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Learning Experiences with Linear and Systemic Questioning Essay

In this paper I will have a detailed interview process laid out in order of focus. First, I am focusing my interview on the background of my partner and what motivates her to go to school and further her education. Secondly, I will ask her why she chose to specialize in her field of work and what are side hobbies or enjoyments that she does besides working towards her career goal. Lastly, I will be asking about her family and their views on education. I will be asking both linear and systemic questions to get my answers.

I have looked up the meaning of linear and systemic questioning and their differences before writing out the questions I am using for Michele. I feel like this assignment has helped me to understand and recognize the difference in the questions being asked and which ones will give me a more detailed answer. Learning Experience with Linear and Systemic Questioning I am doing an interview process with Michele Renner to learn more about her as a student, professional, and person. I know that this assignment is a stepping stone to learning all I need to know to be a MFT.

The interview process will teach me how to reply and question in a professional matter and how to talk with a complete stranger without there being any uneasiness. I believe that this interview essay is relevant to my education needed for MFT work. I think it is a great way to quickly get to know a part of my fellow classmate’s life and see the inside without having met her yet. Michele has a very busy life, I know this much from reading her introduction in class. She has six children and that isn’t the only thing keeping her on her toes.

I admire the fact that she is continuing her education despite all that is going on in her life; it shows that her motivation is strong. Michele not only has a strong motivation for continuing her education but a very inspirational story. Question Development Michele chose education to be the main focus of our interview process with me as her interviewer. I have lined up eight linear questions and seven systemic questions all around the topic of education and how it affects her family and time with extracurricular activities.

My questions are listed in Appendix A. Since Michele only chose education I was able to format my questions in a way to gain more insight on her everyday life by asking how education affects her, her kids, her spouse, and her work. All the questions are relevant to my case and were not over personal or intruding. She was a great person to talk to and I could imagine myself laughing with her over coffee or in an actual counseling set up. Linear Questions

I developed my linear questions based on the information she may be willing to share. I am asking some closed questions that only require a short answer and some open questions that will follow with the systemic questions I have lined up next. The open ended questions will give Michele a chance to go into further detail with the question and her answers. Linear questions are questions that are problem explanation and definition questions, they usually begin with Who, What, Where, When, and Why?

They are investigative questions that lead up to gaining some insight to the person you are talking to but they don’t give a full explanation. The limitations of linear questions are that they are narrow, short-term questions and don’t get to the heart of the problem. Short-term, linear approaches have several inherent limitations. First, they are based on a problem-solving model that is more associated with American corporate thinking than with client suffering and therapeutic healing.

Typically, the model includes the following sequence: (a) identify the problem, (b) consider various interventions to solve the problem, (c) choose the best interventions, (d) apply the interventions, (e) assess progress periodically, and (f) modify the interventions as needed. This clear-cut, linear approach appeals to executives, administrators, and others in positions of authority and has proven itself effective as an approach to solving problems in corporate and other settings.

It is no accident that the trend toward streamlined, linear approaches in clinical work coincided with the rise of managed care and its corporate mentality (Ackley, 1997; Miller, 1996c). Linear questions don’t help the client without the involvement of also another form of questions. Using linear questions alone are ineffective to getting the desired results from the client, which can leave the client and the counselor both feeling misunderstood and upset. Systemic Questions I developed my systemic questions based on what my linear questions were about.

I wanted to make sure some of the questions were the same type of question as my linear question but worded in a circular way that would get me more detailed answers and more depth behind her answers. Systemic questions are both circular and reflexive. They are behavioral effect questions, difference questions, hypothetical future questions, and observer perspective questions. The reflexive questions are intended to indirectly influence the family and are predominantly facilitative. The circular questions are more exploratory as the counselor tries to discover the way everything is connected together.

Because the distinction between lineal and circular may be regarded as complementary, and not just as either/or, these assumptions and their associations may overlap and enrich one another. Most therapists have internalized these concepts to varying degrees and probably operate with both sets of ideas, but in differing ways, with differing consistency, and at different times. Although these assumptions and presuppositions tend to exert their effects covertly and non-consciously, they still have a significant effect on the nature of the questions asked.

Hence, this second dimension adds considerable depth to an understanding of differences among the questions asked. If the therapist assumes that influence only occurs indirectly, through a perturbation of preexisting circular processes in or among family members, the influencing questions are considered “reflexive questions. ” (Tomm, 1988, p. 3). If the therapist has established a Batesonian cybernetic orientation toward mental process, and has developed skills in maintaining a conceptual posture of circular ypothesizing, these questions will come easily and freely.

Two general types of circular questions, “difference questions” and “contextual questions,” have been associated with Bateson’s fundamental patterns of symmetry and complementarities. The Interview When I called Michele I was immediately at ease with her as a person. She was very upbeat and forthcoming with her information. After asking her how she was I jumped right into the questions. I explained to her which questions I was doing first and how many there were for each linear and systemic questionings.

She had no problems going into elaborate detail about her life and why she is doing what she is doing today, she talked as fast as I could type her answers! Since I did not have a recorder I did have to ask her to repeat herself if I did not finish typing the answers that she was giving me but she was very nice about it and as soon as we concluded our interview I made sure to immediately formulate the answers into more coherent sentences while it was all fresh in my mind.

Interview Themes The themes and content that came out of this interview with Michele are few. One theme or content that was revealed to me was that her inspiration for education came from her mother who did not complete high school. The content that came out from the systemic questions would be how supportive her family is even though it is a financial strain on them. The linear questions brought out her main reasons for wanting her education and the systemic questions went into more depth of what the education means for her and her family as a whole. Theme one.

The first theme would be her mention of her mother and losing her father when she was young. She brought up her mother quite a bit in our interview and I could tell that her mother was a great factor in her decision to keep going to school no matter how long it took her to succeed. She is very proud of her mother for the way she was, raising children alone with no degree and no financial backups. Michele doesn’t want her kids to ever have to worry about wanting or needing things and she wants to get her degree to be able to enjoy what she loves doing most.

Theme two. The second theme is that of finances. She did bring up the fact that she has been in school for a very long time because she is only taking one class per quarter so that she can pay for it and still have time to do her work, school, and family life in a balance that is easier on her. She teaches her children that it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get there, it is important to have dreams and goals and make them come true. The future of her children won’t be as hard on them as it was on Michele growing up. Interviewer Role

Stance. As an observer for the linear questions I realized that the questions were straight to the point without asking for more detailed information from Michele and it was pretty basic. I felt that I was getting to know Michele through my linear questions but I was able to understand more through the systemic questioning. My systemic questions were open-ended questions that helped our conversation go into further detail because Michele felt that the questions opened up for her to go into more of her life story. Relationship with the interviewee.

I started each set of questions by letting Michele know what type of questions I was asking. She was very forthcoming and she said that some of the questions I asked her were really good because she hadn’t thought about it in the way that I asked it. She is a very nice person, easy to talk to and get along with. We talked about how we both found Capella, the weather changes, and the state we live in. The systemic approach definitely went into further detail but I feel like I gained a lot of insight from the linear questions as well. Multicultural/diversity issues.

Michele and I did not talk about cultural backgrounds as she only wanted to talk about her educational background. I feel now, that I could have incorporated some cultural questions into the topic of education. We did talk about her family and how they are very supportive of her career and educational goals and we never stepped on a touchy subject that made her hesitate to answer me. Curiosity. I am naturally a very curious person about other people and how they think and what they do and why they do it. So it was no problem for me to ask more questions on top of the ones I have listed.

I knew by intuition which topics not to go into further detail with her about since I don’t know her that well and it was irrelevant to her education. One thing I wanted to know was more about her dad. I did however; ask her about her grandparents influence and more about her mother. My curiosity helped me to see in greater detail the aspects of her relationship with each member of her family. Assessment of Interviewer. I really liked the questions that I asked, and I was polite and made jokes so that we were on easy footing.

I do think back on the interview and wish I had asked different questions because some of them seemed to be repetitive even though she answered them each in a different way. For example, What made you change your path to this specific one? Was a question I asked after asking why she chose being an MFT. She had answered in the previous question the answer to both questions which turned out to be one and the same. I had chosen that question because in my experience most people at one time had wanted to be something else first and then changed their mind later in life.


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