Directive Listening Responses

Directive listening and action responses are considered directive because they place interviewers in the position of director, choreographer, or expert. To be used effectively, directives require interpersonal and clinical sensitivity. They also require basic knowledge of psychopathology and diagnostic skills.

In some ways, because directive responses are so influential, we should probably wait to discuss them later in this text, after a thorough review of assessment interviewing. Why then, do we include a description of responses such as interpretation, confrontation, and advice giving before we discuss assessment techniques?

To conduct assessment interviews, you must know the complete range of responses available. Assessment interviewing requires both nondirective and directive responses. In addition, unless you have a grasp of all responses available to you, you may use advanced directive techniques inappropriately. Therefore, we present some of the following information not so you can master directive or depth psychotherapy skills, but to whet your appetite for more advanced training.

Directive listening responses may be primarily client-centered or they may be primarily interviewer-centered, but they are always used to focus the interview on a particular topic or assessment issue. At their foundation, directive listening responses operate on the assumption that clients need guidance or direction from their therapists.

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