Practical Ways of Working with Clients with Substance Misusing Issues

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When I met the client for the first time, it would have been with the Probation Officer. Most of the clients were there on a compulsory basis. I would normally do the following: •Make a cup of tea.

Smile and use open body language.
No forms on the first visit, just an informal chat.
Also, would have gone to the allocated smoke room, and taken the tea with and had a chat without the PO. •Very plain language – no jargon.
Firstly, I would have used closed questions to bring about yes or no responses. “Do you want to be here today?” “Do you smoke alot?” “Did you see the football last night?”. “Do you like tea/coffee?” “How are you feeling today?” •Once the client was comfortable, then I would use “open questions” to bring about more of explaining way of communicating. “What has brought you here today?” “What is it you would like to achieve?” “What is it you want me to help you with?” “How can I help you make this experience a bit easier for you?” •This would also allow the client to start opening up, and also be able to see their motivation. There body language would also be observed to see if what they were saying matched up to how they were conducting themselves. •Always ensure that you have open body language so that you don’t give off the wrong signals and make them feel uncomfortable. Always make sure you are approachable by the way you conduct yourself, facial expressions, and gestures.

Make sure the room is neutral. Free from clutter or anything personal. •No desks – they are a barrier. 2 chairs about 3-4 feet apart – a preferable at an angle. \being in direct contact can be quite intimidating. •Lighting, heating should be addressed – made comfortable. •When meeting the client firstly – make sure its fairly informal. Hi Sam, Im Jeanette, please have a seat.” First name basis tends to make someone feel comfortable. Make sure however that they are happy to be called by their first name though. •Just make sure they...
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