“Tell me …” Powerful Skills for Interviewing Children and Adolescents

“Tell Me … ” Powerful Skills for Interviewing Children and Adolescents

(includes the Life Field Diagnostic Interview and resources for interpretation and planning)

Contains Ethics Credit


James D. Sutton, Ed.D.

P.O. Box 672

Pleasanton, TX 78064

(830) 569-3586


Program Focus:

For the child service professional there seems to be no end to the conflicts and concerns presented by young people. Accurately assessing those concerns, however, is hardly an easy task. This recently revised program focuses on a creative, informative, and highly effective format for identifying emotional, behavioral, and adaptive difficulties in school age youngsters.

Participant Benefits:

Quickly gain diagnostic impressions that can be documented.

Obtain information from the child that accurately reveals how that youngster views his or her circumstances.

Easily develop goals and plans for intervention and support.


Needs Addressed by this Program:

Sometimes in the training of educators, counselors, social workers, and other child service professionals, extensive skills of administering and interpreting a structured interview with children and adolescents are not addressed. Not only is there a strong need for these skills, the need intensifies whenever ethical issues surface. This is especially true with issues involving the handling of sensitive information obtained from minors. This program serves this need, offering participants a protocol and a process for gaining increased insight and information about the concerns of the youngster being interviewed. The program also shows professionals how to interpret this information and incorporate it into a meaningful plan for intervention.

Intended Audience of this Program:

The program is appropriate for counselors, special education teachers, school psychologists, social workers, supervisors and directors, case managers, family based services personnel, and other child service professionals.

Program Objectives:

As a result of this program and the accompanying workbook, participants will be able to:

1. Capitalize on the Ten Commandments for Interviewing Children and Adolescents, including ethics and issues of establishing rapport, confidentiality, and the effective use of posturing, voice, and vocabulary.

2. Gain insight into the power of an interview specifically structured for use with children and adolescents, including the power of its funnel-like construction and its use of multi-structured questions.

3. Consider how the interview’s four essential Life-Fields of School, Peers, Home and Community, and Self combine to create a comprehensive “picture” of a child’s emotional, behavioral, and adaptive functioning.

4. Learn the process of administering the interview, with special attention to advanced preparation and the specifics of opening and closing a session with a child.

5. Focus interpreting information obtained from the interview.

6. Develop targeted goals and plans for intervention and support.

7. Benefit from the knowledge and insights gained through the study of several actual interviews.

8. Take away a comprehensive 32 page book containing reproducible interview protocols and interpretive worksheet.

Program Description:

This program teaches a valuable skill of interviewing children and adolescents in a highly structured and meaningful fashion. Critical techniques of rapport building are presented, and the interview protocol is covered in detail as it addresses the ethical practice of collecting information regarding a child’s Life-Fields of School, Peers, Home and Community, and Self. In conclusion, this program addresses the interpretation of material obtained through the interview, and suggests how this information can be used most effectively in the development of goals and plans for services and support to the child.

This program involves a lecture methodology, with planned activities and opportunity for group “brainstorming.” The program uses a 32 page workbook.

NOTE: This program acknowledges the fact that there can be a connection between youngster’s affect and behavior and a dysfunctional family system. This connection can involve drug and alcohol abuse or dependency, as well as other compulsive disorders. For this reason, this program would be an excellent one for professionals working in the field of drug/alcohol awareness.

Qualifications of the Presenter:

James D. Sutton, EdD

Texas Psychologist License # 2790

Texas Professional Counselor License # 06979

Texas Licensed Specialist in School Psychology # 6154

Texas Education Agency certifications–see vita

Certified Speaking Professional

Credit Hours Granted:

This program was developed to provide six (6) clock hours of credit (.6 CEUs), and includes 3 clock hours of ethics.

Program Agenda:

8:30 — 10:00


Ten Commandments for Interviewing Children & Adolescents

10:00 — 10:15


10:15 — 12:00

The Power of a Structured Interview

Conducting the Interview

12:00 — 1:00


1:00 — 2:15

Conducting the Interview (Cont’d)

Interpreting the Interview

2:15 — 2:30


2:30 — 4:00

Developing Goals & Plans for Support & Intervention

Study of Case Examples

Questions & Answers