Developing empathetic relationships and working in a solution-focused way
This chapter gives guidance for working in an optimistic and solution-focused way, which has been shown by Chris Trotter to be very important in increasing the likelihood that the worker will be an influence for positive change. While the worker has to place themselves in the ‘worker’ role, an empathic relationship is also a respectful one and they have to be aware of other potential dynamics in the relationship over and above the worker/client relationship. Solution-focused work emphasises that people have problems rather than are problems and it also recognises that problems happen to people in the social environment in which they operate. Clients have often been judged formally or informally by society and often will have been sanctioned for being deviant. They may have been in a cycle of activities that emphasise punishment and/or control for years and seen any short-term changes come to nothing.