FREE Practice Question: Initial Interventions

Posted by Asya Mourraille

December 6, 2017 at 3:25 PM


This week our free MFT practice question focuses on the topic of initial interventions. FYI: the exam looooves this topic. You are guaranteed to see a good number of questions asking you about the very next thing the therapist is going to do in the case presented. So what do you have to think of here?

Well, the first thing is of course going to be safety. If the client is dealing with any sort of medical or substance abuse or crisis issue, you are going to pick an answer that addresses that issue first. And what if there is no crisis described in the stem? Well, then you are going to have to put your clinical hat on and meet the client where they are. Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? It actually can be tougher than you think. Let’s put this knowledge to use and take a look at this week’s free practice question.


Karl, a 46-year-old retail store manager, comes to therapy at the suggestion of his best friend. During the initial assessment, Karl tells the therapist that he is happily married to his wife Nicole and they have two children together: Nina, 9 and Taylor, 16. The reason Karl is seeking help is due to his ongoing frustration with his son. “He never listens to me or my wife. All he wants to do is hang out with his friends, be on his phone, and stay locked up in his room,” Karl states. “At this point, we are ready to pull our hair out. Nothing we do works,” he adds while requesting new techniques to help deal with Taylor. What initial intervention should the therapist consider in this case?

A. Normalize Taylor’s behavior as part of a normal adolescent stage of development

B. Invite Karl’s wife and son to come to therapy since both of them are such a large part of his presenting complaint

C. Acknowledge Karl’s struggle and comment on how frustrating youngsters can be

D. Suggest that Karl come up with a short list of activities that his son enjoys and invite his son to participate in them

So, what do you think? Leave your answer in the comments below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for the answer and a discussion of the rationale!

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