Practice Exercise 5: Seeking Clarification and Further Understanding

Practice Exercise 5: Seeking Clarification and Further Understanding

Practice Exercise 5: Seeking Clarification and Further Understanding

Exercise Objectives
  • To practice asking questions to seek clarification, allowing silence, and gaining specific information about person, problem, and situation.

Step 1: Preparation
Form groups of three people. Each person will have the opportunity to play the roles of client, practitioner, and peer supervisor. Each meeting will last about 10 minutes.
Client Role
  • Think about a problem you can discuss with the practitioner.

Practitioner Role

  • Review expressing understanding and using questions to gain more understanding of the problems or challenges, person, and situation.
  • Review using questions to seek clarification:
  • Clarifying the meaning of words and phrases (e.g., “In what way is he mean to you?”).
  • Exploring the basis of conclusions drawn by the client (e.g., “What leads you to think that he is planning to leave you?”)
  • Eliciting further clarifying information (e.g., “Do you mean...?”; “Are you saying...?”).
Peer Supervisor Role
  • Review expressing understanding, using questions to seek clarification, and using questions to gain an understanding of the problems or challenges, person, and situation.
  • Listen to whether topics related to person, challenges, and situations are adequately covered.
  • Prepare to record theresponses of the practitioner and to keep track of the time.

Step 2: The Client Meeting
Client Role
  • Tell your story stopping after every few sentences to give the practitioner a chance to practice using his or her skills.
Practitioner Role
  • Use all of the skills and behaviors you have learned so far.
  • If the client does not discuss an important topic related to person, problems, and situation, then ask questions to more clearly understand these areas.
  • Use questions to seek clarification and allow silence when appropriate.
Peer Supervisor Role
  • Keep track of the time and tell the practitioner and client when 9 minutes are completed so the practitioner has time to summarize what has been covered and close the meeting.
  • Check off the beginning and ending skills used by the practitioner. In order to evaluate the practitioner’s use of skills, the peer supervisor will write down each practitioner statement and question.
  • Give the practitioner one point for each response that expressed understanding, for each questioning response, and for each area covered within the categories of person, problem, and situation.
  • Write down each of the practitioner’s statements and questions, or you can tape record the interview and transcribe or listen to the tape.

Step 3: Feedback
Client Role
  • Describe how you experienced the practitioner.
Practitioner Role
  • Evaluate your use of skills that seek clarification and how well you covered person, problem, and situation.
  • Identify any inappropriate responses.
Peer Supervisor Role
  • Give feedback to the practitioner from your notes on skills that seek clarification.
  • Evaluate how well the practitioner covered the key points related to person, problem, and situation.
  • Using the evaluation form, check off each response used.
  • Give feedback on inappropriate responses. One point is deducted for each inappropriate response.
  • Evaluate the practitioner’s use of the core interpersonal qualities of warmth, empathy, and respect. (All of the scales are in Appendix A.)
  • Record the feedback in the practitioner’s book for future reference.

Evaluation Form: Seeking Clarification and Further Understanding

Name of Practitioner ______

Name of Peer Supervisor ______

Directions: Under each category (in italics) is a list of behaviors or skills. Give one check mark, worth one point, for each skill used by the practitioner.

Building Relationships

Beginning Skills

Give one point for each topic covered by the practitioner.

1.Introduce yourself and describe your role.____

2.Seek introductions.____

3.Identify where meeting will be held.____

4.Identify how long meeting will last.____

5.Describe the initial purpose of the meeting.____

6.Explain some of the things you will do.____

7.Outline the client’s role.____

8.Discuss ethical and agency policies.____

9.Seek feedback from the client.____

Closing Skills (for a meeting)

Give one point for each skill used by the practitioner.

1.Practitioner identifies that the meeting is about to end.______

2.Practitioner provides a summary of the meeting ______

3.Practitioner reviews any tasks that the client agreed to complete.______

4.Practitioner discusses plans for future meetings. ______

5.Practitioner invites client feedback about the work.______

6.Practitioner asks client about any final questions. ______

Skills that Express Understanding

Give one point for each skill used by the practitioner.

1. Reflecting feelings ____

2. Reflecting content____

3.Reflecting feelings and content____

4. Summarizing____

5.Exploring meanings____

6.Identifying strengths____


Questioning Skills

Give one point for each skill used by the practitioner.

1. Expressed understanding before asking questions____

2.Asked open-ended questions when appropriate____

3.Asked one question at a time____

4.Asked closed-ended questions when appropriate____

5.Asked questions about strengths____

Problem/Challenge, Person, and Situation

Give one point for each topic discussed.

Problems or Challenges

Previous attempts to solve problem_____

History of the problem(s)_____

Severity or intensity of the problem(s)_____


Feelings about having the problem(s)____

Effects of the problem(s) on other areas ____

(such as health, sleeping, ability to function at school

or work)

Personal strengths____


Effects of the problem on other persons_____

Available social support and/or strengths in environment_____

Other demands and stresses in the situation/environment_____

Seeking Clarification

Give one point for each skill used by the practitioner.

1.Exploring the meaning of words and body language_____

2.Exploring the basis of conclusions drawn by client_____

3.Eliciting further clarifying information_____

4.Allowing silence______

Common mistakes or inappropriate responses (subtract 1 point for each)______

(Giving Advice, Reassuring, Offering Excuses, Dominating, Leading Questions, Labeling, Interrogating).

Core Interpersonal Qualities

Using the scales in Appendix A, evaluate the appropriateness and effectiveness of the practitioner’s expression of empathy, warmth, and respect. On the following lines write the scores, from 1 to 5, for warmth, empathy, and respect.

Score for warmth_____

Score for empathy_____

Score for respect_____