The Relationship as a Catalyst for Change

Sharon B. Berlin

in Clinical Social Work Practice

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780195110371
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199865680 | DOI:
 The Relationship as a Catalyst for Change

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This chapter reviews a number of perspectives on the components and functions of the therapeutic relationship, and examines relationship guidelines offered by traditional cognitive therapy models. It goes on to offer the C-I perspective on the relationship and provides practical suggestions and examples that practitioners can utilize to maintain a balance between relational acceptance and challenge, and between openness and adhering to boundaries that protect the main purpose of the worker-client encounter. The main relationship strategy discussed and exemplified involves entering into the client's meaning system: listening, feeling, and extending one's own memory patterns in order to get a first hand sense of the client's reality. This kind of close connection to the client's experience allows the practitioner to offer responses that will both fit with the client's sense of things and offer useful challenges. In addition, this level of understanding almost always generates an authentic attitude of respect for the client.

Keywords: acceptance and challenge; openness; boundaries; meaning system; listening; feeling; extending memory patterns; respect

Chapter.  17675 words. 

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