Saturday, August 13, 2011

Checking in on Goals with Clients

When I start to feel overwhelmed as I think about all the challenges a client is dealing with,* unsure where to begin and what to work on, I think about one thing that makes it easier -- where is the client? What does the client want to work on?

It helps to remind myself that the work is about the client.

As I continue working with the client I check in after a few weeks and ask myself are we still working on the same goals? Originally my client said he wanted to resolve issues with his landlord but now he's talking about moving out. Time to reassess. Is my client changed aim realistic? It's true goals may change. Maybe a client doesn't want to commit to one after all. I found that some of my difficult cases were this way because I was still working on an original goal while my client was working on another. This is one reason why it's important to check in on this on occasion.

Having worked in this field for several years my brain takes what a client is sharing with me during intake or conversation and puts it in categories of issues to address. However, after hearing six different issues my client is dealing with, it's not uncommon that she wants to focus on only one area. It's challenging for me to hold myself from my holistic approach that thinks: Let's rock, let's address all your concerns. But I need to listen deeper to what my client needs through her statements and life situation.

* See earlier this week.

See also: Let's pace this collaboration

1 comment:

Btrflygl said...

Yes. Thanks for writing about this. I think no matter how long we have been doing case management, we need to remind ourselves to stop and check in at least weekly.