Posted in Social Work

“Are you magic?”: Partnership and Collaboration With Clients

One of the things I’ve challenged many of my clients that I’ve ever worked with is that I don’t have all the answers. Currently my clients consist of teens and their families. When working with teens I sometimes laugh to myself because we’ve spent a good part of our time trying to figure out a solution only for them to say “I don’t know what to do.” As we continue dialogue I challenge them on their thoughts or try to connect a few dots for them and give them a few minutes or a few sessions where they eventually say “Wow! I did say that, or Yeah! That’s exactly what I meant.” They also respond by saying “How did you do that? Are you magic?!” I always tell them that I only helped them or guided them. I empower them and highlight how they are the ones who actually figured out the solution or answer they needed. Collaborating with clients, especially teens is a great way to empower and give them control of what’s going on in their lives. I love explaining our relationship during initial sessions and telling them how I want to work together and collaborate. I’ve found this approach to be helpful, especially when you find yourself having to roll with resistance. Combining the use of strengths and motivational interviewing are strong tools to form a healthy partnership. I am not magic. We are not magic. But together we are making magic happen, together as partners. 


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