Friday, May 7, 2010

Telling it like it is

In Social Work the Social Worker must make use of rapport. Rapport is about creating understanding and trust. It's the key to building relationships, which is what social work is all about. How can you help society if you can't build a connection with it? Rapport is a topic that people have written big books on. How to Win Friends and Influence People, Flirting For Success: The Art of Building Rapport, Talk to Anyone, blahblahblah General Self-Help book title about relationship building here.

Unfortunately Social Work is also about getting things done. This can mean upsetting the wonderful harmonious rapport you have with somebody. Or rocking the boat. How can you do this without tipping anyone or yourself overboard? How can you tell someone a fact that's hard for them to swallow but they need to hear it? It's a hard act and one even Social Workers on the job still learn about.

One way is to be upfront with them after you've shown to them that you have empathy. Being empathetic means being respectful, even if you disagree with them. It also means trying to understand where they're coming from, even if you think they've gone down the wrong path. But back to being upfront. You can tell the person that you have something important to say which could really bother them. Then lay it down and say why you think whatever you're thinking. Explain how it'll affect them and whatever or whoever they care about. You want to explain the truth clearly. You don't want it to be distorted by anybody's gossip.

This isn't counselling 101 and that method might not always work. But sometimes time is short and you might have something really impotant to say. I hope this post gave you some insight into dealing with tricky situations. Tricky situations sometimes require a trick themselves.

"Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you -- tripping on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as Leif the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and as I may say, the whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness." - William Shakespeare

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