Matthew Gibson

Department of Social Work and Social Care

Contact details

Department of Social Work and Social Care
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Matthew Gibson is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher in the School of Social Policy. His research interests relate to emotions and professional practice, and particularly the emotions of pride and shame. He undertook a study on pride and shame in child and family social work and is currently working on the Wellcome Trust funded shame and medicine project; although he has also undertaken a number of other research and evaluation projects. Matthew is a qualified Social Worker with professional practice experience in statutory child protection social work, having worked in the UK and abroad. He is the director for the MSc in Advanced Child Protection Studies and supervises research projects related to child protection practice, emotions, and professional practice.


  • PhD: The role of self-conscious emotions in child protection practice (2016)
  • PG Dip in Specialist Social Work with Children, Young People, their Families and Carers, University of Birmingham (2009)
  • MA in Social Work, University of Birmingham (2005)


Matthew is the Director of the MSc in Advanced Child Protection Studies, which is an online, distance learning programme  

The modules he teaches are:

  • Law, Policy, and Interagency Working
  •  Risk, Analysis, and Decision Making
  • Help, Support, and Direct Work
  • Organisations, Systems, and Leadership
  • Dissertation

Postgraduate supervision

Matthew is interested in supervising students with interests in:

  • Emotions
  • Pride and Shame and other Self-Conscious Emotions
  • Professional Practice
  • Child Protection Work


2020-2025    Shame and Medicine Project.

2018-2019    Office for Standards in Education: An Evaluation of the New Inspection of Local Authority Children’s Services (ILACS).

2017               West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership: Leadership and Practice Development: A Review of the Literature.

2016-2018    Bexley Council: Pioneers Fostering Project.

2015-2017    Achieving for Children’s England Innovation Fund Project: Better by Design.

2012-2016    Pride and Shame in Child and Family Social Work

2015-2016    Munro, Turnell, and Murphy and Partnering Local Authorities’ England Innovation Fund Project: Transforming Children’s Services with Signs of Safety Practice at the Centre. Open Source IT Project Development.

2015               A Review of Birmingham Safeguarding Children’s Board’s Serious Case Reviews and Learning Lessons Reviews 2009-2014.

2014-2015    An Evaluation of Gloucestershire County Council’s Assessed and Supported Year in Employment.

2014-2015    An Evaluation of Herefordshire Children’s Wellbeing Directorate’s Risk and Resilience Assessment Tool.

2014               Independent review of a new IT system for Birmingham City Council.

Other activities


Gibson, M. (2016). “Understanding the Emotional Impact of Safeguarding on Professional Practice.” In Building Honest & Effective Relationships with the Communities and People we Serve, Bristol, 11, July 2016. Bristol: Bristol Safeguarding Children’s Board.

Gibson, M. (2016). “Are we educating for the wrong profession? Findings from a field study on how shame and pride are being used to refashion social workers into a new type of professional.” In NOPT Conference 2013, Wolverhampton, 6, July 2016. Wolverhampton: University of Wolverhampton.

Gibson, M. (2016). “Who is knocking at the door? Compliance and authenticity in social work practice.” In Knocking at the Door, Stafford, 17, March 2016. Stafford: Staffordshire County Council.

Gibson, M. (2015). “Which voice of the child? Masks, identities, and the need to belong.” In West Midlands Principal Child and Family Social Workers Conference: Hearing the Voice of the Child, Birmingham, 6, March 2015. Birmingham: IEWM: pp. 1 (Conference Publications; 1).

Gibson, M. (2013). “Shame and Guilt in Child Protection Social Work: New Interpretations and Opportunities for Practice.” In 13th International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect.

Gibson, M. (2013). “Using Narrative Practice to develop struggling students.” In NOPT Conference 2013. Oxford: Ruskin College.

Gibson, M. (2012). “The ‘Sexual Abuse Case’ Survival Guide: Tools for working with families where there has been sexual abuse.” In Practitioner Conference: Tools to Take Home, Birmingham, 10, December 2012. Birmingham: University of Birmingham. pp. 1 (Conference Publications; 2).

Gibson, M. (2012). “Safety planning in high risk child protection cases.” In Practitioner Conference: Contemporary Risk Assessment and the Signs of Safety Approach, Birmingham, 8 May 2012. Birmingham: University of Birmingham. pp. 1 (Conference Publications; 1).

Gibson, M. (2012). “Meaningful partnership: Re-imagining how social work can facilitate sustained change to provide safety in families where there are risks of sexual abuse.” In British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (BASPCAN) 8th Congress: Keeping Children Safe in an Uncertain World: Learning from Evidence and Practice, Belfast, 15-18 April 2012. York: BASPCAN. pp. 125 (Conference Publications; 8).


Gibson, M. (2019) Parental experiences of shame and humiliation in the child protection process: Findings from an English case study. Families, Relationships, and Society.

White, S., Gibson, M., Wastell, D. and Walsh, T. (2019) Reassessing Attachment Theory in Child Welfare. Bristol: Policy Press.

Gibson, M. (2019) Pride and Shame in Child and Family Social Work. Bristol: Policy Press.

Gibson, M. (2019) The role of pride, shame, guilt, and humiliation in social service organizations: A conceptual framework from a qualitative case study. Journal of Social Service Research, 45: 112-128

Gibson, M. (2018) A pragmatic investigation into the emotions of pride, shame, guilt, humiliation, and embarrassment: Lived experience and the challenge to established theory. Social Sciences Information, 57(4): 616–643.

Lyons, B., Gibson, M. and Dolezal, L. (2018) Stories of shame. The Lancet, 391(10130): 1568–1569.

Overton, L., Fox O'Mahony, L. & Gibson, M. (2018) “The emotional dimension of trading on home in later life: Experiences of shame, guilt and pride”, in Bahun, S. & Petrić, B. (Eds.) Thinking Home: Interdisciplinary Dialogues. London: Bloomsbury

Gibson, M. (2017) Social worker or social administrator? Findings from a qualitative case study of a child protection social work team. Child & Family Social Work, 22(3):1187–1196. [Available from DOI: 10.1111/cfs.12335]

Gibson, M. (2016) The role of self-conscious emotions in child protection social work practice: a case study of a local authority safeguarding service. PhD Thesis. Birmingham: University of Birmingham

Gibson, M. (2016) Constructing pride, shame, and humiliation as a mechanism of control: a case study of an English local authority child protection service. Children and Youth Services Review, 70:120-128. [Available from: DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.09.016]

Gibson, M. (2016) Social Worker Shame: A Scoping Review. British Journal of Social Work, 46: 549-565

Smithson, R. and Gibson, M. (2017) Less than human: a qualitative study into the experience of parents involved in the child protection system. Child & Family Social Work,22(2):565-574. [Available from: DOI: 10.1111/cfs.12270].

Gibson, M. (2015) Shame and Guilt in Child Protection Social Work: New Interpretations and Opportunities for Practice. Child & Family Social Work, 20: 333-343

Gibson, M. (2014) Social Worker Shame in Child and Family Social Work: Inadequacy, Failure, and the Struggle to Practise Humanely. Journal of Social Work Practice, 28(4): 417-431

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