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The Helping Interview




There are many sorts of ‘helping interviews’ – but they all have one essential objective. Helping is all about assisting people to manage, and perhaps solve, problems. It is about creating action opportunities to change situations. It is important to have trustworthy people in life to share and discuss problems. Such people might be family members, work colleagues, friends or teachers. Whoever it might be, any person who is involved in a caring role with another person can also take on a therapeutic ‘helping’ role if committed and willing to do so.

When something starts to go wrong in people’s lives, often through no fault of their own, they look to helpers to provide information, ideas, and (possibly) solutions. Common situations of this type include a student seeking assistance from a teacher, a child being guided by a parent, or a worker seeking advice from a colleague. Each situation is an opportunity to provide significant assistance
by exploring emotions, gaining insight into perceived difficulties and guiding people towards possible change. People who require help tend to trust people who are socially and culturally similar to themselves. They are more likely to share with people who are happy to listen and understand. They do not want to feel threatened by helpers and they prefer to talk to people who are basically ‘neutral’ in their attitudes and beliefs.

A person requiring help can be ‘emotionally charged’, and
 the circumstances can be personal in nature. Depending on the problem, the person might be experiencing embarrassment, shame, or guilt. Helping such people therefore requires tact and diplomacy. It requires an empathic awareness that everyone has a problem at some stage in life. This chapter discusses the many sorts of helping interviews. Helping is all about assisting people to manage (and perhaps solve problems). It is about creating action opportunities to change situations. This chapter discusses the many sorts of helping interviews. Helping is all about assisting people to manage (and perhaps solve problems). It is about creating action opportunities to change situations. Guidance is provided for achieving the best outcome possible.


Contents include

  • skills and knowledge
  • willingness to help
  • coping circles
  • the process
  • using the tools
  • common errors in communication techniques
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Author / Editor Biographies

RN. MN and Cert IV (Workplace Assessment and Training).
Hugh is a nurse consultant and educator with a master of nursing qualification, majoring in community health. He has extensive hospital and community-based experience as a mental health clinician where his clients included those affected by various forms of dementia. Hugh is well known as an informed and engaging teacher and his topics include psycho-geriatric aspects of care. Also, he is the author of the publication Counselling and Interviewing for Carers: A Basic Guide.

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