People sit at table having tense conversation

December 16, 2020

Confidently confront difficult conversations

For social workers, difficult conversations are part of a broad landscape of interactions necessary to achieve the best outcomes for children, youth and families. The updated training “Advanced Guidelines for Difficult Conversations” will give you the tools to feel prepared to manage these exchanges effectively and with respect.

By definition difficult conversations bring together opposing opinions and high stakes, with the potential for conflict and negative emotional reactions. Though challenging, these interactions are essential to working through problems and finding solutions, something at the core of carrying out effective social work practice. They are part of communicating well with families, and can also surface in professional environments.

This course will begin by taking you through a self-assessment of your own comfort level, and help you understand your own emotions and how to maintain objectivity. You will then engage in discussions around how to develop a goal or mutual purpose for these conversations, considering what all parties want to achieve. You also will talk about how to develop a safe space for having these conversations, a vital element in creating open dialogue. You will break into small groups with other participants to work through scenarios with all the skills you have just learned.

At the close of the training, you will know how to create mutual purpose and ensure safety when having difficult conversations as you move forward. This will give you the tools to develop conversation goals to strategize case planning for families you work with.


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