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Using the ParentingWell® practice approach, the first step in establishing a positive, family-focused relationship with an individual is asking about their family situation and whether the person is, hopes to be, or has ever been a parent. Respectful, non-judgmental questions about parenting and family life along with other significant domains (e.g., work, education, and training) promote normalization, community inclusion, and the person’s engagement with the practitioner, with the community, and with others who may offer support.

The process of relationship-building with a parent begins even before the person steps through the door. For example, respect is conveyed by the ways in which appointments are made and kept and in which phone calls are received and returned. The purposeful sharing of your own experiences with a parent may help to build trust and confidence in the relationship.

The initial engagement process lays the foundation for conveying and exchanging information, for making plans to address identified challenges and goals, and for promoting recovery and resilience. Engagement is a process that continues throughout any relationship. Talking with parents about important life domains and attending to engagement over time will enhance your alliance with them.

RESOURCES AND TOOLS