Probing for key issues and clarity

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 Read the cases in the Probing for Key Issues and Clarity Worksheet . For each of the three cases, follow the prompts provided in the worksheet to create an empathic response, develop two types of probes (one question and one statement), and provide a succinct summary as to how the probe might help the client move forward. 


Probing for Key Issues and Clarity


Probing for Key Issues and Clarity

Probing for Key Issues and Clarity Worksheet

The purpose of this assignment is to give you an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the probing process. For each of the cases below, create an empathic response, develop two types of probes (one question and one statement), and provide a succinct summary as to how the probe might help the client move forward.

Once you have completed the worksheet, submit it in the assignment area by the designated deadline.

Case 1:

A young lady, recently hired, is discussing her feeling about her boss.

“The more I do, the more the boss seems to expect. He is never satisfied and is always finding fault. I have not been at this company very long and really do like my job, but the boss is difficult. I think I should start looking for another job because I cannot take it anymore.”

Empathic response:

Question probe:

Statement probe:

How might it help the client move forward?

Case 2:

Tina, a teenage girl, talks about her recent dramatic weight loss.

Tina said she is upset that her mother is constantly nagging her about her weight. She has lost 22 pounds recently, counts calories extensively, and works out vigorously every morning and evening. Tina says, “I am ‘fat,’ and I weigh myself several times each day.” Tina said she often feels offended and reacts defensively when her mother and father try to talk to her about her weight loss and eating habits.

Empathic response:

Question probe:

Statement probe:

How might it help the client move forward?

Case 3:

Tom is a resident in a halfway house and was recently released from prison.

Tom said, “I was feeling lonely because I was recently released from prison and didn’t have any friends in this city. So I wrote a letter to the mother of one of the other residents in the halfway house. Well, this was a big mistake, because she got offended and started calling me all kinds of names that were very negative and derogatory. I was just trying to make friends, but this backfired and now I feel worse than I did before this happened.”

Empathic response:

Question probe:

Statement probe:

How might it help the client move forward?

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Probing for Key Issues and Clarity

Probing for Key Issues and Clarity

A 25-year old law student is talking to his academic advisor:

“I learned yesterday that I’ve flunked out of school and that there’s no recourse. I’ve seen everybody, but the door is shut tight. What a mess! I know I haven’t gotten down to business the way I should. This is my first year in a large city and there are so many distractions. And school is so competitive. I have no idea how I’ll face my parents. They’ve paid for my college education and this year of law school. I’ll have to tell them that It’s all down the drain. “

Empathetic Response (Formula)

You feel that the punishment is not fair because there are no other options and the situation is so final.

Question Probe

Which people did you see and what doors are shut?

Statement Probe

I am not sure who you mean by everybody and it’s not clear which doors are completely shut.

How Might This Probe Help the Client Move Forward?

It might help the client identify possibilities that he has overlooked because of the emotionality surrounding the situation.

Probing for Key Issues and Clarity

Now it is your time to practice. Following the previous template, create an empathetic response. Develop two types of probes-a statement and question-and provide a succinct summary as to how the probe will help the client move forward.

A high school senior is speaking to his teacher:

“My dad told me the other night that I looked relaxed. Well that’s a joke. I don’t feel relaxed. There’s a lull right now, because the semester break, but next semester I’m signed up for two math courses, and math really rips me up. But I need it for science since I want to go into pre-med.”

Probing for Key Issues and Clarity

Take a moment to think about what you have heard. What Empathetic Response would you give? What Question Probe would you use? What Statement Probe would you try? How Might the Probe Help the Client Move Forward?

Empathetic Response (Formula)

You feel overwhelmed because of the challenges your coursework will present next quarter.

Question Probe

What challenges are you expecting from these courses next semester?

Statement Probe

It is not clear what challenges you perceive will occur in these courses next semester.

How Might This Probe Help the Client Move Forward?

It might help the client identify areas of need so that he can identify supports or resources to help him be successful.

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