Stage 2.7   Examine

How to make a diagnosis of the problems at hand


The major considerations in examining the problems, needs, and circumstance of a designated client system are these:

  • Above all, make some kind of diagnosis. Try to find out what the client needs before you charge in with "solutions."
  • Identify and list the obvious symptoms as stated or presented by the client.
  • Look for second-level symptoms that may underlie the obvious ones.
  • Infer underlying causes when you see patterns of symptoms, but do not assume them when you lack sufficient evidence.
  • Identify opportunities and strengths as well as problems and weaknesses.
  • Look at your client group as a "system" and construct a diagnostic inventory from a systemic viewpoint.
  • Work with the client to define meaningful, obtainable, and measurable goals.
  • Try to get maximum participation from members of the client system in the diagnostic process.
  • Always consider the impact of diagnostic information on your relationship with the client. Even if you must confront the members of the client system with unpleasant facts about themselves, try to do it constructively, stressing the benefits of changing rather than the horrors of their present state, and using specifics, not general and sweeping indictments.