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5.3: Client Interview

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    The Assignment

    The student is to interview a client or a significant other person in the client’s life.  The purpose for the interview will depend on two factors:

    a. The way a particular organization serves a special population
    b. The student’s role in that organization

    In some cases, the student’s role in the agency will already include interviewing and in others he/she will have to go outside this assigned role in order to complete this assignment. In either case, the student must discuss the assignment with the Supervisor and together decide who will be interviewed, for what purpose, and under what conditions.


    The student must abide by confidentiality as outlined in the Human Services Code of Ethics.  Therefore, ALL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION ABOUT THE CLIENT MUST BE DISGUISED.  Students should note that the information gathered during the client interview may be discussed in seminar.  Therefore, it is vitally important that the student follows strict code of confidentiality.      


    The purpose of this assignment is for students to demonstrate an understanding of the interview as a process.  Although the interview serves as a learning experience for the student, it should also be of value to the agency and to the person being interviewed. For example, if the student is placed in a classroom or social group setting with children, interviewing might not be among the assigned duties. On the other hand, an interview with a parent in the home where the focus is on the child’s life outside the group might be helpful to the agency staff and to the parents. The purpose of the interview and the interview outline will differ according to the person being interviewed. The student will need to meet with his/her field work supervisor and discuss details and to determine the process of the interview before the student interviews the client.


    At no point during the interview should the student probe areas of the person’s life and background outside the stated purpose of the interview. If the person being interviewed volunteers additional personal concerns the student should inform the Supervisor and if it seems appropriate, encourage the client to talk with the therapist, social worker or other appropriate person.

    Interview Structure

    All interviews have structure: a beginning, middle and end

    1. The beginning involves establishing a relationship with a client
      and defining the purpose of the interview with him/her. I.e., introductions and purpose and process of the interview.
    2. The middle or content of the interview is the gathering of information about the situation, feelings, and behavior. Here the interviewer collects information relevant to the stated purpose of the interview.
    3. The end is a summary of what has taken place emphasizing the strengths and needs of the situation and an agreement for future activity, and terminating the interview.
    4. More details about the interview will be discussed in Seminar. The specifics about the interview will depend on the student’s role; this assignment could be an intake interview or social history.
    5. The interview will need to be submitted as a typed document.

    5.3: Client Interview is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Wendy D. Bratina.

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