Challenging Situations

Week 4 Discussion

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Challenging Situations

Human services professionals often encounter challenging situations involving dilemmas and problems that have no apparent or easy solutions. These challenging situations might not even relate to the pertinent interview topic, and can result in the interview going off topic. Although it is virtually impossible to prevent challenging situations from arising, human services professionals prepare themselves by developing strategies for addressing such situations and refocusing the interview on the relevant information.

In this Discussion, you will explore challenges that might arise during a structured human services interview. You will place yourself in the role of the interviewer and propose strategies that might help to address challenging situations. You also will explore the potential impacts of these strategies.

To prepare for this Discussion:  

  • Select one of the following structured interview situations to examine in this Discussion:
    • You are conducting an interview with Michelle, a 16-year-old mother who is in need of financial and educational services to support her child. During the benefits assessment you ask Michelle to describe who lives in the home with her. She informs you that she lives with her 24-year-old sister; her 3-month-old son; and her boyfriend, who is her son’s father. When you ask if anyone in the home generates an income, Michelle tells you that her boyfriend has a job, but says, “Don’t worry, he doesn’t always live with us, so his checks don’t really count, right?”
    • You are completing a preliminary intake interview at the local community health center. In gathering basic information from a new patient who is seeking services for chronic headaches, you ask about medication/drug use. The interviewee, a 25-year-old man, says, “I just sell…don’t take. Next question?”
    • You just completed a multipage intake form with a new interviewee at the interviewee’s home. The interviewee answered all of the questions you asked with some hesitation and was reluctant to speak with you. As you prepare to leave the interviewee’s home, she asks where you are going with the forms. She asks that either you erase some of “that stuff about the personal legal history” or that you let her keep the interview form and bring a copy to you later at the office.
    • You are interviewing a new client for a jobs program. When you get to the second page of required questions, you notice one that you find quite offensive and embarrassing. Your “gut reaction” is to simply skip the question.
  • Select one strategy you might use to address the challenges posed in the situation you selected. Think about how using this strategy might help maintain the focus of the interview as well as adequately address the challenge.
  • 300 words

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