Beginnings 95 Break the students into two groups and ask one group to be the client and the other to be the worker. Beginning with the “client” group, ask them to identify their reactions to having to see the worker. To enhance students’ ability to tune in, remind them to speak in the first person: “I am pissed off,” rather than “I think the client might be angry.” Then ask the “worker” group to identify their reactions to engaging with the client, again reminding them to speak in the first person. At this point, ask all students to identify what stage of change the client is in and consider how they would put into words the clients’ feelings about having to see the worker. Remind students to speak in the second person here: “I think you might be feeling really angry about having to see me,” rather than “I think the client would be angry.” Social Work Skills To the greatest extent possible, we believe that instructors should solicit and rely upon students’ cases to illustrate the skills identified in the beginning phase. However, as needed, the exercises here could be accomplished using hypothetical or composite cases provided by the instructor. In addition, these exercises lend themselves to engagement with families and groups when they are the client. 1. Solicit case scenarios that reflect the three contexts of service. For each, have half the class suggest how the workers would clarify their role and pur- pose, including their status as students, and ask for feedback, reminding them to frame this statement as they actually would say it to the client. We usually have to combine several students’ suggestions into one coherent statement that one student—or we—then present to the “client” group. At this point, ask the “client” to reflect on and react to the statement of the “worker.” Based upon this information, ask students in the role of “worker” to restate or reframe their statement of role and purpose if needed. 2. Referring to the case of the Dalton family from the chapter, ask stu- dents if they can identify instances in their practice in which they (or others in their agency whom they may have observed) have avoided being direct and honest about their role and purpose. Because students may be reluc- tant to acknowledge this or may not recognize the existence of a hidden agenda, be prepared to describe a case of your own or of a former student or a hypothetical/composite one, and discuss why the worker had difficulty being up-front with the client. Students may experience this exercise as risky because they would be admitting to a mistake. Using one of your cases to begin this discussion encour- ages students to be forthcoming. Also, it is important to credit and commend
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