Linda Davies, Professor Emeritus

Linda Davies


Linda Davies was a full Professor in the School of Social Work at McGill from 1984 until 2014.  Her teaching and research interests centered on psychosocial approaches to clinical practice with a particular focus on contemporary psychoanalytic theory for social work. Her publications include topics related to use of self in clinical practice, child welfare and risk, and mothering and fathering in social work. At the doctoral level, Linda Davies taught qualitative research methods for many years. She created two innovative courses at the Masters level, one on Mothering which examined its social construction and subjective experience; and the other Use of Self which promoted a relational awareness in navigating emotional tensions of practice. As well as her academic career Dr. Davies trained as a licensed psychotherapist and now has a private practice in Montreal.



Psychotherapist, private practice (OTSTCFQ/OPQ)
School of Social Work, McGill University 2008-2014
Associate Professor
School of Social Work, McGill University 1991-2007
Assistant Professor
School of Social Work, McGill University 1984-1990


Argyle Institute of Human Relations (Montreal) Individual Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Program 2008-2011
Ph.D. (University of North London, England) 1986
M.S.W. (McGill University) 1980
B.S.W. (McGill University) 1979
Diplôme en Assistance Sociale (Dawson College, Montreal) 1974


Areas of Interest

• Use of self in clinical practice
• Mothering, Fathering and Social Work Practice
• Critical approaches to child welfare and child protection
• Qualitative research methods

Recent grants

2007 SOCIAL SCIENCE AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL OF CANADA, J Krane (P.I.) L. Davies, Co-investigator, Engaging mothers and  fathers: Challenges for social service practices with parents  $97,510

2006 SOCIAL SCIENCE AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL OF CANADA.  International Opportunities Grant, L. Davies, Principal Investigator Making Gender Visible in Child Welfare: An International Initiative $75,000

2003 SOCIAL SCIENCE AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL OF CANADA, Linda  Davies, Principal investigator "Constructing Maternal Identities: an  examination of everyday practices in welfare state organizations,"  $131,109.

2000 SOCIAL SCIENCE AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL OF CANADA, Linda  Davies, Principal investigator "Implementing the feminist vision: Case  studies of four organizations" $102,000.

1994- SOCIAL SCIENCE AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL OF CANADA  "Pregnant and parenting teens:  An examination of social services and  policies".  P. Rains, principal investigator L. Davies, co-investigator, M.  McKinnon, $65,620.


L. Froggett, E. Ramvi, L. Davies.  (2014)  "Thinking from experience in psycyhcosocial practice: reclaiming and teaching ‘use of self’"  Journal of Social Work Practice

E. Ramvi & L. Davies (2010) “Gender, mothering and relational work”.  Journal of Social Work Practice Volume 24

L. Davies (2008) “Omnipotence in child protection: Making room for ambivalence” Journal of Social Work Practice Vol .22. No. 2

L. Davies and A. Grenier, (2008) Editorial “Psychotherapeutic approaches to practice in the public sector” Journal of Social Work Practice,  Canadian Special Issue  Vol 22:2

L. Davies, S. Collings (2008) "Emotional knowledge for child welfare practice: Reexamining our roots." Smith College for Studies in Social Work, Vol. 78, No 1, pp. 7-26

L. Davies, J. Krane, S. Collings, S. Wexler. (2007)  “Developing mothering narratives in child protection practice” Journal of Social Work Practice. Vol. 21,1, pp.23-34

L. Davies and J. Krane (2006) “Collaborate with caution: Protecting children, helping mothers”, Critical Social Policy  26, 2, pp.412-425

P. Rains, L. Davies, M. McKinnon, (2004) “Social services construct the teen mother”, Families in Society  85, 1, pp.17-26

L. Davies, S. Collings, J. Krane. (2003) “Making mothers visible: Implications for social work practice and education in child welfare”, Journal for the Association for Research on Mothering, Vol. 5, 2, pp.158-169

L. Davies and J. Krane  (2003) “Critical reflections on practice with battered women: Insights from Maya’s story, Atlantis:  A Women’s Studies Journal, Vol. 28.1 pp.63-71

J. Krane and L. Davies. (2002) “Sisterhood is not enough:  The invisibility of mothering in battered women’s shelters”, Affilia, Vol. 17 (2) pp. 167-190 

L. Davies, M. McKinnon, P. Rains. (2001) "Creating a family: Perspectives from teen mothers" Journal of Progressive Human Services, Vol. 12 (1) pp. 83-100

M. McKinnon, L. Davies, P. Rains (2001) "What about the fathers? Contrasting views of men in the lives of the teen mothers”, Affilia. Spring, pp. 80-99

L. Davies and J. Krane (1996) "Shaking the legacy of mother blaming:  No easy task for child welfare", Journal of Progressive Human Services, Vol 7, (2) pp.3-22.

L. Davies (1989) "Professional autonomy revisited:  The case of social work practice in child abuse", Canadian Social Work Review, (2), summer, pp.186-202.

Books and Chapters in Books

J. Krane, J., Davies, L., Carlton, R., & Mulcahy, M. (2010) “The clock starts now: Rethinking attachment theory in child protection practice”. In B Featherstone, CA Hooper, J Scourfield & J Taylor, (Eds), Gender and Child Welfare in Society. Chichester Wiley Press.

L. Davies and P. Leonard (eds.) (2004) Social Work in a Corporate Era: Practices of Power and Resistance, Aldershot, U.K. Ashgate Publishing.

L. Davies and S. Collings (2004) “Subject-to-subject:  reclaiming the emotional terrain for practice” Chapter 4 in Social Work in a Corporate Era:  Practices of Power and Resistance, Aldershot, U.K., Ashgate  Publishing.

L. Davies, P. Rains, M. McKinnon. (1999)  "On my own:  A new discourse on
dependence and independence from young mothers” in Teen Pregnancy and Parenting  D.  Checkland and J. Wong, Eds. University of Toronto Press, pp. 38-51

L. Davies, (1990) "Limits of Bureaucratic Control: Social Workers in Child Welfare", in L. Davies and E. Shragge (eds.), Bureaucracy and Community.  Montréal: Black Rose, pp. 81-101.

Selected Conference Papers & Presentations

"Emotional effects of relational work- a psycho-social perspective". European Group for Organizational Studies, Montreal, Quebec (2013)

"Vicarious trauma in Relational Professions"  University of Stavanger, Norway, Professional Development Research Group, (2012)

“Attachment based practice in child protection ” Gender & Child Welfare – An Interdisciplinary Conference, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, (2009)

Keynote Speaker  Gender & Child Welfare – An Interdisciplinary Conference, York University, U.K.  “Omnipotence in Child Protection:  Making room for ambivalence” October, (2007)

“Maternal ambivalence in child protection work”  Canadian SPECIAL ISSUE  forum Journal of Social Work Practice, (International) McGill University (2007)

Keynote Speaker, Public Seminar Series,  Bradford University, U.K.  “Protecting Children in Circumstances of violence:  Implications for Women as Mothers” (2007)

“Domestic violence and child protection” Why gender matters in child protection. University of Huddersfield, U.K.  (2005). 

“Mothering under difficult and unusual circumstances:  The case of women’s shelters, Association for Research on Mothering, Mothering & Feminism Conference York University, (2004).
“Mothering & Social Work Education” Mothering & Teaching Conference: Bringing Mothers into the Academy:  York University, (2002)    

“Beyond the state:  Conceptualizing protection in community settings”, Evaluation for practice conference, University of Huddersfield, England, (2000).

"Reconceptualizing teenage mothers:  Social services and their clients", Seventh Conference on Canadian Social Welfare Policy.  University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., (1995).

"Too young to be a mum: Examining cultural stereotypes about teenage mothers",  Conference on Writings, Genders, Cultures.  Faculty of Education, McGill University, May 1994.

"The creation of an alternative social service program for the black family in Montreal".  Social Welfare Policy Conference, Memorial University, St. John's, Nfld., June 1993.