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How to Interview for the Gifted Identity Formation
These suggestions will help counselors conduct
client interviews that reveal the state of identity constructs through
the 12 systems of identify formation. How clients view themselves
as gifted people within each of the identity systems begins the
work to enact rational interventions.
Suggestions for interviewers
- Before the interview, you can practice the
process on yourself or a gifted friend to get a feel for the process
and its flow.
- Use a tape recorder to do a structured interview.
When tape-recording the interview, offer a copy of the tape to
the interviewee. If you transcribe the interview tape, also offer
a copy of the transcription.
- Begin the interview by explaining the model,
including the 12 systems and the four constructs. As you conduct
the interview, it will be important to reiterate throughout the
interview the meaning of the constructs and systems to the interviewee
to foster clarity in their responses.
- Some gifted people have no recognition that
they are gifted beyond a specific talent. For instance, they might
say they are artistically talented. Start the interview with that
talent as your guidepost. In most cases as the interview itself
progresses, the individualšs broader sense of giftedness emerges.
- Because some gifted people are multi-talented,
you may interview them about their giftedness as specific talent
or overall general giftedness.
- It isn't necessary to follow the grid in any
particular order, as long as you can track the responses to the
appropriate grid "cells." Sometimes interviewees, stimulated by
the memories evoked, follow their own path among the systems and
constructs. Just manage the flow to a pace you can accurately
record and later return to those "cells" left open.
- Be sensitive to the line of questioning that
works best for each client. For example, if you find open-ended
questions work better, move in that direction and use that approach
in future interviews. For example, sometimes the interview will
take on the form of a dialogue. Let the dialogue flow, and much
of the information will appear naturally. It will be up to you
to sort out where that information fits in the grid.
- When the interviewee draws a blank in one "cell,"
just make a note. That missing information can speak volumes about
where interventions might be most valuable.
- As you conduct the interview, you may have
ideas for interventions. Keep notes, but avoid offering suggestions
during the interview.
- That said, keep in mind the interview is the
intervention. Do not underestimate the power of the gifted person
to insight change, no matter what age.
- Have people design or suggest their own interventions
to the model once the interview is completed.
- Provide the interviewee with examples of responses
as you proceed through the interview. This helps the interviewee
remain clearly focused on the specific grid "cells."
- You can also ask the interviewee to fill out
the grid prior to the interview. In a session with the interviewee
before the interview, explain the model and provide an empty
grid with the "homework" assignment for the next session. You
can fill out the grid yourself, if you know the person.
© Copyright 2001-2006 |
Andrew S. Mahoney and Associates | All rights reserved. Andrew
S. Mahoney, M.S., L.P.C., L.M.F.T., is director of The Counseling
Practice of Andrew S. Mahoney & Associates, a counseling center
for the gifted and talented in Herndon, Virginia. In addition,
he is an executive board member of the Counseling and Guidance
Division of the National Association of Gifted Children, and
a trainer and supervisor of counselors. For more than a decade,
Mr. Mahoney has explored and developed frameworks for the counseling
and psychotherapy of Gifted and Talented individuals. His work
offers a new and original perspective for those interested in
better serving this unique population.
U.S. Mail: Andrew S. Mahoney and
441-B Carlisle Drive
Herndon, VA 20170