Helping Individuals, Families, and Groups with Stressful Life Transitions 103 For ease of presentation of the material, we presented the skill sets as separate entities. In reality, we want students to realize that they often are using several different skills simultaneously. 1. Begin with the Prentice case example and ask two student volunteers to play the parts of “intern” and “Prentice.” (The skills are more readily apparent to students when the interview excerpts are read aloud rather than silently.) Instead of waiting until the end of the excerpts, interrupt the dialogue at vari- ous points to ask students what skills they can identify. To reinforce the point that students must develop their own styles, ask the observers how they might employ the same skill. We frequently make the point to our students that there are as many ways (and more) to do something like provide clients with more accurate information (as the intern does when she introduces to Prentice the idea that as a young child, he could not have kept his mom from drinking) as there are students in the class. To foster students’ critical thinking, ask them if they would have done anything differently if they had been the intern. If they struggle with this ques- tion, direct them to specific points in the conversation and ask them if they might have handled the situation in a different way. 2. We repeatedly note in the chapter that the skills of life-modeled prac- tice are applicable to all practice modalities—individuals, families, groups, and communities. We present two examples of group work to emphasize this point. As with the last exercise, ask student volunteers to take on the “member” and “worker” roles in one or both of the vignettes (the bereavement group and sex education group) and read the excerpts aloud. The bereavement group example can be used to emphasize the power of mutual aid and the worker’s role in promoting it. As students are reading the excerpt, ask them to identify the skills that the worker exhibits. You can also ask students to tune in to the members and identify how the group is helpful to them. (Remind the students to talk in the first person, so that they are putting themselves in the shoes of the group members.) The sex education group is a good example of how the student worker learns to listen and respond to clients’ sense of urgency rather than following the prescribed curriculum that he intended to use. Again, ask students what skills the intern is using. They also can be asked to reflect upon the intern’s anxiety, which initially led to his trying to exert control over the group, and whether they can identify with his feelings. 3. The vignette featuring the Wilkens-Gordon family also can be used to reinforce the broad application of the skills presented in this chapter. As with the group examples, have volunteers take on the different roles and read the excerpts aloud. Stop at various points and ask the class what skills the intern is using, how the students might have responded using the same or different
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