Initial interview and strategic data collection

After we received the confirmation from the applicant that he has a problem, that he could not solve, and he asks for our help, he becomes a customer! Now, starts the data collection phase.  The task is to receive vital and specific data about the presented difficulty, the way the customer dealt with the difficulty, and setting the treatment goal. The goal is to get the most possible and relevant data, in order to obtain the result that has been set along with the customer. At this point it is important not to take a position before collecting sufficient data.

– Information should be of strategic value; detailed and clear so that one can use it. When a customer says he is “looking for himself” this is the kind of information you can’t do something with it. But if the applicant says he is making efforts to change occupation, then it’s much more concrete statement that enables a practical reference for it.

– The reports should focus on observed behavior, on what we can see and hear.
– Statements about ideas and thoughts are very important if they are followed by behavior descriptions.
The way a person interprets his behavior, and the behavior of others, enables the therapist to identify the client’s position, his worldview that is manifested by various declarations.

In most cases it is difficult to get clear and well defined information. Therefore, we have to put a pressure on the client, slowly and gently, until we get the sufficient descriptions. This stems from the reality of which applicants give information, in most cases, that is too general and vague. In such a situation it is difficult to create a clear picture of the situation described by the applicant. We have to remember that the focused problem-solution brief-therapy, does not seek to reach the “objective” truth but the close description of the situation, as the applicant describes, in order to be able to help him in accordance with his personal worldview.

Such vague, general, descriptions are for instance: “We do not communicate”, “I’m not really fulfilling myself”. In such cases it’s a need to put the applicant in focus. Questions for clarification can help very much: “Can you give an example of how you do not communicate?  Or, “When you will fulfill yourself, how will it be for you? ”
When dealing with more than one person, at the same time, it’s a need to get a description from each person present in the session, about his given difficulty, taking into account that they can be significant differences between them.