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ASWB Exam Practice Question – A Client Suddenly Becomes Enraged…

angryHere'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) become angrier.

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 response.

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 practice tests.

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!

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