Importance of Contracting Skills

Establishing a contract with a customer may be a challenging task for a social worker, as their line of work often relies on complex communication skills. For this reading diary, I studied the chapter on contracting skills by Lawrence Schulman. This topic is highly important to me since it is my task to establish the initial connection with parents whose children visit the school I work at. The main idea of this reading was the necessity of tailoring a personalized approach to connecting with each new customer.

The importance of showing genuine care and good intentions is known to each social worker. Outlining one’s expertise is a necessary part of the first interview with a new customer in this line of work (Shulman, 2016). My experience from the in-class conversations gave me an idea regarding clients’ needs and expectations. Learning more about this topic allowed me to see new opportunities to engage a customer in a dialogue, especially when there is apparent resistance from their side. It might be challenging to deliver information regarding the benefits of support from a social worker to parents without adequate comprehension of their situation. Therefore, I tried to start my conversations with parents by introducing positive qualities that I have observed in their child’s behavior before addressing their issues.

In conclusion, contracting skills are essential for a social worker, as each client presents a unique case that requires an individual approach. This topic reminded me about the challenges of meeting with parents of problematic students. In my practice, I often have to meet parents from low-income families whose attitudes towards such conversations could be overwhelmingly negative. In this chapter, I have learned how to deal with resistant clients by searching for points of connection (Shulman, 2016). I will utilize this knowledge in my future meetings to be more considerate and observant of my clients’ behaviors that may indicate such opportunities.


Shulman, L. (2016). The skills of helping individuals, families, groups, and communities, enhanced (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.

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