Here's a free practice question for the social
work licensing exam. See how you do:
During a meeting with a social worker, a client suddenly
becomes enraged. She stands up, slams her fist on the desk, and
throws a book across the room, breaking a picture frame. How should
the clinician FIRST respond?
A. Shout for help.
B. Order the client out of the office.
C. Speak in a calm, soothing manner.
D. Tell the client to sit back down in order to discuss
whatever is upsetting her.
What do you think?
Not sure? Sometimes the best way to approach questions like
these isn't to think back to textbook teachings. It's to imagine
yourself in the situation. A client starts acting out, throwing
things, breaking things. What would you do?
Shout for help? Shouting for help is a valid option if the
clinician is or is about to be physically attacked. But in this
situation, it risks escalating the angry behavior.
Order the client out of the office? If a clinician orders a
client to do something, the client may interpret this as an attempt
to gain general control over her behavior, and may (most likely)
Discuss issues? The client is probably past the point of being
able to talk rationally about the source of her upset. Talking
about it now will probably only lead to more rage.
Which leaves just one answer, however vague it may be: speak in
a calm, soothing manner. This is the correct answer. Most people
cannot maintain intense anger in the face of a calm, soothing
Is that what you'd do? Is that how you answered? Either way,
you're now that much closer to being prepared for the ASWB exam. To
get much more prepared, sign up for SWTP's complete, 170-question
Our tests have rationales, like the ones above, for each answer
of each question. Plus a suggested study link for more details
about the question topic. Like this one about
handling patient (aka client) anger.
Happy studying and good luck on the exam!