reflection on the engagement process assess your competence

Introduction and Alignment

Self-awareness and reflection are critical to developing the ability to engage with clients as a social work professional. In this activity, you will reflect on how you currently relate to others, how this may affect your engagement with clients, and opportunities you have to improve your communication in a provider-client relationship. You will also have the chance to ask questions and express concerns about the engagement skills and strategies described in Chapters 5, 6, and 8 of Social Work Skills for Beginning Direct Practice. Consider how these skills and strategies translate to your working relationship with your client population at your current field placement or in your future social work career.

Upon completion of this assignment, you should be able to:

  • Utilize reflection and self-regulation to manage effectively the intersection of personal and professional values. (PO 1)
  • Create empathic client engagement that leads to empowerment and growth. (PO 6)


  • Textbook: Social Work Skills for Beginning Direct Practice
  • File: Journal Worksheet: The Engagement Process.pdf

Background Information

Healthy, productive relationships are central to the effectiveness of social work practice. The engagement phase occurs at the beginning of the social work process, sets the stage for the provider-client relationship, and then recurs throughout the social work process. The development of positive, collaborative relationships in the engagement phase contributes to effective interventions by building client openness and commitment to protective interventions as well as giving hope about the change process (Yatchmenoff, 2005). Effective engagement, particularly with difficult clients or clients who are in vulnerable or high-risk situations, requires a combination of skills and values. Ongoing development as a helping professional involves a commitment to refining your engagement skills. This activity models how you can reflect on your skills and practice with an eye towards self-awareness and self-improvement.


  1. In your textbook, Social Work Skills for Beginning Direct Practice, read Chapter 5, “Basic Skills for Direct Practice”, Chapter 6 “Advanced Social Work Skills for Direct Practice”, and Chapter 8 “Intake and Engagement”.
  2. Review the assessment criteria in the grading rubric below to understand the grading guidelines for this reflection.
  3. Download the file Journal Worksheet: The Engagement Process.pdf. On the worksheet, complete the following:
    1. Assess your current level of competency in the critical areas of social work practice listed on the worksheet.
      1. Reflect on your ability to execute each engagement skill or strategy before choosing your rating. Strive to provide an accurate rating of your abilities today as they apply to each concept or skill.
      2. You may refer to the readings for this activity to help clarify each concept or skill before rating your ability.
      3. Include any notes, questions, or concerns that you may have about your engagement competency so that your instructor can respond to them.
    2. Respond to each of the writing prompts. Think about your ability to demonstrate key relationship qualities in the engagement process, any communication pitfalls you may strive to address in your practice as a social worker, and your use of engagement skills and strategies with the client population you currently work with or plan to work with as a social worker.
  4. When you’ve completed your reflection, save a copy for yourself and submit a copy to your instructor using the Dropbox. This assignment is due by the end of the workshop.
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