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The Use Of Silence

The Use Of Silence

The Use Of Silence

Imagine you are talking to a friend in a coffee shop. The conversation is punctuated with long stretches of silence, during which you are each watching those around you. Are you comfortable with that silence, or are you anxious to fill it? Social workers seek to avoid thinking of silence as awkward. Instead, they need to cultivate silence as a tool for gathering information about their client. How a client reacts to silence can be very telling; is the client squirming uncomfortably, disengaging, or reflecting on the conversation?

In this Discussion, you explore silence as an interviewing skill that assists you in learning more about your client.

watch the Southside Community Services video.

  • Describe two times when there was a moment of silence in the conversation between the social worker and the client.
  • Explain whether these moments of silence were awkward or helpful to the interviewing process. Include an explanation of how the client appeared to feel in these moments.
  • Explain whether or not these moments of silence helped the client share information.

Cummins, L., K., & Sevel, J., A. (2017). Social work skills for beginning direct practice: Text, workbook, and interactive web based case studies (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.


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