Phase 1

Engage with the Client System

In the Engage phase, the social worker has two main goals:

1. Develop collaborative relationships with all key systems

These include the client (or clients), as well as other systems in the client's environment that can be enlisted in the process of moving toward the desired change. These include social service agencies, neighbors, community development organizations, places of worship, schools, friends, and relatives.

2. "Tune in" to the clients' narrative, or story

The "tuning in" process, first articulated by Lawrence Shulman, includes getting in touch with the client's feelings about their situation, and the effects of culture, history, and social structure upon their story; it also includes getting in touch with your own feelings about these clients and the challenges they face.

My Engage Tasks

Task 1

Read the case files for individual members of the family, including client histories, concerns, and goals. Take notes to help you remember each one.

Task 2

Learn about family relationships by reviewing the ecomap. Add information from the case files you find relevant for the ecomap. Critically consider how each family member might view the ecomap differently, what those differences may mean for their experiences and outcomes, and how you can approach the engagement process with each family member individually and with the entire Sanchez family. What unanswered questions do you have about the Sanchez family members—as individuals and as a family unit? How could your engagement efforts provide valuable insights into these questions?

Task 3

Peruse the town map of the Sanchez family’s community. What can you say about the resources in this community as they relate to your clients’ goals? How could you engage some of these key resources as part of the helping process, as well? What resources not seen on this map do you think might be important?