practical tips for engaging families & children
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Engaging Families & Children: Practical Tips
Training Dates: March 18 & April 1 2015
Presenter: Melissa Cole, MSW, LCSW-C
Why do we choose to do this work?
What makes this type of work important to us?
Desire to Help Others
Need to Contribute to the CommunitySpiritual Calling
Personal or Professional Development
Why do families choose to work with us?
The Working Relationship.
Regardless of:How the families reach us
Their unique presenting problems
The length or type of services
The number of workers involved
The team members
It is ALL about:How meaningful services are to the family
What the family gains from services
How easy service participation is for the family
RELATIONSHIP consists of:
Commitment +Relating +Knowledge +Skills+ = Engagement
Engagement leads to positive outcomes!
Fortunate to receive referrals based on positive referencesCommunity collaboration strong relationshipsFamilies often go with a default provider out of necessity: location, coverage, crisis, referral, impaired advocacy skills, etcOnce connected, even if voluntary, if families dont like the services they can withdraw by passive resistance aka non-compliance3
What Brings BSF Staff & Families Together?Core Principles of BSF Programs
Establishing TrustActive listeningAssessingCommunicating Assisting / MentoringCrisis InterventionCoaching / ModelingAdvocatingEducatingMaintaining SafetyFocusing on Strengths
Core Elements of Effective Helping Relationships
Availability Knowledge Flexibility Communication Time Trust Responsibilities Positive attitude Humor Respect Strengths
What Do We Often Take for Granted?
Some common sense things we often overlook:
Remember: we are guests in their lives their participation in services is a gift not aguarantee
Courtesy goes a long way: confirm each appointment day/time; be flexible
Use preparatory empathy:put ourselves in their shoes
Select our words carefullyinteractions shape the relationship
Follow our purpose / we must stay on taskwe are more than friendly visitors!Do NOT make assumptionswe have the responsibility to seek clarification & to set the tone for authentic interactions
More Items We Often Take For Granted.Maximize teachable moments & apply them to the IRPUsing here and now examples makes the treatment plan real
Be open minded / look for creative solutionsSolution focused & strength based interventions
Think like we are a member of a teambecause we are!Be mindful of other providers working with the family & make sure we are collaborating
Utilize anticipatory guidance / review next steps together For example: changes in service delivery or plans for discharge
Alert the supervisor to ANY safety concerns Be familiar with agency protocols regarding safety issuesDiscuss observations, disclosures, questions we have on this topic
Normalize taboo topicsWe have a responsibility to help families talk about tough topics in constructive and productive ways (ie: sex, disabilities, violence, discipline, etc)
How Do We Make the Most of Our Interactions?
What we sayWe must be purposeful in our communication
How we say itVerbalNon-verbal
Active Listening: WordsBehaviorsFeelings
Role Modeling / ActionTake time to teachCelebrate accomplishments Lead by example
What is Active Listening?EMPATHY: identification with and understanding of anothers situation, feelings and motives.
Perspective and Engagement
Perspective = Connection
Once connected, rapport begins
Rapport provides opportunities for effective communication
Once communicating, engagement is built through the development of trust, respect & reliability
We must recognize differences & while also finding common ground
How Can We Use Our Perspective?
Key questions to consider as we build & maintain relationships:
What is the purpose of my contact?Have I communicated my purpose clearly?Do we share the same agenda?Do we have the same priorities?Do we share the same definitions for common concepts, words & goals?Are our roles well defined? Am I demonstrating my role, my purpose & my professional boundaries through my words and actions?Is the treatment plan on target or in need of adjustment?How well does the family understand, apply & buy in to the treatment plan?Whats working/successful in the working relationship? Has the success been discussed/acknowledged? Have mistakes been addressed?What obstacles are blocking progress in the working relationship?What new information has come to my attention that needs to be addressed?What risk factors/safety concerns do I need to consider for each relationship?
What Differentiates Us?Cultural/Racial/Ethnic IdentityTribal AffinityNationalityAcculturation/AssimilationSocioeconomic Status / ClassLanguageEducationLiteracyFamily constellationSocial historyPerception of TimeHealth Beliefs
Health / Mental HealthBeliefs about Health/Mental HealthValuesAge CyclesLife CyclesGender & Gender IdentitySexual Orientation / IdentityReligion & Spiritual ViewsSpatial & Regional PatternsPolitical Orientation &Affiliation
Engagement and Boundaries
Why are boundaries so important?
They set the framework for us to talk about:
Our roles & responsibilitiesThe services being deliveredOur expectations for the working relationshipLimits of confidentiality , privacy & safety issues
They help us focus on our responsibilities to the client
The treatment plan is central to all communications
They reduce compassion fatigue
We dont get overwhelmed as easily when were attentive to our limits
They establish parameters for legal & ethical behavior
When in question, consult the regulations / agency protocol / supervisor
They support regulatory & reporting requirements
Our timelines for home visits, reports & other services
Key Components of Boundaries
What we say How we say it The meaning behind our communications
Limits of Confidentiality
Clients right to self-determination
Competence (including cultural competence)
Conflicts of interest
Record keeping & treatment planning
Desire to rescue to be friends or to be liked by the family
Roadblocks to Successful Engagement
Making assumptionsGiving adviceJudgingMaking the work about usPlacing blamePicking favoritesDoing favorsBreaking confidentiality ArguingSaying: I told you so
Avoiding tough topicsLack of preparationBecoming friends Blurring boundariesPrideEmbarrassmentStressOne sided thinkingFrustration / ImpatienceIgnoring taboo topics
Active CharacteristicsPassive Characteristics
Unique Factors Influencing Engagement
Involvement of Multiple Systems
Medical / HealthAcademic / VocationalMental Health / Psychiatric
Cultural DifferencesUnique relationships with families
Parental FunctioningHistory or current stressors from:SubstancesVictimization / PerpetrationMental Illness
How do the Unique Factors Play a Role?
Families are often in crisisPrevious coping skills are not effectiveSense of urgency to resolve problemsConfusion / fear / intense emotionsSometimes socially isolated & vulnerable
Psychiatric conditions are impactfulUntreated conditions complicate engagementTreated conditions require special consideration
Workers may represent unresolved issuesWe are symbols of prior working relationships
Life is dynamicEngagement, assessment, intervention & outcomes are processes
Parent/Guardian Functioning Up Close
Victimization / perpetration / trauma
Involvement of other services
Stress managementCan be easily overwhelmedJudgment Often impaired or limited due to stressFrustration toleranceMany times low tolerance for stressEmpathyOften self-absorbed due to unmet needsPersonal boundariesConcept of privacy or intimacy is often blurredRational thinkingEmotional flooding or cognitive distortions Social stabilityMultiple relocations, losses & abrupt transitionsIntimate relationshipsAnxiety often drives behavior
Impact Issues = effects on coping
What Issues Require Immediate Attention? Important Topics:
Limits of ConfidentialityPrivacyPersonal SafetyPublic SafetyBoundariesDual RelationshipsMisinformation MisunderstandingsDifferent ExpectationsThings to Consider/Steps to Take:
Gather InformationDocument what is seenContact the SupervisorFollow State RegulationsFollow Agency ProtocolProblem Solve the SituationImplement Crisis InterventionTake care of self
Some Engagement & Boundary Questions to Consider
When Im asking questions about the familys life & routines, how do I remain respectful of the familys right to privacy & determination about what information to share? What information do I have the right to know?
When is it OK for me to disclose something personal with the family?
What if the family invites me to dinner or to a family event? Is it ever OK to support a family by forming a friendship with them?
What if I dont feel comfortable with something the family is doing in their home. Should I say something? How would I bring it up politely/respectfully?
When is it OK to give a hug or to put my arm around a client?
What if I suspect child maltreatment or a safety concern in the home? How do I bring up the limits of confidentiality in a way that supports the family and follows the law?
What if I feel like a co-worker is crossing a boundary?
When is it OK for me to give advice to a family?
Is it ever OK to give a family money or personal gifts?
National Association of Social Workers http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/code.asp
National Association for the Education of Young Children http://www.naeyc.org/about/mission.asp
National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center http://www.nectac.org/~pdfs/pubs/assuring.pdf
Division for Early Childhood Code of Ethics http://www.campbellsville.edu/Websites/cu/Images/Academics/Education/Documents/ECE/Cod e%20of%20Ethics_updated_Aug2009.pdf
American Counseling Associationhttp://www.counseling.org/resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf
ASHA Code of Ethics http://www.asha.org/docs/html/ET2010-00309.html
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Jacobson, G.A. (2002). Maintaining Professional Boundaries: Preparing Nursing Students for the Challenge. Journal of Nursing Education, Vol. 41, No. 6 p. 279-281.
Joanne Bardnt- ACSW LCSW (2008). Clinical Associate Professor Emerita Social Work Field Program, University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee.
Gray, M. Gibbons, J. (2007). There are no Answers, Only Choices: Teaching Ethical Decision Making in Social Work. Australian Social Work, Vol. 60,. No.2 p. 222-238.
Kagle, J.D., Giebelhausen, P.N. (1994). Dual Relationships and Professional Boundaries. Social Work, Vol. 39 No. 2 p. 213-220
Lea, D. (2006). You Dont Know Me Like That: Patterns of Disconnect Between Adolescent Mothers of Children with Disabilities and Their Early Interventionists. Journal of Early Childhood, Vol. 28 No. 4 p.264-282.
Reamer, F.G. (2003). Boundary Issues In Social Work: Managing Dual Relationships. Social Work, Vol. 48, No. 1 p. 121-133.
Rosin, P., Whitehead, A., Tuchman, L., Jesien, G., Begun, A. (1993). Strategies for Dealing with Unexpected Immediate Needs or Crisis. Partnerships in Early Intervention: A Training Guide of Family-Centered Care, Team Building, and Service Coordination.