Social Workers Reflect on Engagement with Involuntary Clients


Social Work

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper


Carol F. Kuechler


For social workers, engagement refers to the process through which clients become active and involved in their treatment. Involuntary clients, or clients who are legally mandated or feel pressure to seek treatment, struggle with engagement and are often viewed as being resistant. This study examined the engagement process through interviews conducted with social workers who have experience in working with involuntary clients. Five social workers discussed the engagement process and strategies they use to encourage the engagement process with involuntary clients. They emphasized the importance of giving the clients choice and control over their treatment, and having the capacity to genuinely like the client. Motivational interviewing and relational approaches were cited as beneficial for fostering engagement with involuntary clients, a view that is consistent with previous research.


involuntary clients, engagement, mandated clients

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.