as a senior social worker in a community based psychiatric team. I have undertaken post-qualifying training in child protection work and I also undertook the required training to be an accredited Mental Health Officer.

I am trained as a psychodynamic counsellor and am a registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. I have extensive freelance experience as a trainer, counsellor and social work tutor.

I am an associate of the Higher Education Academy and am an accredited teacher in Higher Education. My MSc is in Professional and Higher Education.

Specific interests

As part of my child protection training, I undertook a small piece of research examining Mental Health Officers' response to the children of adult psychiatric service users.

I was involved with colleagues in the Learning for Effective and Ethical Practice (LEEP)project exploring the role of the university tutor in supporting students' learning for practice.

My teaching interests are in mental health and  social work skills, theories and methods.   I am particularly interested in the areas of loss/grieving, the psychodynamic approach to social work and in the unfolding understanding about empathy and emotional intelligence.

I am currently the School Quality Director.



  • Forbes, R., Irwin, M. (2010), 'Blending differing teaching methods to support student learning:traditional lectures, respected groupwork and network technology', The Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 9(1): 132-147.
    DOI: 10.1921/146066909X481501
  • Clapton, G., Forbes, R. (2009), 'Barefoot Tutors? Navigating the barriers between student, university and field in social work education', The Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 9(1): 5-19.
    DOI: 10.1921/146066909X481420
  • Clapton, G., Cree, V.E., Allan, M., Edwards, R., Forbes, R., Irwin, M., MacGregor, C., Paterson, P., Brodie, I., Perry, R. (2008), 'Thinking 'Outside the Box': A New Approach to Integration of Learning for Practice', Social Work Education: The International Journal, 27 (3): 334-40.
    DOI: 10.1080/02615470701379826
  • Clapton, G, Cree, V.E, Allan, M., Edwards, R., Forbes, R., Irwin, M., Paterson, W., Perry, R. (2006), 'Grasping the Nettle: Integrating Learning and Practice revisited and re-imagined', Social Work Education, 25 (6): 645-56.
    DOI: 10.1080/02615470600833634