Section 1: Introduction
The post-course interview took place in my apartment on December 1, 2019. My volunteer for the interview was a mutual friend. We shared a new and friendly relationship with my volunteer, whom I met for the second time. My friend introduced me to the volunteer during our first-time meeting. However, my friend had known him many years ago because they were living in the same neighborhood after he moved to the United States from Colombia at nine years. Since I had met my volunteer only once before and the day of the interview was our second meeting, I lacked adequate knowledge about his life, which helped us to maintain a professional encounter. I set up two seats in the living room in my apartment to create a professional setting for a therapeutic interview. I ensured that no one else except the two of us was at home to make the volunteer comfortable. Besides, the choice of the apartment as the interview setting was intentional to help us to communicate in a quiet and relaxed environment. Before commencing the interview, I informed the volunteer that he would remain anonymous. Therefore, we would not use his real identity throughout the interview. We could only collect information relevant to the conversation and only use it for the post-course project. He also reviewed and signed informed consent.
The interview focused on the overwhelming experience of the volunteer having moved to New York City recently. He acknowledged that he had some expectations, but the experience was not easy. He sometimes feels lonely and sad. He has to navigate and understand the city to be successful while working and living there. He feels a lot of pressure having to live and work in a different town and facing the pressure to be independent. However, he speaks about the value of self-love and appreciating oneself because it is hard to be dependent while living in a new vast city. Although he mentioned that he had been overwhelmed by the change, work, and relationships, he acknowledges that things are getting better for him because he has understood the value of self-love. It is always hard for someone to open up to a stranger, but my volunteer did an excellent job of being honest about his new life and how he felt about it, including the loneliness and the feeling of entrapment. In the final section of the video that I did not transcribe, the volunteer spoke about how he has avoided constant posting on social media because of the information about himself that such messages relay. He says that he is confident in his self-love and does not post to have people reach out.
Section 2: Transcription
The following section is a 10-minute transcription of the interview (0:00-10:00). V is the Volunteer, while T is the Therapist. The transcription is the conversation between V and T.
T: 00:03- “What brings you here today?”
V: 00:19 – 00:26- “mmm…I think I wana talk about … the transition between my moving to a new city…New York, and I think dealing with, you know, being independent, but also learning how to, kind of, navigating through the city and new relationships”
T: 00:37 – “Tell me more about that”
Intervention: open – ended question: I asked the volunteer to give me more information regarding his feelings upon relocating to New York. The intervention was critical to give more insight regarding his emotions after relocating to a new city.
V: 00:41-03:20- “ya…so I moved here in January, this year, for a new job…I find it great. I live at the 20th street. I work at the city. And I think, I always wanted to know what it feels to live in New York…how incredible it would be…how fascinating. But I soon realized getting here that it was a bit challenging because it is such a vast city that at times, you know….you are trying to make plans, like it takes a week …it takes a month. I made a friend, Kyla, who moved here in April, and I have been able to see her twice. It suffocates, makes you feel like, in a sense, not really sad, but lonely. Just because you wana be able to like hang with people, but you can’t. It feels you feel like, to me…like you are not good enough. It’sis hard to maintain…you know… like not feel trapped. And I think, its interesting. There are people around you, but you still feel like you can’t, like join what is going on around you.”
T: 02:24 – “So you feel lonely?”
V: “02:25 – 03:23 – “yes, at times … I feel, at times being here in the city has taught me, I think self-love. And I think also appreciation. Just learning how to be on your own. Yes, I feel lonely because personally, I would wish to be around other people, but it has taught me to do things on my own, like not taking the subway one day and walking towards work. like going to the movies … going to see a show by yourself. That has brought a sense of not being surrounded by a lot of people. Not because of the schedule. Because you just want to focus on yourself. Yes, I feel lonely at times, but it has made me stronger.”
T: 03:25 – “What does the word self-love mean to you?
V: 03:26–04:14 – “Appreciation for, I think, one’s value, right. I think being able to do things on your own and not depend on people. Being able to know your worth. If you are in a relationship, you know, and you are putting more effort than the other person, that deters your self-worth. Realizing how much you give and how much you should receive.”
T: 04:02– “How are you feeling today?”
Intervention: Open-ended question: The question was meant to assess self-growth in the part of the volunteer. I wanted to know whether he felt as lonely now as he was when he first relocated. The intervention was effective because it enabled me to discover how the client had grown since January when he moved to New York from Chicago.
V: 04:05 – 04:08– “Today, I am feeling a little lot better. I think talking about it and realizing things.”
V: 04:10 – 05:25 – “Yes, I think I feel lonely at times, but I am getting to be more independent and not rely on so many people. For the first time in my life, I am putting myself first. And I think with the many friendships, many relationships… I think with self-love, it become well. You know…I am currently in this sort of like a relationship with somebody. It going really great, but I feel like I am putting so much effort into it. I think Can’t stop being lonely. We are together, but I get to see this person once a week. Sometimes I feel like he doesn’t even care. Ya, I feel like am texting…I am sending articles … or being I wish you are here, doing this, but he is not really reciprocating. It goes back to me being innocent, lonely, but also being independent…I don’t need someone to be happy.”
T: 05:27 – “Looks like you have a lot is in your mind…relationship…and moving here… and work”
Intervention: Open-ended question: I reaffirmed the statement to ensure that I understood what exactly the client felt regarding the relocation and the major changes in his life. It would give him an opportunity to express his feelings and emotions. The intervention was effective because it allowed me to explore deeper into the emotional state of the volunteer.
V: 05:47 – 07:24 – “Yes, I would say yea, a lot is in my mind. Transitioning to a new city, new job, making friends. It’s definitely a lot to take in. being in a big city, feeling all these sorts of emotions. It can definitely be a lot. I don’t think I felt like this when I first…prior to moving here I was living in Chicago. And when I first moved there, I felt a little loneliness. But I think I delved too much into work and tried making new relationships. That feeling kind of went away, but here…yes, I really do love my job, but I feel like there is a constant reminder…oooh there is so much things going on. The fear of missing out. I am dealing with a lot of it right now. I am living with roommates here and I didn’t have such in Chicago. And with them its like, you know, we are trying with our schedules, but it is so hard because one of them wants to go out, the other one can’t. being here, there are so many activities…so many things. In summer, there’s parks, there’s going to moves…there are all these things around you. Timing…how do you balance that?”
T: 07:26 – “You feel like you are missing out”
07:28 – 09:59 – “Yes, I think timing…relationships. I think figuring out logistically, like what is important. It is not easy. You know, my friend Kyla… she lives in Brooklyn, planning to see her, we have to plan and that brings back to…its like lets hang out somewhere on Tuesday…then, there is planning…then something happens and its like we cannot see each other…its like the train god delayed. There’s a constant reminder that I you have to keep going… like you are on my own. You are definitely missing out. Being in the new city, trying to make relationships, and work. a lot of things are definitely hard. I think, its also challenging. New York City is different from Chicago. I have moved to a different city, a new place and got a new position at work. understanding how the city works. Its hard…Navigating the new city…. learning new things…. dealing with so many things.”
Section 3: Reflection on Multicultural Issues
The first part of the interview focused on the client’s emotions regarding a significant change in life, relocating to New York from Chicago to work. He felt lonely having moved to a new city and adjusting to new life. It was a vast city, and he did not have friends to help him to cope with the change. He tried hard to make friends but realized that the schedule was quite tight, and he could not have enough time to visit or see them as often as he would have wanted. He also confirmed that he felt trapped in the new world.
I aimed at creating an environment where the client would feel comfortable sharing his deep feelings and emotions. Although I had some biases based on our different cultures, I tried to prevent them from affecting the interview. For example, I could not have expected a man to struggle with a simple change of job. I would have expected him to enjoy life in the new city and easily make friends. The biases influenced my thoughts during the initial part of the interview. However, they played an important role in my inquisitiveness as I wanted to understand a lot more about the client to address my biases.
Working with a client from a different cultural background was both rewarding and challenging because I needed to understand the values inherent in the client. Since I wanted to understand a lot about the client, I asked many direct questions, such as the feelings of the volunteer. I tried to lead him to communicate his emotions, such as loneliness. The interview revealed a high level of growth in the volunteer as he managed to achieve self-love through the challenging situation in his life. From the beginning of the interview, he kept affirming to himself that regardless of the challenge, he was able to gain independence.
I realized some blind spots as I was conducting the interview. Firstly, I assumed that the client has everything sorted because he had realized self-love and could live independently. I failed to realize that he still needed help because of the loneliness and the feeling of entrapment. Secondly, I could not understand where to intervene in the conversation because the client did most of the speaking. I still felt somewhat unprepared to help the volunteer overcome his problem as he appeared to have addressed many of the issues he faced in New York.
Section 4: Compare and Contrast
I noted some similarities in the interventions I used in my pre- and post-course interviews, although they differed in efficacy. For example, in both setups, I used reinstatement and summarization, but in the post-course interview, I added open-ended questions and reflection to understand the feelings and emotions of the client better. During my pre-course interview, I did not give the client an excellent opportunity to communicate the deep emotions that were revealed in the second interview. From the two interviews, I realized the nature of the questions asked or statements used helps the client to communicate better. I was clear in my choice of words during the post-course interview and achieved better responses from the client than in the initial interview.
In terms of clinical effectiveness, although I was effective in both interviews, the post-course interview generated superior responses and outcomes. I learned to seek clarification from the client, which enabled him to communicate freely and comfortably. During the second interview, I received detailed responses to my question. I would ensure that I understood whatever the client said or seek clarification in case I did not understand the response. Besides, the second interview was easier for me than the first one because I learned a lot about therapeutic interviewing and assessment. However, in both interviews, I repeated some questions, such as “How are you feeling today?” to understand what the client was feeling.
During the pre- and post-course interviews, I was a little nervous, but I noted some improvement in the second one. I became more comfortable with the client and could ask more in-depth questions than I did during the pre-course interview. I realized that if I requested direct questions, the client would not communicate deep feelings. Therefore, I would improve on various aspects regarding the type of questions I could use. In my post-course interview, I used countertransference and controlled my feelings and emotions, such as sympathizing with the client. I could understand what the client was feeling without affecting my feelings. It also helped me to become more supportive of the client and help him to achieve self-growth and self-love.