Responding to Your Clients

Clients or family members may come to you problems or needs.  Your response will depend on many factors.  These include how comfortable you feel with emotions in general, how well you know the person, and what need or problem is brought up.  Try to empathize or understand how the person feels.  The following are three good ways to respond in this situation:

  • Often just talking about a problem or concern can make it easier to handle.  Sitting quietly and letting someone talk or cry may be the best help you can give.
  • Offer support and encouragement. Saying things like “You have really been under a lot of stress, haven’t you?” or “I can imagine that really is scary,” can provide a lot of comfort. Avoid using clichés like “It’ll all work out.”  Things may not all work out.  It is more comforting to the client if you acknowledge how hard the situation is rather than simply dismissing her feelings with a cliché.
  • Refer the problem to a social worker or your supervisor. When you feel that you cannot help the client, or when someone is asking you for help outside your scope of practice, get someone else on the care team to handle the situation.  Say something like, “Mrs. Pfeiffer, I need to get you the help you need. Can I have my supervisor call you?”