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The Social Worker-Client Relationship as the Heart of Practice Alberta College of Social Workers Conference Edmonton, AB PowerPoint Presentation
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The Social Worker-Client Relationship as the Heart of Practice Alberta College of Social Workers Conference Edmonton, AB

The Social Worker-Client Relationship as the Heart of Practice Alberta College of Social Workers Conference Edmonton, AB

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The Social Worker-Client Relationship as the Heart of Practice Alberta College of Social Workers Conference Edmonton, AB

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  1. The Social Worker-Client Relationship as the Heart of PracticeAlberta College of Social Workers ConferenceEdmonton, AB March 14, 2008 Carla Alexander, MSW Doctoral student, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary

  2. Introductions

  3. Why focus on relationship? • Heart of practice • Equality, respect, change • Birthday and sparklers • Importance of giving and receiving • Impact of not giving and receiving • Cultural differences

  4. Workshop Objectives • Apply theories of human development (bi-directionality) to practice • Learn from fellow participants about their relationships • Learn about current research • Consider ethics of relationships in your practice

  5. Workshop Outline • Introductions • Theory on development - presentation • Relationships - stories from research • Group discussion • Break 3:00 - 3:30 • Research on the relationship - presentation • Group discussion

  6. Development Jaan Valsiner • Time is an irreversible flow • Good infinity (innovation) • Bad infinity (repetition) • Open system - cell

  7. Meaning • Events have some meaning • Always interpreting • Always learning what things mean • Language, gestures, subtle cues (breathing, shifting, stillness, etc.)

  8. Meaning

  9. Bi-directionality • Two-way development of meaning and development • Not one-way • Oriented to create meaning in the immediate future

  10. Identity • Structured self through interactions • See oneself through others’ eyes • Roles - personal and professional

  11. being seen through the eyes of others Calvin and Hobbes Bill Waterson

  12. Stories • Being cared for • A look

  13. Group Activity 1 • Think about something that you enjoy, appreciate, or value about your relationships with clients. • Please write this on one of the post-it notes to share with your table. Post it on a piece of white cardboard on the table. • Identify a personal quality that has developed through your relationships with clients. (Write this on a post-it note, too.) • Read all contributions to the everyone in your group. Do you normally pay attention to the process of your own development through your work? What impact might it have on your work? Discuss what strikes you as important or interesting about this, in pairs or as a large group.

  14. Open discussion • Volunteers - What do you think is important? A-ha moment? Queries for colleagues?

  15. Break Back at 3:30

  16. Experiences of Care • Research - Interview 10 social workers about their experiences of receiving care from their clients • Themes and process

  17. Mutuality and reciprocity • Care • Gifts, letters • Laughter • Inquiries • Empathy

  18. Learning from practice • Different relationships, vary over time • Do not require care from clients • Make mistakes • Believe the work is more effective • Open/ not open • Let go of “expert”

  19. Community context • Subversive • Training • Theory and practice

  20. Meaning in life • Commitment to client • Social justice • “Otherwise, why bother?”

  21. Research • Nick Coady - empathic/collaborative mindset rather than technical/interventive • Jean Baker Miller & Nancy Genero, Stone Centre, Wellesley College - mutuality

  22. Good therapist • use self disclosure • seek client feedback • view clients as equals • view therapy as mutual growth experience • personally identify with client issues(Coady & Wolgien, 1996)

  23. Mutuality • “Openness to influence, emotional availability, and a constantly changing pattern of responding to and affecting each other’s state” (Jordan, 1986). • people require experiences of mutual empathy and connection in order to grow (Miller, 1976)

  24. Working alliance • Quality of therapeutic alliance predicts outcome • Therapeutic bond - working alliance, empathic resonance, mutual affirmation • “more of a person-to-person relationship with my therapist”

  25. Repair Calvin and Hobbes Bill Waterson

  26. Social Work Research • Self disclosure • Clients prefer when “like a friend” • Stronger commitment to the client

  27. Dual relationships Boundary crossings and boundary violations

  28. Group Activity 2 • Practice on the edge • What are your experiences of receiving care from clients? • What did you consider? How did you weigh the ethics of your choices? • How did your choice affect you and your client? • Challenges to practicing with an orientation to mutuality?

  29. Implications for practice Work with clients Work with colleagues Interprofessional work Supervision

  30. Conclusion

  31. Evaluations Thank you Carla Alexander cealexan@ucalgary.ca