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Structured Interview

The family addictions assessment interview is a very vital process as it gives useful information concerning addictive behaviors that may be inherent in a given household (Torres et al., 2004). The procedure enables counselors to launch an actual family addictions counseling by querying all the addicted members of the household. This paper creates a structured interview of a family with an addicted family member using the six phases of assessment interviewing.

Phase One – Identification

The goal of this phase is to help the household in choosing who should take part in the assessment interviewing. Typically, the family decides on the participants depending on determinants like family dynamics and age (Doweiko, 1990). When assessing a family with an addicted family member, young children who would not give appropriate responses during the family addictions assessments interview are not supposed to be a part of the interviewees . They could stay with a support staff member during the interview or play in the next play therapy room. When evaluating a family system that comprises of an alcohol-using husband (Joseph), non-alcohol abusing wife (Jane), and one teenage boy (John), the following are the typical assessment questions that the counselor would use.

The Structured Interview

Counselor: Do you believe the children should participate in the interview?

Wife: ……………………………………………

Husband: ………………………………………

Counselor: Are there other family members who could give reliable information on your addiction behavior?

Husband: …………………………………….

Wife: ……………………………………………

At the conclusion of phase one, the counselor should have already determined the exact number of the family members who would take part in the interview. The participants in the case above would obviously be the husband, the wife, and the child, but other extended family members like the grandmother, grandfather, and siblings of the husband could also give dependable and accurate information on his addictive disorder (Doweiko, 1990).

Phase Two – Introduction

The goal of this stage is to minimize the anxiety of the family members, especially the ones chosen to participate in the family addictions assessment interview. The counselor would succinctly highlight the scope of the evaluation by first introducing himself or herself and then welcoming the participants (Torres et al., 2004). Through the brief introduction, the family members would build confidence in the ability of the counselor to help them in the situation, and they could open up and propose the best way that the therapist could be of much help to the addicted family member.

The Structured Interview Questions

Counselor: Hello, my name is Geofrey Goodwill. I am a therapist here at the Jersey Medical center (hypothetical). Your being here today implies that you are committed to help your family be free from alcohol and other kinds of addiction. The purpose of this activity is to allow me understand who you are and how best I can handle the interview towards achieving an effective outcome. You know Joseph better than I do; hence, you would be his consultant for the better part of this interview. Is there any opposition to the goal of this meeting today?

Jane: ………………………………………

John: ………………………………………

Counselor: John, have you accepted to take on this task? Is it your will to see your father free from alcohol addiction?

John: ………………………………………

Counselor: Jane, you have been married to Joseph for more than twenty years now. Is it okay with you to help your family engage in this addiction recovery assessment until its conclusion?

Jane: ………………………………………

Counselor: Since all of you are willing to participate in this program, I would advise you take the program positively. It may seem to be disrupting your normal life criteria, but it is for the better good of the family. A positive outcome from this program would depend on the strength of the entire family. Even if a positive outcome does not come as soon as you may have been expecting, it is advisable to preserver with the negative outcomes for better ultimate result.

Jane: ………………………………………

Phase Three: Strengths Assessment

This step aims at enabling the family members to describe the means by which the addicted household member meets his or her current needs. In addition, the stage is crucial to the identification of the ways in which both the family and the counselor can assist the addicted individual to terminate his or her addiction behavior. This coordination is especially important in promoting a continued positive perception of the addicted family member.

The Structured Interview Questions

Counselor: Joseph, how do you feel when Jane (your wife) tells you that she loves you?

Joseph: ……………………………………

John: ………………………………………

Counselor: Sometimes people do not know how to respond to situations when the person they love is addicted to alcohol and other substance abuse. Jane, if you could tell Joseph one thing about what he should do to avoid his addiction behavior, what would you say?

Jane: ………………………………………

Counselor: Joseph, what comes to your mind when your wife says all that to you?

Joseph: ………………………………….

Counselor: Jane is undoubtedly saying that she loves you and feels so hurt that you continue with your addiction behavior incessantly. Joseph, do you believe she is right about her position?

Joseph: …………………………………

Counselor: John, what would you tell your father about his addiction? How does his addiction affect your life? What would you have him do?

John: ………………………………………

Phase Four: Drinking and drugging history

This phase enables the counselor to understand the addicted person through the observations of the other family members. The process involves gathering as much information as possible from the family members and using this information in evaluating the current addiction level of the person. The counselor, however, should end the process of information gathering if it is likely that the truthful statements could jeopardize other family members (Junkie & Hagedorn, 2006).

The Structured Interview Questions

Counselor: It is undeniable that Joseph is ready to continue with this assessment process. Your presence here is also an indication that you wish to help in whatever way possible. However, Joseph has been truthful in whatever he says. Therefore, all of you should provide sincere and accurate information. Is that right, Joseph?

Joseph: ……………………………………

Counselor: Being truthful does not also mean showing disrespect to Joseph. You only provide the information about what you know through experience and observation of Joseph. John, is that okay with you

John: ………………………………………

Counselor: Jane, we will start with you. When was the first time you saw your husband drinking alcohol ?

Jane: ………………………………………

Counselor: When did you realize alcohol drinking had become a problem in his life?

Jane: ………………………………………

Counselor: Have you ever seen him using other addictive substances like LSD, marijuana, and cocaine?

Jane: ………………………………………

John: ………………………………………

Phase Five: Reestablishing

The goal of this phase is to ensure that the data collected is sufficient . The data supports generation of an accurate and thorough comprehension of the substance abuse of the addicted family member to come up with effective goals of treatment (Torres et al., 2004).

The Structured Interview Questions

Counselor: If 10 indicates perfection in the accuracy of our data and 1 shows not at all accurate, what score would you assign as far as our understanding of Joseph’s drinking problem is concerned?

Jane: ………………………………………

John: ………………………………………

Counselor: John, whereas your mother has selected a score of 8, you have chosen a score of 3. It suggests you do not consider the data very accurate. Can you explain to help me understand?

John: ………………………………………

Counselor: Thank you John for the explanation. Jane, I would suggest you both be more committed towards helping Joseph get through this problem. John, are you committed in assisting him to have a successful recovery?

Counselor: Good. What are some of the things you need to see in Joseph in order to boost your dedication towards helping him?

John: ………………………………………

Counselor: Joseph, what are you going to about your addiction recovery to receive maximum support from your family members?

Joseph: ……………………………………

Phase Six: Conclusion

According to Torres et al. (2004), this stage ensures that the family members have a sense of closure relating to their participation in the assessment. The phase gives a summary of the positive agreements and highlights from the session and allows for a discussion on other concerns and thoughts regarding the outcome.

The Structured Interview Questions

The counselor would ask the following questions:

Do you all believe the session was helpful?

What other issue would you like us to discuss?

People struggling with addiction are often susceptible to negative effects of high-risk factors like suicide and a feel of rejection. Therefore, the counselor should bring these issues to their attention, and offer appropriate guidelines for intervention. They should get the business card of the counselor a 24-hour helpline in case the addicted individual resorts to these actions.