Assignment #1: Engagement Strategy

This assignment is designed for you to apply culturally appropriate strategies to engage and build rapport with a difficult client case. In each vignette you are asked to consider how you (whom the client is meeting for the very first time) could develop a working relationship and to support your intervention strategies with the assigned reading material in the syllabus. When reading the vignette, think about the unique strengths and challenges each client presents and how you can use that knowledge to build rapport. Consider the cultural, spiritual, religious, and filial identities that each client in the vignette displays and apply your reading to understand the unique considerations for each case.

This assignment relates to student learning outcomes 1, 2 and 6.


Pick 1 Individual #1 Lorella

Lorella is a 61 year old trans* Caucasian female who is seeing you for case management services. She is gaunt in appearance and is slow to speak with her words. She is currently living in a hotel and appears to be wearing dirty clothes. She tells you that she is able to afford living in a hotel when she gets her social security check at the beginning of the month but by the middle of the month, she sleeps in her car or a family friend’s home because she runs out of money due to the cost of her hormones. She is seeking case management services for money management and food assistance. She says that she had put her nephew in charge of her bank account a few years ago but he did not manage her funds well and she lost all of her savings. She would like to get to a place of having funds again, but she feels that until she is done transitioning, no one will hire her for work as a flight attendant. She says she’s been to a few social workers before, but like all cisgender people, hasn’t felt like she is truly understood and that there are people out there who know how to help.

#2 Mika & Joe Mika is a Japanese-American 45 year old female and Joe is a 39 year old African-American male who are meeting with you to discuss their desire to have a baby. Mika says she has been trying to get pregnant for about a year but has had no success. Mika reports that she only has “one chance” for in-vitro since her employer’s insurance will only pay for a portion of it and she only has savings for one co-pay. She feels it is Joe’s sperm that is affecting them as he has been smoking marijuana daily for most of his adult life and Mika read somewhere that marijuana can decrease his sperm count. Joe immediately yells at Mika for telling you that information and tells both of you that he is here to support Mika, but not to discuss his personal life. He has two other children with his ex-wife and he has had no problem in trying to conceive before now. Joe appears guarded and only speaks when prompted by you or Mika. Mika is open and appears anxious to push blame on Joe, but isn’t open about her own personal feelings regarding health and lifestyle.

Please consider the following questions in your engagement strategies:

This paper is only about engagement.

1. What is (are) the major obstacle(s) in engaging this client?

2. What is your clinical countertransference in working with this client? Please use the first person tense for this section.

3. What does the literature/research say about engagement with this client?

4. What is your strategy to engage this client considering all your answers above?

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