Meaningful incentives for engagement can reinforce a young person’s connection with a service and interest in participating.
Each young person’s circumstances and preferences will determine what works as an incentive for them.
At times, incentives for engagement might stem from the knowledge that the service is reliable, useful and that practitioners will take time to listen and respond to their unique needs. Similarly, it might be the provision of a safe space or the ability to access material aid, appropriate emergency accommodation or legal assistance. Other young people might find the opportunity to develop strategies to deal with their anxiety or to work through disruptions and conflict in important relationships.
The recognition by practitioners of a client’s strengths or efforts in response to challenging situations can act as an incentive for clients. Further, recognition for goals achieved, regardless of how significant, can also help the young person learn to identify their own strengths and competencies. Workers should exercise caution in celebrating milestones. While achievements should be acknowledged it is crucial that the celebration or reward is not geared to achievements the practitioner alone values. This can also lead to the client hiding rather receiving help to learn from mistakes and perceived failures
Other incentives for engagement might be more tangible. For example, there are programs that reward engagement and participation materially by offering something useful like a cap, t-shirt or backpack to mark milestones in engagement. An opportunity to participate in a rewarding activity might also be used in the same way. Other more structured longer term programs reward participation with greater trust and responsibility as well as opportunities to participate in service planning and development.
B7. Competence seeking / looking for strengths
Young people like to see themselves and be viewed by others as competent self-managers. This element from solutions focused therapy offers practitioners a method for recognising the strengths of young people and thereby providing an incentive for engaging.