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About Family Check-Up

Process: Initial Interview

In the initial interview, we emphasize building rapport and exploring concerns with respect to parenting and the family context. Motivational interviewing and reflective listening are used to prompt parents to move toward the contemplation stage of change (Dishion & Kavanagh, 2003; Miller & Rollnick, 1991; Prochaska & DiClemente, 1982). It is essential that parents experience these meetings as collaborative and nonjudgmental and that the therapist understand the parents’ motivation. Finally, it is helpful if the caregiver sees these meetings as a supportive service in the overall FCU procedure.

During the initial interview, the therapist questions the adult caregivers about their concerns and needs and focuses on parenting practices and family management. Caregivers indicate what family resources are available to them (e.g., help from extended family members) and what liabilities they are facing (e.g., unstable housing, lack of transportation). By the end of this interview, caregivers have discussed their concerns and their motivation for change. The therapist has worked to ensure that the caregiver is understood, has clarified discrepancies between the caregiver’s goals and current family functioning, and has provided support and empathy.

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