Australasian Housing Institute

Working with Complex and Demanding Clients

Housing, community and health personnel work with clients who may experience serious mental health problems, substance abuse dependency, relationship conflict, family dysfunction and/or disordered personality. These clients may present as aggressive or abusive and, on occasion, such interactions can lead the worker to feel overwhelmed and distressed.

Recommend course:


This one-day workshop aims to assist people in delivering quality client services to those whose situations are complex and whose behaviour is, at times, demanding and challenging. It will enable staff to develop strategies and communication skills to work more effectively in such client situations.


  • assessment of complex situations
  • introduction of de-fusing and de-escalation skills
  • use of assertiveness skills
  • self-management
  • sharing local knowledge of appropriate agencies for additional expertise and referral

Workshop participants will explore the critical issues of working more effectively with complex and demanding clients. They will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of, and practical use of, strategies and intervention techniques that may be of use to them in such work situations.

While the workshop may not be able to address each specific concern that all trainees may have – or provide ideal solutions for each and every situation, the goal is to share an array of strategies and ideas that may be helpful to the worker.

Learning Outcomes

  • gain a greater understanding of complex and demanding clients
  • examine staff attitudes and expectancies of working with complex and demanding clients
  • develop communication skills for use with complex and demanding clients
  • examine relationship-building skills
  • develop an assessment strategy
  • gain a broad appreciation of diverse intervention strategies
  • understand and articulate limitations of work practice – and mechanisms for assertive referral and personal / professional support
  • identify relevant community networks

Who should attend?

This workshop is aimed at housing, community and health personnel whose work involves direct contact with clients.

Workshops details:

Time: 9am-4pm
Presenter: Dr Steve Morgan
Price: $325 for AHI members, $420 for non-members
Discount: 20% for bookings of 5 or more


Tuesday 2 October 2018 - Sydney, TBA

Wednesday 17 October 2018 - Canberra, TBA