62 Assessment, Evidence-Guided Practice, and Practice Evaluation 3. Emphasis on Client Strengths Consistent with the social work profession’s commitment to client empower- ment, life-modeled practice rests upon the assumption that all clients possess strengths, though they may not be aware of them. The worker’s responsibility is to help clients identify and build upon internal and external resources that already exist, as well as developing new ones. Solution-focused questions assist workers and clients in illuminating strengths. Asking about exceptions and coping questions help clients identify coping skills that they have used, even if they are not aware of them. As clients come to appreciate the strengths they possess, they can begin to use them more intentionally as they face new life stressors. 4. Assess Clients’ Motivation An important aspect of assessment is determining clients’ motivation to acknowledge the need for assistance and for engaging in a working relationship with the worker. Rather than considering the reasons for clients’ reluctance, workers too often simply see them as “resistant.” Workers also may make the mistake of assuming that the goals that they and/or their supervisors have established for clients are shared by their clients, particularly when the latter are mandated to receive services. The stages of change model helps social workers realistically appraise clients’ level of motivation and then help clients progress through them: 1. Precontemplation 2. Contemplation 3. Determination 4. Action 5. Maintenance 6. Relapse Workers can use the solution-focused “miracle question” to coconstruct cooperation with clients who do not want their help. Beginning with clients’ defi- nition of the problem—which often is the mandate that requires them to receive services—the worker helps clients identify what needs to happen in order for them to get what they want, which is for them to no longer have to see the worker. 5. Using Visual Assessments Visual representations to capture stressors and strengths in clients’ lives complement written assessments. Ecomaps can help students make sense
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