Engaging and Working with the Hard-to-Reach Client: The Interactional Model
In this workshop, participants will consider the dynamics and skills of engaging and working with hard-to-reach individuals, families, and groups. The client is described as facing a "first decision" - whether or not to accept the need for help and to accept the worker. Discussion will include: dealing with denial in the beginning phase of work; confronting authority issues with mandatory clients (or semi-voluntary clients); creating conditions of trust and safety which allow clients to lower their defenses; challenging the "illusion of work"; understanding resistance and responding to it constructively; dealing with taboo subjects such as physical and substance abuse, sex, sexual orientation, death and violence.
Attention will be paid to issues involved in working inter-culturally (differences of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, etc.), intra-culturally (working with persons who are like us), working effectively with other professionals avoiding the “who owns the client” problem, and integrating elements of evidenced-based practice without becoming overly prescriptive and losing individual artistry.
The workshop will describe the core skills of practice including "tuning in," contracting, elaborating, empathizing, sharing one's own feelings, providing data, and making a demand for work. A premium will be placed upon honesty in relating to clients, the genuineness of the worker's empathy, the worker's capacity to integrate the personal and professional self, and the importance of confrontation and demand.
The presentation will also address how a social worker can integrate elements of Evidenced-Based Practices into a unique social work practice model.
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