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Working with Hard-to-Engage Service Users

This course examines the often-frustrating experience of trying to engage with service users who resist being supported. The day begins by defining 'hard-to-engage' via numerous examples from practice after which the delegates move on to look at how and why someone would end up resisting support. A discussion on the differences between resistance and reluctance is followed by three sections of the day that shine light on how to minimise resistance without creating conflict or escalating tensions. These are the drama triangle, the cycle of change, and the key interpersonal skills that should encourage engagement. The day finishes with a section on boundaries and the consequences of non-engagement, and on keeping the worker motivated despite high levels of stress.

· What do we mean by hard-to-engage?
· How and why do service users become hard-to-engage?
· Resistance vs. reluctance
· The cycle of change
· The drama triangle
· Key interpersonal skills for encouraging engagement
· Boundaries and contracts
· Keeping the worker motivated
· Resources, contacts and further reading

This course is very interactive and is designed to give delegates a good overview of the key issues on the agenda. The trainer will employ a mix of group work, case studies, role plays, and visual presentation throughout the day.

By the end of this course learners should be able to describe:
· Some of the key reasons why service users become hard-to-engage
· How the cycle of change can encourage engagement
· How the drama triangle can be used to avoid increasing tensions
· Some of the key interpersonal skills that should foster engagement
· The need for boundaries and contracts when working with hard-to-engage service users
· How to remain motivated at work despite working with hard-to-engage service users

This course is relevant to anybody in the voluntary sector who works with people who are hard to engage, or who wishes to know more about this topic. The course is suitable for both frontline staff and managers.


The delegates will receive a certificate of attendance upon completion of the course.

Motivational Interviewing
Boundaries & Good Practice