The EMPOWER Model: Mindset Matters

Developing Helpful Beliefs for Excellent Outcomes

As a provider of support for some of our most vulnerable community members, it’s vital that your workers are effective at what they do. But in order to be effective, each support worker must have competency in two vital parts:

Tangible Skills | Mindset Matters

Managing Beliefs About Themselves and Clients

Unlike the tangible skills which are able to be defined in a behavioural sense, mindset issues are more ephemeral. But they are just as vital to an effective worker.

Mindset matters in this situation are best described as beliefs that workers have about themselves and their clients.

These beliefs can be either helpful or unhelpful. 


Unhelpful Beliefs

 ‘I am powerless to help my clients’.
‘My clients are incapable to change’.

Helpful Beliefs

‘I have the power to help my clients’.
‘My clients are capable of growth and change’.

Taking unhelpful beliefs and helping them to become helpful beliefs is important to your staff. It will increase their ability to see potential solutions to challenges, build resilience into themselves and support it in their clients and enable them to create excellent outcomes for their clients.

Learning Aides

The EMPOWER model uses three learning aides to help workers reconcile their helpful and unhelpful beliefs.

The 3 Dialectical Dilemmas

Dialectical dilemmas are extreme conflicting emotional states within a single individual. For support workers and case workers these can include:

  1. The worker is omnipotent vs the worker is helpless toeffect change
  2. The client with unlimited agency vs the client that has no agency to change
  3. Change is impossible because of structural disadvantage vs change is possible even given structural disadvantage

In EMPOWER training, we challenge and work through these dialectical dilemmas to ensure best-practice behaviours and elevated effectiveness across the board.

The 7 Helping Profession Worker Types

In our EMPOWER training we identify seven types of ‘helping profess’ workers.

  1. The professional
  2. The technician
  3. The rescuer
  4. The social justice warrior/idealist
  5. The lived experience worker
  6. The advisor
  7. The burnt-out worker

In terms of mindset, the first two – the professional and the technician – are the most likely to be able to effectively implement the EMPOWER process and avoid compassion fatigue and turnover.

The other types can be viewed either as stages that new workers progress through as they grow in their career. Or they may get stuck there which can lead to burn out.

In our training we work through these types, identifying where each worker currently sits and finding solutions and processes to move forward where necessary.

The 7 Myths of the Helping Professions

The 8 Myths of the Helping Profession is a learning aid we use in the EMPOWER model to help workers develop a positive mindset.

  1. The Relationship Myth: Relationships are everything.
  2. The Authenticity Myth: To be authentic with clients ‘I must be “me” at all times’ or ‘to be authentic I must be “vulnerable” with my clients’.
  3. The Home Truths Myth: Clients just need to be told a few home truths then their lives will improve.
  4. The Advice Myth: Helping is about providing advice to clients.
  5. The Structural Disadvantage Myth: Clients are perpetual victims of a homophobic, sexist, racist, colonialist or ableist transphobia and, therefore, have no or limited agency.
  6. The Rescue Fantasy Myth: I am the chosen one to rescue these clients.
  7. The Self-Worth Myth: My worth is dependent on client outcomes.

Treatment Modalities

The EMPOWER model includes three Enhanced Treatment Strategies which are woven through the entire Facilitating Change process. These strategies include:

  • Adaptive Feedback – the worker verbally reinforces the client’s  adaptive behaviour
  • Adaptive Modelling –the worker models the appropriate adaptive behaviour
  • A Strengths-Based Approach –the worker enquires whether a client has identified strengths that might be applicable in the current situation.

These modalities allows us a build up a process to better interact with clients, and ensure that everyone feels safe and supported.

Tangible Skills

In addition to mindset, tangible skills are a vital element of the EMPOWER model.

It’s Time to Empower Your Staff

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