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What Are “Talk-in” Clinics? A Quick Intro for Students in Community Services Worker Courses

2018-01-31 by Mark Harrington

community service worker diploma

If you’re looking to become a community services worker, then you may have heard of talk-in clinics, a new type of service that has begun appearing in Ontario. Whether you’ve heard of the term or not, you may be wondering what a talk-in clinic is. Essentially, it’s a walk-in counselling service, allowing for quick access to counsellors and support services for children, youth, and families. Each talk-in clinic may be a little different, but generally the services are free of charge.

Because of how talk-in clinics operate, they can be a great benefit to an individual who might otherwise hesitate to seek counselling due to inconveniences associated with scheduling or costs. To have some more light shed on this relatively new phenomenon, and learn why it’s so important, keep reading!

How Exactly Does a Talk-in Clinic Work?

Probably the most significant aspect of how a talk-in clinic works is that an individual seeking counselling services can simply walk in. No appointment or referral is required. The aim of this up-front approach to counselling is to significantly reduce wait times for clients. When a new client arrives, they immediately receive a counselling session rather than being put on a waitlist. If there are many people in the clinic on a given day, then a client may be offered to schedule an appointment for a later date, but the wait time in such a case is still very short.

community services worker college

Talk-in clinics are for children, youth, and their families

The benefit of being able to receive counselling immediately is that a client will receive useful feedback and steps for addressing their needs from the outset. Such up-front counselling offers clients the opportunity to explore their needs as soon as they may require it, as well as to develop strategies that may be helpful in addressing those needs. Armed with a summary of their discussion with the counsellor, they are able to leave the clinic better prepared to identify and engage in next steps.

Clients in Need of Multiple Types of Counselling May Be Able to Find Them All in One Place

Some talk-in clinics have combined multiple types of services in one place, thus allowing for improved access for individuals and families who might be in need of more than one service. Students at community services worker college know that sometimes a person may be in need of assistance on multiple fronts, and this is exactly what this amalgamation of various services is trying to address.

If it’s discovered, for example, that an individual in a general counselling session is experiencing problems related to sexual assault, then they may be referred to another service within the clinic that is specialized in addressing this particular need. In this way, clients are able to access multiple necessary services in one location. The savings this allots through reducing time in relation to scheduling, traveling, and waiting to be seen can make getting help much more accessible to many individuals.

Talk-In Clinics Offer Measures for Those in Need of Critical Assistance

Though each talk-in clinic may differ, generally only one session of counselling is offered. However, this doesn’t mean talk-in clinics are not equipped to address the needs of individuals requiring crisis counselling or timely intake for multiple sessions. Should an individual require ongoing services, assistance is provided in choosing and accessing these services, and support is also provided in the form of individualized action and safety plans to be followed when an individual is waiting for the other services to begin.

Students in Community Services Worker College Know the Important of Front-Line Assistance

Those studying for a community service worker diploma know that receiving counselling assistance as soon as possible is crucial to preventing the onset of potentially serious crises. Unfortunately, up-front counselling is not always available to those who may need it the most. In Ontario, the provision of front-line mental health care is underfunded, and the amount of youth visiting the ER seeking help for a mental health crisis has been on the rise. Direct and easily accessible support in communities for youth can help prevent such crises. The advent of talk-in clinics in Ontario can be beneficial especially for this purpose, and it will be interesting for those in community services professions to monitor further developments in this area.

community service worker courses

Easily accessible support within communities is important for preventing mental health crises

Are you seeking to enter a profession where you can help people in need?

Explore the community services worker courses offered by NAHB!

Responding To Crisis Situations In Your CSW Career

2015-12-23 by Mark Harrington

Depressed Mature Man Talking To CounsellorCrisis situations happen all the time to people in all walks of life. Whether it’s the sudden loss of loved one, medical or mental health issues, or falling victim to criminal activity, situations can arise that push people to their emotional, mental, and physical limits.

When they do, community service workers (CSWs) can offer invaluable support to people during some of toughest times in their lives. Through their work in facilities like group homes, human service agencies, and social service programs, CSWs can offer clients the help they need to rebuild their lives and come through their difficulties as stronger people.

But how should a CSW approach a crisis situation? Here are some of the most valuable things you should know about crisis management, and some common techniques experienced community service workers use:

A Guide To Crisis Intervention And Its Role in Your CSW Career

Crisis intervention techniques are the methods CSWs use to offer immediate help to people who experience situations that causes them to feel as though they can no longer cope. Depending on the area you end up working in when you become a community services worker, some crisis situations you encounter could include natural disasters, sexual assault or perhaps individuals struggling to cope with relationship changes, such as divorce. In the crisis intervention process, CSWs will assess the situation, look to calm clients down, and use problem solving techniques to deal with their situation.

People experience many different crisis situations, such the loss of a loved one.

People experience many different crisis situations, such the loss of a loved one.

Reacting To A Client Crisis When You Become A Community Service Worker

Being faced with a client who is dealing with a serious crisis can be overwhelming, particularly in the early stages of your CSW career. The first thing to do is understand the full extent of the situation. If the person is any immediate danger, such as a victim of domestic abuse, you will need to guide them to safety, and assess whether you need the help of police or medical professionals.

Even in less urgent situations, it is still important to listen and understand the trauma you’re dealing with. Individual reactions to crises can vary, and trying to put yourself in the client’s shoes will help you figure out the best approach. You should also assess the client’s state of mind, coping skills, and the social support network available to them.

Crisis Response Techniques You’ll Learn In Community Service Worker Courses

A key element of crisis intervention is education. When faced with an individual in crisis, it’s important to let them know that their reactions are normal and that they are temporary. CSWs will also explore coping strategies with clients, such as relaxation techniques, or encouraging them to write down their feelings on paper.

CSWs will then discuss problem solving techniques with clients, developing plans of action to remedy the crisis. A crisis experience can also be a learning opportunity for the client, showing them how they managed to get through the situation and giving them tools to cope with problems in the future. Community service worker courses also teach more specific methods for particular crisis situations, such as suicide intervention and addictions intervention.

 Helping people develop problem solving skills will aid their growth.

Helping people develop problem solving skills will aid their growth.

Are you interested in a career helping people in crisis situations?

Visit NAHB for more information or to speak to an advisor. 



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