HMSV 491 – Family Guidance

General Instructions for Family Interview Paper

In a 3 to 5 page paper, students will select a family to interview (not your own immediate family). The interview should be at least 20-30 minutes long. Prior to the interview, stress confidentiality and let your family know that pseudo-names will be used. Also, inform your family the purpose of the interview and who will be reading the interview paper (your professor)! During the interview remember to:

  • Hear from everybody in your family.
  • Be observant
  • Make them comfortable, only talk about what they want to
  • Take notes in shorthand and write out interview points ASAP after the interview. Or, if the family gives permission you can record the interview.

Interview Guide Questions

Interview the family using the following interview guide.

  • Family Description:
  • Tell me about your family (who are the members of your family?) Who lives with your family, approximate ages, SES, marriage length, who is missing, why? etc.).
  • How does your family spend time together (what they enjoy doing together, Family STRENGTHS)?
  • What culture do you identify with?
  • What values are important to your family?
  • Stressor (A): What’s one stressor that your family has experienced that you feel comfortable talking to me about? When did it happen, how long did it go on?
  • Resources (B): What resources did your family utilize? Did you gain assistance in coping with this event through your own personal self, social supports (i.e. friends, family members), community, etc.)?
  • Perceptions (C): How did you and your family define this event? (What were your thoughts, perceptions, beliefs about this event?) What feelings did you have going through it? What was your initial reaction/ did it change? What is the significance of this to your family? How did the kids (all members) react? 
  • Outcome (X): What was the outcome of this stressor (i.e., did your family adapt to the stressor, cope with the stressor, become more resilient, etc. or did your family have trouble recovering from this event? In what ways is your family different now than before the stressor)?

Instructions for Writing the Paper

  • The purpose of this paper is to summarize your interview with the family and to apply each element of the ABC-X model of family stress. So, make sure not to write your summary as a paper; NOT a word for word account of the interview. Your paper should include all items above (A-E).
  • Your last 1 to 2 paragraphs will include a brief reflection about this experience. (The following questions can be answered in this reflection). What feelings did you have before, during and after the interview? What was it like to examine this family through the ABC-X model of family stress? How might this experience help you as a future human service professional?

Grading rubric: The paper is worth 40 points and the attached rubric will be used to grade the paper.

Rubric:  Personal Reflection Paper on Family

(Total Points Possible = 20)

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