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In youth work, a client-centred approach – whereby a client identifies their focus and priority and this guides the support offered by you, the worker – is the preferred way to support clients through challenges.
The client-directed aspect of your therapeutic relationship is key to successful outcomes.
It’s difficult to expect progress where a client is not motivated to identify focus issues nor active in their approach to making changes.
In general youth work, engagement is heavily client-centred. The client’s identified focus should inform and steer conversations held between client and worker, which means conversations might never even specifically acknowledge the client’s substance use. However, where young parents or expectant mothers are concerned, if substance use is an issue, it should be addressed in your first meeting together.
Giving consideration to how a client’s lifestyle affects their child (or unborn child) is what distinguishes the client-centred approach of young parents’ program from that of general youth work. While you’ll never use scare tactics to motivate change, you have a responsibility to provide clients with as much information as possible – offered with tact and empathy – with regard to how their choices and lifestyle can affect their child’s health and safety.