Open-ended questions can help create rapport and gain more information that you otherwise would have never have known. In the case presented today the officers were able to successfully de-escalate and open up an individual by using open-ended questions. The first thing they did was not ignoring the delusions they were hearing but rather ask open-ended questions about them. This gave the individual the space to discuss his concerns and fears in an open inviting environment. Keeping the questions open-ended lead the individual to share how he was protecting himself in a self-harming way.
It is not feeding into a delusion if you ask about it. You can acknowledge someone’s concerns and fears even if they are a symptom of a mental illness. Asking about perceived fear opens the door for communication that may address public and self-safety issues.
Attached is the intake referral form from UNM when we drop someone off for an evaluation.
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