By Stephanie H. McConaughy
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Extra resources for Clinical Interviews for Children and Adolescents: Assessment to Intervention
Thinking about thinking). This has been described as “metacognitive thinking,” because it allows individuals to simultaneously imagine both sides of a social interaction. , “She thinks that I like him and he likes me”). Although metacognitive thinking represents another advance in social reasoning, it can also lead to embarrassing complications, especially in romantic relationships. Some adolescents who are experiencing emotional and behavioral problems may not have the capacity for this type of thinking, which can be a major factor in the poor quality of their social relations with peers and adults.
To facilitate communication, you should limit the length and complexity of your questions and comments. Use short, simple questions that do not contain embedded clauses and phrases. Garbarino and Scott (1989) suggested limiting questions to only three to five words more than the length of the child’s usual sentence. This is a good rule of thumb for interviewing children of all ages, but especially young children. ” As another general rule, try to use open-ended questions that do not require a “yes” or “no” answer.
A good general strategy is to summarize key aspects of what you learned about the child in the interview and then tell the child what general or specific issues you want to discuss with parents, teachers, or other important parties. Most children will be comfortable with this approach, especially if you explain that discussing important issues with other people can help everyone figure out how to solve identified problems. The following is an example of a concluding discussion with a 7-year-old girl: I: “Well, that was a pretty long talk about a lot of different things—school, your friends, your family, what makes you happy, sad, and mad, and things that are problems for you.