The client–worker relationship in men’s behaviour change programs: Key findings and future directions
This is an edited summary of key findings from ANROWS research Exploring the client-worker relationship in men’s behaviour change programs.
This study explored perceptions of the client–worker relationship in men’s behaviour change programs (MBCPs), including the purpose, value and meaning of the relationship, and factors that were perceived to affect its development.
- Facilitators of MBCPs can build personalised client–worker relationships, using self-disclosure to forge an emotional bond and build trust with participants.
- These personalised client–worker relationships can create an environment conducive to behavioural and attitudinal change.
- There is a risk of collusion when facilitators have a strong emotional investment in participants.
- Collusion can be prevented if facilitators regularly:
- make clear statements about the professional purpose of the relationship
- challenge participants’ attempts to collude
- maintain good relationships with supervisors, where the challenges of the client–worker relationship can be openly discussed.
- Maintaining personalised client–worker relationships can heighten the emotional load on facilitators and this can manifest in gendered ways.
- The value of the client–worker relationship in facilitating behaviour change should be recognised by organisations and steps should be taken to help facilitators maintain personalised relationships.
- The emotional load experienced by facilitators and the gendered way this can manifest should be recognised at management and organisational levels.
- Flexibility in funding models is needed to allow participants to return to programs once they have completed the modules, to enable behaviour change to be sustained in the long term.
ANROWS Research to policy and practice papers are concise papers that summarise key findings of research on violence against women and their children, including research produced under ANROWS’s research program, and provide advice on the implications for policy and practice.
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2020). The client–worker relationship in men’s behaviour change programs: Key findings and future directions (Research to policy and practice, 15/2020). Sydney: ANROWS.