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Social Work and Reflective Communication

Social Work and Reflective Communication. Basic Communication Skills . Professional conversations and personal conversations: What are the differences?. Personal conversations. Often spontaneous Unstructured or semistructured Subject to interruptions Can be terminated abruptly

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Social Work and Reflective Communication

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  1. Social Work and Reflective Communication Basic Communication Skills

  2. Professional conversations and personal conversations: What are the differences?

  3. Personal conversations • Often spontaneous • Unstructured or semistructured • Subject to interruptions • Can be terminated abruptly • Do not need to reach resolution • Can tolerate a range of informalities – humour, touching, provocation, challenge, ignoring etc. • Are influenced by diversity – age, language, class, culture, ethnicity, politics, religion • Often are not strictly time limited • Can often be overheard by others • Are much influenced by the nature and history of the the relationship – power differentials, empathy/conflict etc

  4. Professional conversations • More formal/constrained in language and style • Generally not accompanied by physical contact often structured or semi-structured • Time limited • Goal directed • Power differentials play a major role • Agency influenced • Context dependent • Voluntary or involuntary

  5. Common problems presenting to social workers • Interpersonal conflict • Dissatisfaction in social relations • Problems with formal organisations • Role performance • Social transition • Reactive emotional distress • Inadequate resources • Psychological role and behavioural problems not identified elsewhere Reid (1978) cited in Trevithick (2000)

  6. Working together toward goals

  7. Settings for practice • Child and family agencies (NGOs and state) • Hospitals(psychiatric and general) • Courts • Prisons • Community health centres • Aged care settings • Migrant resource centres • Drug and alcohol agencies • Rehabilitation agencies (residential and day programs) )

  8. Places where social work conversations happen • Office • Garden • Home • Bedside • Car • Park • Coffee shop • External agency/institution (prison,school,court,hospital) See Cleak and Egan in Egan and Maidment (2004)

  9. Level of intensity in the helping relationship • Nature of the problem • The agency context • The conceptual underpinning • Engagement issues • Individual versus group couple or family involvement

  10. Some variations in intensity • Crisis intervention and referral • Short term problem solving • Medium term counselling and support • Group work • Family therapy • Long term psychotherapy

  11. Duration of the helping relationship • Crisis intervention – single session or few sessions • Short term – up to six weeks • Medium term – six to twelve weeks • Longer term – six to twelve months or more

  12. What influences the duration • Nature of the presenting problem • Agency policy (e.g. crisis intervention and referral only) • Conceptual framework (e.g. behavioural vs psychodynamic) • The intensity of the relationship • The effectiveness of on-going engagement • The effectiveness of the interventions • The context – e.g. a further crisis

  13. Level of skill required • Volunteer (trained or untrained) • Apprenticeship training on the job • Academic qualification • Post graduate training • Professional development

  14. Some examples of difference • Family counselling - undergraduate training • Family therapy – post graduate training • Crisis intervention – undergraduate training • Intensive psychotherapy – postgraduate training and supervision • Sometimes also trained volunteers or workers who have had in-service training can offer a range of helping services • Skills required can be basic, intermediate or advanced depending on complexity of issues

  15. Interviewing, counselling and psychotherapy • Interviewing – information gathering and advice giving • Counselling –normal developmental concerns • Psychotherapy - explores deeper issues See Ivey and Ivey (2003)Ch1

  16. Engaging with the task and purpose of the interview • Planning and preparing for the interview • Creating a rapport and establishing a relationship • The relationship • Welcoming skills • Informal opening conversations (social chat) Trevithick (2000)Ch 4

  17. Preparing for the interview –unstructured approach • Reflection • Empathy • Intuition • Combine intuition and analysis • Read case notes • Consider our role • Consider context – age, gender, culture etc. Trevithick(2000) Ch 4

  18. Preparing for the interview – structured approach • Use checklists of tasks/issues • Read case notes • Consider our role • Consider immediate context – age, gender, culture etc. • Consider the broader context – statutory, social justice etc. See Trevithick (2000)

  19. Creating a rapport and establishing a relationship • A harmonious working relationship (Barker, 1995) • Rapport means “close and sympathetic” • Social workers place great value on the quality of the helping relationship (Coulshed, 1991) • “The relationship is the communication bridge between people”(Kadushin,1990) • Feminists have seen building relationships as central to empowerment and growth (Stone, 1991) Cited in Trevithick (2000)

  20. Features of an effective helping relationship • Concern for service user’s self-determination • Displaying interest, warmth and trust • Respect for individuality • Acceptance • Empathic understanding • Genuineness and authenticity • Establishing ground rules regarding confidentiality Adapted from Kadushin (1990)

  21. Welcoming skills • Reception staff friendly but discreet • Décor bright and ordered but not overly formal • Private and confidential • Décor reflecting multiracial gender cultural mix of population served • Catering for age/disability etc • Wheelchair and pram accessible • “Social chat” • Shaking hands – when appropriate See Trevithick (2000)

  22. Personal style, intentionality and cultural intentionality • Personal style – preferences, personal baggage, genuineness, use of self, self disclosure • Intentionality – competence and clarity in decision-making • Cultural intentionality – incorporating diversity in thought, feelings and behaviours Ivey and Ivey (2003) Ch 1

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