QUOTE OF THE MONTH:

# 35 January 2003

#35 January 2003
"The bamboo shadows sweep the stairs, but raise no dust."

Zen poem
from the autobiography of
Alan Watts


(continues below)

mental health professional trainings
primary care professional trainings
psychological assessment supervision and consultations
Shawn Christopher Shea
links and recommended readings

INTERVIEWING TIP OF THE MONTH

# 35 January 2003

Uncovering Hidden Stresses, Workloads, and Skills

TISA Description of the Problem: People often underestimate both their stresses and their skills. The following two tips by Naomi McCormick, Ph.D. are nice examples of areas for inquiry in the initial interview that may shed light on both of these often hidden topics.

Tip: Many people have complex care-taking responsibilities both in and outside of their homes. In this regard I find it useful to inquire about care being provided not only for one's own children but for grandchildren and children of friends as well as providing care for disabled or sick family members and for elderly family members. Such inquiries may uncover significant stresses and time commitments. They may also unveil hidden strengths such as compassion, determination, and organizing abilities.

Tip #2: Sometimes it is easy to place too much emphasis on work "outside of the home" or work for which one is paid as opposed to other equally time consuming and demanding work situations. In this regard I always make an attempt to understand the extent of other work arenas including homemaking, caregiving duties, and community/church volunteer work. These work areas are also a nice reflection of the skills and functionality of the client.

TISA Follow-up: These excellent tips by Naomi McCormick can provide springboards into many other rich arenas for future explorations with clients. I am also reminded of one other caretaking responsibility that can be both time consuming and tiring - taking care of pets. I also find that discussing a client's feelings towards his or her pets can give insights into a variety of interesting personality traits including patience, ability to empathize, sense of responsibility, and even temper problems

Tip provided by:

Naomi B. McCormick, Ph.D.
Clinical Health Psychologist
Waterloo, Iowa