Beginnings 93 words. This may include ambivalence, anger, and/or resentment about asking for or being required to seek the worker’s help, consistent with the solution-fo- cused technique, coconstructing cooperation with mandated clients. 6. Professional Use of Self From the beginning, workers must present themselves as real and genuine as they engage professionally with clients. Research suggests that worker trans- parency fosters client engagement, as does the worker’s willingness to disclose basic biographical information related to professional background and gentle use of humor. This set of skills is one of the most misunderstood and can be confusing to students. Students—and many professional social workers—assume that sharing personal information normalizes clients’ experiences and feelings and therefore is reassuring. Clients themselves often assume that workers similar to them will be more understanding and helpful. Self-disclosure is an essential aspect of use of self, but it is nuanced and subtle. Two types of self-disclosure can be distinguished: “here and now,” or disclosures of immediacy, and “there and then,” or self-involving disclosures. Based upon available research evidence, “here and now” disclosures that reveal workers’ thoughts and feelings about what the client has shared and what is happening in the session are more helpful than “there and then” disclosures associated with their personal lives. 7. Using Activity For some clients, like children, the aged, and individuals living with mental illness, activity enhances their ability to engage with the worker. It also serves as an important icebreaker, lessening clients’ discomfort about meeting with a stranger. 8. Establishing a Working Agreement Potential clients become actual clients when they arrive at an agreement with their worker about the nature and course of their work together, consistent with agency guidelines. The skills of summarizing client concerns and asking for feedback are essential to reaching an agreement that reflects clients’ concerns. Because clients often face numerous life stressors, they and their worker are likely to become overwhelmed unless the worker helps them identify a place to
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