SAGE Books - Using Counselling Skills in Social Work
It is also about the relationship of conscious and unconscious experience, skills and techniques to draw upon with service users in social work practice is a technical skills for intervention such as those that were offered in Chapters 1 to 9. Establishing a helping relationship between child clients and social workers is essential to Because of their workload and lack of specific skills in direct intervention with children, . Social work participants will be referred to in numbers and child . The physical setting of the counselling session contributes to a client's. Skills are discussed with reference to social work knowledge and a relationship. 1. Chapter 2 Counselling skills for communication and.
Participant 4 explained "I think the problem on the table requires you to give immediate attention to the problem while you have less chance to first build relationship, but we carry on because we need certain information from the child, while there is no relationship present causing you to gain no information and making no progress with the child. Therefore one should understand the background of the child participants.
Participant 2 asserts the importance of knowing the child's field. This is mirrored by Kroll's By starting where the child client is, the social worker respects the social work value of the client's sense of self-determination Seabury et al. Participant 2 remarked on this phenomenon: You want to tell it to them the whole time, but that is the way they grow up. Participants 5 and 6 described the children of this study as being used to threats rather than praise. Child participant A also implied that aggression, eviction and drunkenness are part of her frame of reference.
Child participants D and F described being loved as "she loves me because she gives me food' and not as physical touch, words of affirmation or quality time. This was echoed in another article by Jackman, Kleijn specifically mentioned children being victims of crimes as a result of insufficient parental supervision.
She explained that the experiences of children shape their perspectives and behaviours. The problematic family relationships of a child cause insecure attachment styles that incapacitate the child's ability to develop healthy relationships Kroll, Participant 1 explained that this causes individual intervention to be time consuming, because relationship building with the children is strained as a result of their insecure attachment styles.
Parents as partners in the process Participant 4 noted that "The way in which the parent accepts the social worker also gives the child confidence. If the mother is negative, the children are also negative and scared. Parents can be a vital source of information Turney, Social work participants mentioned that parents or caregivers prescribe to children what to say to the social worker, which was highlighted in child participant C's comment "Then my grandmother says to me: If they ask what your name is or where you live, like that, then I must say I live with my grandmother, because I stay with hef'.
Parents might place the responsibility for change on the social worker. But they come with the expectation that we must do it. Other parents bring their children to the social worker as an authority figure who should scold the child for being naughty. By informing parents, such unrealistic expectations can be addressed Kroll, Barriers to relationship-based practice Time and resources Individual intervention is not required for every child referred to the social worker.
Social workers can address developmental areas through a family perspective. Yet certain cases require the social work participants to intervene intensively with a child on individual level, for instance, removed, abused, molested, addicted, pregnant and foster children, as well as children who refuse to attend school.
It is these cases that are often neglected by social workers because they are time consuming, and continuity and commitment are required from the social worker in order to build and maintain the relationship.
The social work participants often struggle to find time for such interventions, even if it is only a few cases. In this regard participant 3 stated that "I don't have the time to build relationship with a child. If the child [in crisis] comes to my office then I have to do something immediately.
This might prevent the social worker from engaging fully in the helping relationship Ruch, Demands on time can influence the social worker's connection with child clients and jeopardise the relationship Ruch, High caseloads force social workers to manage their time skilfully between the needed administrational duties and direct contact with clients.
All the participants agreed with participant 4 in saying, "We are so pressured for time. Now you have to do something quickly and you don't really have time. And that is the other thing, because it makes me feel guilty, because you don't work as you should. Participants 1 and 4 reflected that commitment and continuity are necessary in building a helping relationship, but difficult to acquire in social work practice. Social work participant 4 said "I have loads of work.
It causes me to lie awake at night.
Using Counselling Skills in Social Work
In addition to these difficulties, social work participants 1 and 6 consider travelling distances in rural communities as hampering regular contact with child clients.
In contrast, Ruch Work milieu and play material The physical setting of the counselling session contributes to a client's feeling of comfort Bedi, Three social work participants agreed that play material is important in establishing a relationship with children, but also admit to not having sufficient play material available during initial contact with a child.
As participant 3 said, "How do you build a relationship with a child if you don't even have a toy in your office" and participant 7 said that "just you behind your table is not good enough. The children in the study outlined play materials and games they would prefer in the social worker's office. A few applicable toys identified by the participants were puppets, clay and colouring utensils. The child participants are not used to the idea of play as a therapeutic tool and thus suggested toys that do not fall within the categories mentioned by Landreth A few children mentioned food as an effective ice breaker.
It is evident from these suggestions that the child clients are not used to play as intervention technique. The participant social workers delineated two impediments to the play setting. Participants 1 and 6 experienced that the children in their work area do not know how to play or engage with structured toys or play material because they had not been exposed to play material.
The other impediment was the fact that social workers travel to external locations to meet children and these external settings are often not child- and or intervention-friendly. A typical example would be the school environment where aspects such as intercom notifications, small working spaces or interventions in tea rooms interrupt sessions and impact on privacy.
Stigmatisation and role confusion It seems as if children are uninformed about the roles of the social worker. Child participants in the study thought correctly that a social worker is someone to talk to, who asks questions, someone to play with, monitor parental responsibilities and remove children. However, child participant A thought social workers are there to teach children mathematics, while participants B and C did not know what social workers do.
This links with the social work participants' notion that preconceptions based on stories about social workers raise anxiety during initial contact. Preconceptions are normally based on two elements: Participant 1 noted that if the child client remains anxious during the social work session, she explores his conception of social workers to arrive at the conclusion that she is there to help the child client.
Child participant B reported that they do not talk about visits to the social worker because "then they [the other people who came to the social worker with their children] tell us that it isn't fun. Participant 1 experienced this to be beneficial in encouraging compliance, whilst participant 2 experienced the power inherent to social work to be detrimental because children can be scared of admonishment by the social worker.
Social work participants assumed that children hear dreadful stories about social workers and those children feel ashamed to be associated with welfare agencies. In contrast, the child participants described social workers as helpful, bragging to their friends about the visit, looking forward to proposed meetings and feeling important if the social worker wants to see them.
However, child participants are aware of the statutory element in social work as clearly demonstrated by participant A saying "She [her friend] doesn't have to be scared. Then I tell her they [the social worker] won't send her away. Social workers feel inept Seabury et al. Social workers sometimes work with sensitive issues and traumatic events that have serious ramifications for children. The social workers in this study expressed fear that they "might do more damage than good" as a result of their lack of knowledge and skills in working directly with children in distress.
The participating social workers mentioned that they felt so out of depth in these difficult circumstances that they would rather refer the client if possibleor only address the practical issues involved rather than the emotional impact the difficult life circumstances have on the child.
Participants 2 and 3 admitted to feeling despondent because of their experience of inadequacy. Previous cases that did not have positive outcomes confirm to participants 2 and 3 the notion that "I don't know what I am doing. Reluctant child clients Engle and Holiman Children rarely refer themselves to the social worker and thus are probably involuntary participants in any form of intervention Hepworth et al.
The social work participants experience the resistance of child clients to manifest as running away, missed appointments, being lethargic or non-talkative within the session, an aggressive attitude and refusal to take part in activities. The first author had a similar experience with child participant E, who did not speak even after an hour of ice-breaking activities. Social work participants describe frustration, despondence, anger, impatience, powerlessness and anxiety about occurrences of resistance.
They speculate that resistance is caused by many factors including influence from parents, pre-session occurrences, mistrust in people, shyness, stigmatisation of the profession, reason for referral and the social worker's personality type. All seven social work participants agreed that they do not know how to handle resistance in child clients. Professional attributes Values in approaching the client The quality of the social work relationship is influenced by aspects such as the attitude, qualities and social work values Seden, Social work participants 1 and 5 commented on how their opinion of the importance of the case and natural appeal to the child client influence their ability to establish a positive relationship with a child.
Simultaneously, social work participants acknowledge that hope and respect are inherent in approaching a child client. Respect is the foundation on which all helping relationships and consequent interventions are built Egan, According to a study done by Russell in Holland, While respect is inherent in approaching the client, hope contributes to initial relationship building with a client Seabury et al.
In order to instil hope in a client, the social worker needs to believe in the value of self-determination and the ability of people to grow and change Reyneke, Social workers also respect the intrinsic dignity and worth of their clients, being attentive to the differences in personalities Hepworth et al. Social work participants listed shyness, the child's age, concentration span and spontaneity as influencing the helping relationship.
In a study done by Bedi Participant 6 made the point that as a child she looked towards positive body language before opening up to an adult. Non-verbal messages should convey warmth towards the client Egan, Social work participants sensed that child clients might prefer a social worker whom they perceive as present, available, accessible and who carries their best interests at heart.
Presence conveys to clients that the social worker is with them and it enables the social worker to listen carefully Egan, Being available to the child client can simply entail making time for the child and not being hasty. Participant 5 mentioned the detrimental effect haste has on relationship building by stating that "sometimes I am in such a hurry that nobody would want to talk to me, I need to be calmer, beaming warmth, friendliness and interest.
The underlying principle in the Children's Act 38 of is the child's best interest. Social work participant 1 touched on this phenomenon by saying that if she was a child client, she would prefer a social worker who was on her side. The above-mentioned values of non-judgement, openness, presence, hope, respect and warmth will create the atmosphere for a calm, safe, relaxed and comfortable setting, as described by social work participants, where individual intervention with a child can take place.
Personality of the social worker Ackerman and Hilsenroth On the other hand, Holland In line with Ackerman and Hilsenroth's findings It is part of my personality He views these as strengths, because they enable the social worker to better understand the difficulties of clients. This links to Seabury et al. Social workers thus enhance the intervention by bringing their own personality to their work Geldard et al.
A child can identify a person who is not authentic, as participant 7 elucidated: Appropriate self-disclosure is used by participant 1 and 6 to demonstrate the social worker's humanness.
Participant 1 illustrated this by saying that "I search for something communal between me and the child, in order for the child to see me as a human being, not only as a social worker. Another skill that increases the "humanness" of the social worker is empathy Glicken, Participants 1 and 2 mentioned the importance of soft, empathic responses in establishing a helping relationship. Empathic listening is important to building a strong helping relationship Bedi, Participant 1 uses humour to put the child at ease and to establish the initial connection, while participant 5 uses positive reinforcement.
There is a fine line between complimenting the child and reinforcing strengths. This means that positive reinforcement should not be founded on approving or disapproving of the client's behaviour, because the client might change behaviour to please the social worker and cover other behaviour to avoid the disapproval of the social worker Geldard et al. Social work participants concurred that questioning a child is not beneficial towards engaging the child in dialogue.
As participant 4 stated that "you cannot just ask children direct questions the whole time, because they clamp up. They don't want to talk.
In this regard participant 4 said: Considerations for initial contact sessions with a child client It is advisable for social workers to establish their own pattern for introductory sessions with children.
A well-established but adjustable pattern for introductory sessions allows the worker to focus on the child rather than the next activity. According to participant 5, this "makes the process easier" and more fluent. Yet one should guard against becoming rigid in a specific pattern, as participant 6 stated "what works with the one, does not work for the next child.
In the next section a few patterns are discussed that emerged from the data regarding initial individual sessions with child clients. Pre-meeting stage Kroll During this stage Geldard et al.
Child participant F contributed to the premeeting stage by requesting that social workers should notify him of an intended visit. This is an important procedure, as Spray and Jowett First impressions Establishing rapport typically begins with greeting the client warmly and asking the client how he prefers to be addressed Hepworth et al. The child participants appreciated that social workers greeted them with a handshake, made eye contact and introduced themselves.
Courtesy helps to establish rapport with the client. These aspects convey to the client the value of dignity and worth Hepworth et al. Two child participants mentioned that the social worker forgot their names and one participant appreciated the effort made by the social worker to write down her name correctly. However, in line with Kroll Joining with the child The participant social workers suggested that the child clients be given a quiet calm time during the first session, when they can orientate themselves towards the setting and the social worker and so adjust to the new situation.
Furthermore, the social worker should not initially engage in talking, but rather enjoy calm moments together while, for instance, working with clay or drawing. This is in line with the suggestion by Geldard et al. This allows the child a time where he can observe the social worker in the safety of his parents' presence. Children witness how their parents engage with the social worker and consequently gain permission to engage with the social worker.
Some children enjoy a routine to help them enter a playroom Carroll, The social worker can then show children the counselling environment and let them know where the parents will be waiting Geldard et al.
The social workers and children agreed that it is best if the social worker moves from behind her table to greet and talk to the child client. The child participants also prefer a social worker next to them rather than sitting behind a table. Most clients come to the social worker with a degree of apprehension, viewing the need for help as a failure on their part and feeling embarrassed about opening up about their personal lives Hepworth et al.
Counselling Skills for Social Workers : Hilda Loughran :
Social work participant 4 stated in this regard: Yet child participant F preferred not to talk about school-related topics. Sensitivity is important, because some clients want to talk about their problems immediately and their anxiety level may grow if the social worker delays with a warm-up period Hepworth et al.
Reason for referral Some social work participants do not address the reason for referral immediately, especially if it is a sensitive case, for example, sexual abuse, while other social work participants prefer to address the reason for referral immediately. Social work participants could not decide which is best and decided that it depends on the context of the case. Social work participant 4 suggested starting with the child client's perception of the reason for the referral, clarifying if necessary.
Child participant D noted that if he was the social worker "he would have explained what he was doing there [when visiting a child client]". Confidentiality The helping relationship with the practitioner should be confidential, because it promotes trust Geldard et al. Social work participants 1 and 6 explain confidentiality as well as how feedback to the parents will commence.
However, according to social work participants 4 and 6, the presence of the significant other can intimidate the child, causing the child to not engage. On the other hand, they said that it can enhance feelings of safety in the child, which then causes the child to engage fully in the session. Sensitivity to the non-verbal cues from the child will direct the social worker; however, Landreth Unfortunately other role players can disclose information on a case. Some child clients may then wrongly assume that it was the social worker who broke confidentiality and this assumption affects the relationship detrimentally.
Social work participants 2 and 6 reported this experience and consequently addressed this with their clients beforehand, compelling them to discuss wrong assumptions in order for misconceptions to be clarified. The chapter explores principles and techniques in relation to challenging, including encouraging self-challenge, identifying blind spots and working with hunches. Chapter 6 turns to action-based counselling skills, which enable the service-user to take responsibility for decision making.
The chapter focuses on how you can help the service-user to state what they need or want, set realistic and achievable goals and to identify strategies for achieving these. The significance of loss in people's lives cannot be overstated. Chapter 7 defines different kinds of losses that service-users may experience, such as those associated with bereavement or entering residential care.
The chapter identifies counselling skills which are useful both for helping people who are facing loss and when working with service-users who are nearing the end of their lives. Working in difficult situations is often a major challenge for practitioners. Chapter 8 identifies different conflict situations and describes techniques for acknowledging and working with anger.
The chapter includes how to engage in difficult conversations, such as breaking bad news. Assertiveness skills are defined and applied in different case study situations. Skills for ending working relationships are explored. Skills learned in earlier chapters are developed and applied in Chapter 9 to working in groups.
The different stages of group development are discussed, together with using [Page xv]skills to help groups to bond and work through difficulties.
The chapter examines the use of counselling skills when working with families. Chapter 10 summarises the tool-kit of counselling skills developed throughout the book and examines how these can be used to work with different client groups, including children, older people, those with disabilities and learning difficulties, people from different cultures and older people who have dementia.
A key theme is the importance of continuing to see the service-user as a unique person.
Counselling skills in social work practice / Janet Seden. - Version details - Trove
Learning Features The book is a practical guide that will help you to engage with service-users. The importance of placing service-users at the centre of decision making is a key theme throughout each chapter. Egan's Skilled Helper approach underpins the book and is explored and applied to different social work situations. Chapters include excerpts from actual interviews with service-users, students, practice educators and practitioners where skills helpful to social work are discussed.
Developing skills necessary for building effective relationships is another key area that is explored in detail. The role and importance of self-awareness is discussed and activities are presented to help you to develop knowledge of yourself. Throughout the book, case study examples and analyses of dialogue are presented as aids to learning practical counselling skills which are appropriate to social work practice. Suggestions for further reading are made at the end of each chapter.
Professional Development and Reflective Practice This book offers opportunities for you to learn and develop a tool-kit of skills. It is difficult to learn how to use counselling skills in social work solely by reading about them in a book. Embedding skills requires practice. I do not advocate that you should try out new skills for the first time with service-users. Instead, I suggest you practise new techniques in a safe environment where it does not matter whether or not you get it right.
Engaging a classmate or colleague with whom you can try out new skills in role-play is a helpful way to begin developing your expertise. Feedback can be elicited using this method. Additionally, this enables you to reflect on your development before using newly acquired counselling skills with service-users. This book has been carefully mapped to the new Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Workers in England and will help you to develop the appropriate standards at the right level.
Professionalism Identify and behave as a professional social worker committed to professional development. Values and ethics Apply social work ethical principles and values to guide professional practice.
Justice Advance human rights and promote social justice and economic wellbeing. Knowledge Apply knowledge of social sciences, law and social work practice theory. Judgement Use judgement and authority to intervene with individuals, families and communities to promote independence, provide support and prevent harm, neglect and abuse. Critical reflection and analysis Apply critical reflection and analysis to inform and provide a rationale for professional decision-making.
Counselling Skills for Social Workers
Contexts and organisations Engage with, inform, and adapt to changing contexts that shape practice. Operate effectively within your own organisational frameworks and contribute to the development of services and organisations. Operate effectively within multi-agency and inter-professional settings. Professional leadership Take responsibility for the professional learning and development of others through supervision, mentoring, assessing, research, teaching, leadership and management.
References to these standards will be made throughout the text and you will find a diagram of the Professional Capabilities Framework in Appendix 1. Conclusion [Page ] The aim of this book has been to enable social workers to develop a range of counselling skills which will be useful in engagement with service-users. The main themes that I wish to emphasise in these concluding paragraphs are: Using Counselling Skills to Develop the Social Work Relationship Throughout this book there has been an emphasis on the importance of developing an effective working relationship with the service-user.
Having a genuine interest in each service-user, wanting to engage, and striving to see each person as an individual are all necessary foundations for creating good working relationships. Service-users themselves tell us how much they value social workers who express warmth and respect and who offer space and support.
Above all, service-users want their social workers to listen and to work collaboratively with them in finding solutions to their difficulties. In this book, I have defined what constitutes effective listening skills and have explored particular techniques for listening well. These have included empathic responding where we try and put ourselves in the service-user's position and attempt to try and understand what the person might be thinking and feeling and why they may be behaving in a certain way.
I have emphasised that while empathic responding is a difficult skill to achieve well, we need to strive to use it throughout every session with each service-user. There is a need to use empathic responding when forming relationships, when maintaining relationships, when challenging the person, during the process of finding out what is needed and in supporting the service-user through change.
Instead of telling someone what to do, we could say what would help you most at the moment…or if nothing changes, what would your life look like in, say, six months from now? Asking the right questions, which will help people to project themselves forward and think about the costs and consequences of making or not making changes, leaves the service-user in control of decision making rather than the practitioner.
Many of the chapters have referred to and explored the Egan Skilled Helper model. Although this is used predominantly as a counselling model, it is also relevant to social work. The three stages of the model have been illustrated by their application to social work case studies.
Using the model when engaging with service-users can help us to think: Working in this way also keeps the service-user at the centre of the process and reduces the power of the practitioner. Self-awareness when Working with Service-users Self-awareness is a key component of social work and counselling training.
If we can develop awareness of how we consciously and unconsciously engage with people then we will be better able to overcome barriers in our communication with service-users. Each chapter has included a number of activities which have invited you to explore your thinking, feelings and behaviour. Tuning in to service-users Egan, requires practitioners to bring into conscious awareness that which is just out of reach. For example, in Chapter 4 we explored how having knowledge of ego-states from Transactional Analysis can help us to choose consciously from alternative forms of communication.
Good supervision can help us to develop awareness of how we may be experienced by service-users and also helps us to engage more effectively. The more we understand ourselves, what motivates us, how and why we respond to each individual service-user as we do then the better we will be at remaining open, honest and congruent.
Congruence, together with empathy and respect, deepens the social work relationship by developing trust. Promoting Change Effective social workers uphold the worth and uniqueness of each service-user. Prizing the person Rogers, in this way also means holding a fundamental belief that they have the capacity to change. Without this attitude, we would rapidly become cynical and dismissive towards service-users.
If you have completed, engaged with and reflected on the counselling skills activities in this book, you may find that you have changed your approach to engagement with service-users in a number of areas.