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Social Work Skills :

Social Work Skills First Meetings Reflection of Feelings Paraphrasing Questioning Clarification Partializing Summarizing Silence Prompts Sharing Information Confrontation Attending Behaviors

Preparing for Client Meetings:

Preparing for Client Meetings Agency Decor Interviewing spaces should be welcoming Interviewing spaces should reflect the cultures of the clients served Organizing the physical environment First Impressions are Lasting

Interview Settings:

Interview Settings

Preparing :

Preparing Preparing Skills -Preparatory Reviewing -Preparatory Exploring -Preparatory Consulting -Preparatory Arranging -Preparatory Empathy -Preparatory Self-Exploration -Centering

Physical Proximity:

Physical Proximity In what ways does physical proximity impact the client/SW communication ?


Prompts Encourages the client to say more Verbal and nonverbal tactics Not asking directly for more specific content Gesturing/Minimal utterances often picking up on the client’s last remarks Signals the SW’s close following of the story and interest in details NONVERBAL PROMPTS Leaning forward Maintaining eye contact Nodding of the head Hand Gestures VERBAL PROMPTS “And then……?” “Anything more….?” “Mm hmm.” “Uh huh”

Skills in the Work Phase:

Skills in the Work Phase Contracting begins with : Clarifying Purpose Clarifying Role Reaching for Client Feedback

First Meetings:

First Meetings Identify yourself Invite client to introduce themselves Discuss time frame Explain the Limits of Confidentiality Discuss purpose/roles Opening Lines

Contracting/Developing a Working Agreement:

Contracting/Developing a Working Agreement Notice that the conversation appears relatively informal Does t he SW clarify the issues for work?

Reflection of Feelings :

Reflection of Feelings An exploration of client’s affective (feeling) responses Capturing the emotion expressed and reflecting it back Restating and exploring client emotion Reflecting both verbal and non verbal messages

Conveying Empathy:

Conveying Empathy Putting Oneself in the Client’s Shoes Understanding what the client is experiencing Experiencing what the client is feeling Conveying Empathy Postures Gestures Sounds/Words Behaviors


Exploration Engaging client in a mutual exploration of the person-situation situation Encouraging the client to share information, thoughts, and feelings about themselves Results in greater self-exploration on the part of the client Exploring the past, present, & past status of the issue Skills for Exploration Asking questions Seeking clarification Reflecting content Reflecting Feelings & Meanings Partializing Going beyond what is said

Exploration in Action:

Exploration in Action Observe the manner in which the SW gets Lily to offer more detail about her situation. Notice how the SW uses the skill of clarification “What makes them perfect?” “Particular Imperfections?”

Paraphrasing/Reflecting Content:

Paraphrasing/Reflecting Content Rephrasing/restating client’s message Communicating an understanding of the client’s message Allows client to hear the essence of his/her statement Avoid repeated use of the same lead-in phrases Example: “You’re saying that…..”


Questioning Closed-Ended questions usually answered in a few short words Open-Ended questions invite exploration from client’s perspective Avoid “WHY” questions and Double Questions

Clarification :

Clarification Used when SW is unclear about what client is saying Encourages client to be clear about what they are truly feeling and expressing Clarifying a value or incomplete client experiences, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors

Partializing :

Partializing A problem management skill Breaking down complex problems into smaller more manageable proportions in order to address one part at a time Conveys to the client that problems are manageable Accomplishing small step builds client confidence Focuses on the work, not on pathology that exists in the client

Summarizing :

Summarizing Identifying ideas, themes, and patterns that have been addressed or learned and reflecting these back to the client A form of reflection in which the SW sums up what has been discussed and reflects these back to the client in a condensed form

NonVerbal Communication:

NonVerbal Communication Up to 65% of communication is nonverbal Reading between the lines Putting into words what the client is Communicating but NOT saying Assessing the client emotion that is being communicated INDIRECTLY Observe: Physical appearance Body posturing Gestures & movements Facial expressions

NonVerbal Communication Sends Important Indirect Messages:

NonVerbal Communication Sends Important Indirect Messages Communication without using words Body language, behavior (failing to take next steps, missing appointments) How do you determine the meaning behind the indirect communication?

NonVerbal Communication:

NonVerbal Communication Observe Lily’s hand gestures Notice the change when she talks about a favorable experience What is Charles communicating with his crossed arms? Your thoughts about the SW’s analysis?

Use of Silences:

Use of Silences The art of knowing when to be quiet/ when to break the silence The timing of being silent as an intentional response Identifying the meaning behind the silence

Attending Behaviors: Physical & Psychological:

Attending Behaviors: Physical & Psychological What do you notice about the SW’s physical posturing? What is the client communicating with his physical behaviors?

Sharing Information:

Sharing Information Relevant to client’s immediate needs Not intended to “lead” clients Client should be free to accept/reject the information Related to the working contract When sharing worker’s opinions, identify these as your own opinions, feelings, beliefs, values, rather than fact

Information Sharing and Rehearsing Action Steps:

Information Sharing and Rehearsing Action Steps Providing advice/ recommendations Empowering clients to act on their own behalf Rehearsing the steps

Disclosing Personal Information to Clients:

Disclosing Personal Information to Clients Should the SW disclose personal information? Should the SW share personal feelings and thoughts with clients? Is revealing oneself “unprofessional”?

Self Disclosure:

Self Disclosure When used properly, can strengthen worker/client relationship Boundaries for sharing worker’s feelings Spontaneous and unchecked expression of worker’s feeling should be avoided Some worker feelings should never be expressed

Encouraging Specific Behaviors:

Encouraging Specific Behaviors Influencing the client to do things differently Balancing client self-determination against paternalism

Confrontation/Reflecting Discrepancies or Inconsistencies:

Confrontation/Reflecting Discrepancies or Inconsistencies Effective within a trusting relationship Addresses the illusion of work Typical for client to be unaware of discrepancies until brought to their attention

Challenging client’s patterns of inconsistent thinking and behaving:

Challenging client’s patterns of inconsistent thinking and behaving What was the benefit of confronting Lily about her intentions vs. actual behavior? Observe how the SW manages Charles’ defensiveness and challenges

Indirect References/Moving from the General to the Specific:

Indirect References/Moving from the General to the Specific Issues raised indirectly may need to be directly discussed Reaching for specifics behind general client statements Making the connection that the client alludes to-- but is unable to express directly

Affirming Client Strengths:

Affirming Client Strengths


Resistance Communicated verbally & nonverbally Reading & exploring the resistance Resistance to being helped Resistance to changing old habits/holding on to what is comfortable & known Can be a sign that the work is going well Resistance to ending the relationship

Termination and Endings:

Termination and Endings Can be both Client initiated and/or Worker initiated Reasons for Terminating: Work completed Worker leaving agency Client moving Death of client/worker Lack of progress Financial reasons

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