Working with clients who have been ordered to participate in treatment is often very difficult at first. Many of the clients are initially angry and frustrated that they have been involuntary forced to complete the needed service and it make it very difficult to work with those types of clients due to them initially feeling that they don’t need the help. While working in child welfare I have experienced this first hand especially those who have been ordered by the court to cooperate with our services. While working with this population it has taught me a lot of patience and that each client is different in their own way.
According to Schimmel & Jacobs (2011) many involuntary clients often do not see that they need treatment or services and they initially feel like they are wasting their time. This is where the social worker must help them understand why they are receiving the service and the social worker must use techniques to grab the client’s attention to help them understand what they are providing. Getting on the client’s level but also explaining the purpose of the group as well as setting the rules and providing informed consent in the beginning will help the social worker set a tone and provide the group with needed information. Engagement is another key element and finding creative ways to engage an involuntary group is critical and could open up communication between clients and the social worker (Schimmel & Jacobs, 2011).
The social worker must find ways to not only to engage the group but also educate the group and hold their attention. Using props, movies, art, and allowing the clients to speak freely would also be beneficial as well. From experience, I found that techniques used by Schimmel & Jacobs (2011) work and are effective and it may not be traditional but I’m all about using creative techniques to help those in involuntary treatment. These strategies promote empowerment as it allows the clients to be able to be creative with the social worker and express themselves how they would like as long as it’s not in a dangerous or offending way.
Schimmel, C. J., & Jacobs, E. (2011). When leaders are challenged: Dealing with involuntary members in groups. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 36(2), 144–158.
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