Using engagement skills in social work practice

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Engaging with clients is one of the most important skills you use as a social worker in that it helps you build a strong rapport with clients. Engaging with another person can be challenging because it involves several skills including proper eye contact, attentive listening, appropriate body position, and tone of voice. How you exhibit these skills is equally important. If exhibited with empathy, genuineness, and warmth, these skills convey to clients that you want to help, that you are there to work with them, that you truly appreciate who they are, and that you value their concerns. Conveying empathy might not come as naturally to you as conveying genuineness and warmth. How do you know when you are conveying empathy or sympathy when working with clients? In your exchanges, it is important to convey a sense of understanding and caring, but not a sense of pity. It is likely that you have received demonstrations of empathy and sympathy in your life. How did it make you feel and how did you respond to it? Most clients will come to you with concerns or experiences you have not personally encountered. How might you convey a sense of empathy, rather than sympathy? How might you tap into your own experiences to find a sense of understanding?

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources, including the Parker Family Video case. Select one of the engagement skills (warmth, empathy, and genuineness) exhibited with Helen and Stephanie in the video. Then, consider how the social worker from the video expressed that skill when working with Helen and Stephanie. Finally, think about the effectiveness of the skill the social worker is exhibiting.

Post a brief description of the engagement skill you selected from the video. Then explain how the social worker from the video expressed that skill when working with Sara and Stephanie. Finally, explain the effectiveness of the skill the social worker is exhibiting.

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