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On the last track, we discussed surviving the wait. This included dealing with parents and losing a referral.
Do you have a client who isn’t sure how to break the news about adopting to his or her family? On this track, we will discuss techniques for breaking the news. This will include the “chair dialogue” technique, the “write a letter” technique, the reflection technique and the rating technique. As you listen, compare the techniques presented on this track with your own.
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4 Techniques to Break the News
These are techniques I often suggest to clients who are concerned about how to break the news to their families about adoption. They are presented on this track as I usually present them to the clients.
#1 Technique: The Chair Dialogue
"Try to listen to the objections that are raised. Do they remind you of any criticism that you have received from this person in the past? Imagine how you will respond. Try to respond non-defensively. Continue this dialogue for several rounds. If you want, you can ask a friend or your spouse to sit in the chair and play the other part.
"This exercise can be helpful because even though you are only imagining the other person’s presence, sometimes doing so can help you to understand and feel what it is like to be in the other person’s shoes. If, for example, the other person is angry or critical, you might be surprised to realize that some of his or her anger might stem from a fear of losing you or having to share you. Would knowing this help you to respond to that person differently?”
I tell my clients, “As you continue the exercise, write down which negative response you anticipate and from whom. Now begin to develop a strategy for dealing with each response. Your strategy may be something as simple as stating clearly what kind of response you would like and what types of responses would not be helpful.”
#2 Technique: Write a Letter
I have found that even in cases that are not so fraught with difficulty, writing a letter can be helpful because it gives my clients a chance to state ideas and concerns clearly.
#3 Technique: Reflection
#4 Technique: Rating
On this track, we have discussed techniques for breaking the news. This has included the “chair dialogue” technique, the “write a letter” technique, the reflection technique and the rating technique.
On the next track, we will discuss preparing siblings. This will include family discussion, the “role-play” technique and when siblings are also adopted. As you listen, compare the techniques you use with those presented on this track.
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