Thursday, April 22, 2010

Talking Like a Case Manager

My supervisor Feona came in to my office yesterday and said she wanted to vent for a moment. After a few minutes of that she started going over tasks she needed to get done and complained that she wasn't looking forward to one specific challenge. We were talking it out and I suddenly realized that I was comforting --  or encouraging -- her but that I was doing it in 'case manager' mode, as if i was talking to John, a client I've been working with intensively in the past month. Similar calming tone, positive voice, similar phrasing.

When I write positive voice it doesn't mean cheery. I'm not a bubbly person and I don't make myself bubbly at work but in specific interactions I adopt a softer, more compassionate voice. I'm compassionate with friends but I use a different tone. My friends usually have a larger network of resources so I allow myself to say things to them that I don't say in some instances to my clients. The relationship also is of course personal and not professional. Maybe it was the setting or that I was still in work mode, but it surprised me how naturally I went into that mode with Feona. At a certain point she smiled and I thought she recognized that I was doing it but she didn't.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is interesting that you use a different tone of voice / language depending on the type of relationship rather than the context. Sometimes, I've heard other care users complain that staff use a "sing-song" voice, but I've never noticed it myself.