Engaging people in assesments who are anxious

Discuss what to expect in job and course interviews, what topics might be covered, how to manage anxiety, and how to get the desired result!
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Syd2816
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 9:42 am

Engaging people in assesments who are anxious

Post by Syd2816 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:56 am

I recently had an interview and was asked a question about how I would engage a person in an assessment if they became anxious halfway through. I thought I gave some good points about empathising with the person/understanding what they are finding difficult, adapting my communication to support their understanding, taking a break, understanding how anxiety would affect their performance etc. However, the feedback was that I didn't quite give enough detail about how I would finish the assessment in a practical sense. I feel like I'm losing points on stuff that I do everyday but I cant quite reflect and put into words each stage!

Does anyone have any ideas about what else I could have said? Also, ideas around this question relating to working with children who are becoming anxious during an assessment would be helpful.

Thanks! :D

Alexander
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Re: Engaging people in assesments who are anxious

Post by Alexander » Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:56 am

I can relate to your experiences. I sometimes find it hard to enrich answers to hypothetical questions like this. An obvious answer to you question (though you probably won't like it) is to be more precise. You said you replied "adapting my communication to support their understanding." Appreciate that basically anyone could say the same thing without a) knowing what that sentence means or b) having actually done it. You can demonstrate both a) and b) by providing detail, such that the above becomes "I reduced the length of my sentences, simplified the complexity of the words I used and frequently checked-in with the client to make sure they understand by asking things like 'did I explain that OK?' When I checked in, I phrased the question about understanding such that any failure was implicitly my fault and not the client's."

An alternative way of responding to this question might be to literally imagine the scenario during the interview and role play your response to the interviewers. It wouldn't need to involve the interviewers, you could just imagine what the client might say, describe it to the interviewers and then roleplay your response.

Syd2816
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 9:42 am

Re: Engaging people in assesments who are anxious

Post by Syd2816 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:56 am

Thanks! That's some really helpful ideas :)

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ell
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Re: Engaging people in assesments who are anxious

Post by ell » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:36 am

Perhaps they also wanted to hear about how you would make a decision about whether or not to continue with the assessment, and if you didn't, how you might rearrange to complete it, or think about other options. That might round off your answer.

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miriam
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Re: Engaging people in assesments who are anxious

Post by miriam » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:10 am

I also like to think about unpicking what came before the point of the question. In this case, what could you have done to prepare for the appointment to help with engagement, as this may have helped you to find out that the client was anxious? What could you have done to set up the appointment to make it more likely to be successful if you knew the client was anxious?

So my answer would be something along the lines of "if I saw they were anxious I'd .... But I normally like to read the file or ring up and find out about what the barriers to engagement might be, and to think of a few things that might be safe topics of conversation or relate to their interests to help them calm down and feel capable. And of course when I do assessments I set up the room/do introductions/provide rationale and reassurance/involve someone they know and trust.... to help the client feel at ease. And I ensure my body language, dress, way of speaking etc is as un-intimidating as possible by..."
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

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