Handout 3: Skills for Effective Case Work
- Effective listening: The qualities of an effective listener include:
Barriers to Effective Listening: Listening
can be poor when:
- Wants to listen
- Pays attention
- Shares responsibility for interaction
- Minimises distraction
- Mirrors body language
- Doesn't fidget
- Is able to remain silent
- Asks clarifying questions
- Tries to see the speakers point of view
- Reflects feeling and content
- Uses minimal encouragers such as "aha",
"mmmm", nodding head
- Faces person
- Doesn't judge or evaluate
- Doesn't change the subject
- Supports the feelings of the speaker, doesn't dismiss
feelings or try to cheer up the speaker
Dealing with Difficult Issues: The Case Worker
needs to have courage and a range of skills available
to them to assist them to deal with difficult clients
and difficult situations. These skills include problem
solving skills and the skills of assertion.
- the environment is distracting;
- the listener has preconceived ideas;
- the listener is judgmental;
- the listener is preoccupied;
- the listener is distracted;
- the listener only listens to the words not the
- the listener keeps interrupting;
- the listener tries to do most of the talking.
Effective Questioning: To assist the client
to explore the issues of concern to them.
Engagement: The ability to establish a relationship.
Problem solving (see Handout
Conflict management: Case Workers are often
called upon to mediate and assist in the resolution
of conflict. The core skills used her are the same
as those used in effective interpersonal communication
and include effective listening, effective questioning,
assertion and assessment of the clients needs.
Advocacy: Sometimes, needed resources
are not present or are withheld from a specific
client. As an advocate, the Case Worker tries to
make needed assistance available.
Interviewing skills: Interviewing is a formal
conversation in which a Case Worker seeks to gather
information and or facts from the client, to assist the client
to reflect upon the issues in their life including
the causes and the options for change.
An effective interview cannot be reduced to a formulae
because people are contradictory and unfortunately are
not always predictable. The effective interviewer has
a variety of strategies and techniques that can be used
to obtain information from people while maintaining
a productive and positive relationship.
The fundamental skills of interviewing include:
- Analysis of the interview
- Awareness of relationships
- Verbal communication skills
- Non verbal communication skills