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ASWB Exam Practice: Enraged Client

booksDuring a therapy session, 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 respond FIRST?

A. Shout for help.

B. Tell the client to sit back down in her chair so that the two of you can discuss whatever is upsetting her.

C. Order the client out of the office.

D. Remain composed and speak in a calm, soothing manner.

What's your answer?

Let's take them one at a time.

A. Shouting for help is a valid option if the clinician is or is about to be physically attacked. That's not what's happening here.

B. The client is apparently unable to talk rationally about the source of her upset at the moment-and probably in no mood to take event simple orders (e.g., "sit back down").

C. 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 will most likely become angrier.

D. Though it is somewhat vague, this is the correct answer. Most people cannot maintain intense anger in the face of a calm, soothing response.

So, you have your answer (it's D).

Sometimes social work licensing exam questions use as much common sense as they do textbook learning. Combining the two can get you successfully through a big bulk of the exam. But it takes practice. Get started by signing up for complete exams.

Happy studying and good luck on the exam!

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