I watched the Parker Family case recently, in which a social worker helps a mother and her daughter, who have difficulties getting along.
Apparently Mrs. Parker and her daughter Stephanie’s issues started since Stephanie’s father passed away. They were unable to hold a conversation with each other without it resulting in a disagreement. In fact, they couldn’t agree on anything. However, after talking to the social worker, they both agreed to one point, that the fighting had to stop. They were able to open up to the social worker due to her display of empathy and understanding with which she steered the conversation.
All throughout the discussion, with first Mrs. Parker and then Stephanie, the social worker displayed warmth. Her empathy and sympathetic manner made them feel at ease in talking to her (Gerdes & Segel, 2009), and sharing their household problems with her. The simple acknowledgment of a person’s predicament without necessarily agreeing to it makes it easy for them to communicate freely, and understand your point. Listening without passing judgments, makes the other person feel that their message has been conveyed in an effective manner (Finkle, 2010). This is the method used by the social worker in the video, and this has helped both the women to comprehend the nature of their troubles and realize that help is not only needed, but it can be efficient in eliminating the harmful aspects that have sprung up in their relationship with each other. Finally, it can be noted that with her genuine warmth and empathy, the social worker has pulled both the women on the track to first recognizing and then solving their issues. Two people who couldn’t stand being in each other’s company because of the constant fights they had are now willing to work on their problems, and be assisted by an intensive case manager, who would help them further.
Finkle, L. (2010). Without Judgment, without Assumptions: Keys to Effective Listening Skills | Incedo Group.Incedogroup.com. Retrieved 22 June 2014, from http://incedogroup.com/without-judgment-without-assumptions-keys-to-effective-listening-skills/
Gerdes, K., & Segal, E. (2009). A social work model of empathy. Advances In Social Work, 10(2), 114--127.