Scenario of a Human Services Client Working in the field of human services is a unique, yet rewarding career. Human services workers engage with diverse populations and carry different titles to include counselors, case managers, milieu therapists, social workers, etc. Regardless of what title a human service worker may hold, communication between a client and professional is vital. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a client from a particular background and address his presenting issues.
It will review how I would interview my client to include specific communication techniques, ways I would establish a working relationship, discuss possible boundary issues, and recommendations or referrals to certain groups for this client. The scenario I chose to write about is an actual experience I’ve had with a client working in a residential treatment center for troubled youth. In this paper, I will refer to my client as Joe Smith. Joe is a 13 year old Hispanic male. His mother and father are still alive, but he currently lives with his mother.
Joe has 3 siblings, all brothers, one of whom has been in and out of jail and seems to be the biggest influence in Joe’s life right now. Joe’s father is a well known drug dealer and has also been in and out of jail, and is now trying to be a part of his son’s life. Joe’s mother has good intentions of ensuring her son receives the proper treatment, but is losing patience and repeatedly states she is running out of options to provide a stable home for Joe. Joe’s referral to the treatment was because he got caught at school selling drugs. There were also allegations of inappropriate contact with a female peer.
Upon Joe’s admittance to the program, his mental health assessment diagnosed him with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and Oppositional Defiance Disorder. His placement into out-patient services set a goal to help reduce his anger outbursts and teach him life skills that would help him reintegrate back into public schools with more positive behaviors. He is in a track with Mentally Retarded/Developmentally Delayed population. His treatment team consists of a therapist, milieu therapist, case manager, social worker, and probation officer.
My first clinical interview with Joe was productive. I went over goals and objectives to pass through his phases. His responses were short and made very little eye contact. Joe was very quiet his first few weeks in program. He was compliant with staff and stayed on task with class work and actively engaged in group and individual therapy sessions. As he got comfortable with his peers and staff, he began showing his personality, which allowed me, as his milieu therapist, to begin helping him develop coping skills and teach him more appropriate behaviors when he would lose control of his emotions.
His anger outbursts became more frequent, and some resulted in physical altercations with other peers. He was found with drugs and rumors of him selling drugs to other clients became an issue. As previously mentioned, I believe communication between a client and human services worker is of vital importance in any individual’s treatment. According to the Center for Negotiation Studies website, there are three major styles of communication: Aggressive, Passive, and Assertive (Communication Skills, n. d. ).
My communication style with Joe is Assertive. I am an effective, active listener with Joe. He does not open up very easily, and so when he does I need to ensure he feels like I am listening to every word he says. I set limits and expectations with Joe, and I took me awhile to learn that this was more effective in his treatment than just letting him talk without knowing my expectations of him. I would state my observations to him, without being judgmental or labeling him in any way. Establishing an effective relationship with Joe took time.
I took on the model of “You do for me, and I’ll do for you”. Gaining his trust took time, and I understood that he has been let down his whole life with empty promises from family and friends. Keeping my word with this client is how I began establishing a close relationship. If I told Joe I would stop by and see how he was doing in 3rd period, I made sure I was there, and if I could not be there I made sure he was aware as to why I was not. I gained respect from this kid, and was able to teach him coping skills within just a few months.
We were able to understand each other’s verbal and non verbal communication styles, which made his treatment much more effective. My interviews with Joe after developing a relationship were a lot more productive. He was able to state his own goals and more importantly what he needed from me, as his milieu therapist, to achieve those goals. Working with Joe on a daily basis did contribute to some boundary issues. There were times when he would want to process when no real crisis was present. His attachment to me was obvious, and limits had to be set.
I, along with my supervisor and clinical director, did not believe it was a personal attachment, but had finally found someone he could trust to be there for him without judgment. After confronting him with this concern, he was able to accept the limitations and with positive encouragement began using his coping skills on his own. After about 9 months of having Joe in the out-patient program, I reached a stopping point where I could no longer help him. He had developed coping skills and knew when he needed to use them. He recognized his triggers and was able to verbalize his wants and needs to his parents.
Unfortunately, the environment he was in at home was unstable. Joe’s father was continuing to try and get him to deal drugs, and his brother’s negative influence was overwhelming. My referral for Joe into Treatment Foster Care was the next step for my client. Getting Joe out of his family life where all he knew was drugs and jail was the best outcome for him. He is with a family who provides stability and is helping him become a productive member of society. References CNS. (n. d. ). Communication Skills. Retrieved from http://www. au. af. mil/au/awc/awcgate/sba/comm_style. htm