Wellness Dialogue

 

Probative Questions

By Jacquelyn Brenner, RN, LMT

(Questions in italics were added by Diane Brandon, M.Ed.)

2006

 

These are in draft form, still developing, and should be adapted to the individuals using them. Not all questions need be used, and you will have questions that you want to ask that are not on this list. As the questions are asked and answered, there are many ways of making a record of the conversation: a simple mind-map can be used to note key words in the responses, or use another method that works for you. One or two aspects of wellness can be talked about and mapped in an hour’s conversation, although this will vary a lot with the people involved. See separate samples of mind-maps. (There are good books on mind-mapping.) Also, genograms and the MBTI are used to explore and map family history, and personality type, as part of the wellness interview and planning process.

 

Physical:

o      What are the best aspects of your physical health? In what way are you most healthy? When do you feel the most physically healthy?

o      What health challenges/difficulties do you have?

o      What do you think would help you to be physically healthier?

o      Are there actions you’d like to take to make changes in this dimension of your well-being? If yes, what supports or information would you need to do that?

 

Emotional:

o      Explain the six emotions recognized inter-culturally by facial expression (anger, fear, sadness, joy, disgust, and surprise); how early family dynamics and social stereotyping can impact the feeling and expression of these emotions (i.e., if a particular family member expressed their emotions in an abusive way or used emotions to manipulate a child, that would impact the child, now grown, in the experience and expression of that emotion)

o      Explore the different situations, people, actions and issues that evoke each of these emotions (what makes you mad, sad, glad, scared?). Special attention is placed on the fact that there are many degrees and ranges of a particular emotion, i.e., anger may be experienced as anything from annoyance to rage, fear as anything from worry to terror, etc.

o      Ask if there was a time in the person’s life when someone else (parent, sibling, spouse, etc.) got to have all of a particular emotion or behaved in a threatening or inappropriate manner around these emotions.

o      What behaviors does the person use to express these emotions (social cues): What do you do when you have this emotion? How do you get your needs met when you experience this emotion?

o      The physical manifestations of the emotion for that individual: Where in  your body do you feel this? What is the sensation?

o      Is there a color that relates to this emotion for you? (Can be related to the energy system of the body, charkas)

o      Are there actions you’d like to take to make changes in this dimension of your well-being? If yes, what supports or information would you need to do that?

 

Spiritual:

o      What does “spiritual” mean to you?

o      What inspires you?

o      Why are you here (on earth, at this time)? What is your identity, who are you? (Student, teacher, beautifier, artist, caretaker, lost soul, etc.)

o      Where did you come from? (Mom and Dad, God, Heaven, nothingness, past life, etc.)

o      Do you have a belief in a power greater than yourself? If so, what do you call it? What is your image of your higher power? Do you have conscious contact with your higher power? Do you use scripture or conversational prayer for contact? When do you pray? (When you want something, are scared, out of gratitude?) Do you have a routine of meditative practice? What is it? (Discussion of different types of meditation can be helpful here, walking, driving, gardening, cooking, etc.)

o      What religion, if any, were you raised in? Does that religion still work for you? If not, why not? What kind of religious practice and belief do you espouse today?

o      How do you handle spiritual dilemmas in our life? (Pray, talk to someone, try to think of something else, get active?)

o      What spiritual virtues are most important to you? How would you teach these to your children?

o      What do you think of death? Is this physical life all there is? Is there a life beyond this one? Does death scare you?

o      Are there actions you’d like to take to make changes in this dimension of your well-being? If yes, what supports or information would you need to do that?

 

Social:

o      What is your social support system or team? (Family, friends, professionals, etc.)

o      Do you feel good about your social life?

o      What was it like as  a child? How did your parents socialize?

o      Do you know your neighbors? Are you part of neighborhood organizations?

o      What other social organizations/groups do you belong to?

o      What do you do to have fun socially?

o      Do you like to be with people a lot, or not?

o      Are you active in civic groups? Do you vote?

o      Do you do community service?

o      Where do you go to be with other people? (Movies, restaurants, cafes, clubs, etc.)

o      Are there actions you’d like to take to make changes in this dimension of your well-being? If yes, what supports or information would you need to do that?

 

Cultural:

o      Can you tell me the groups that you know the secret handshake to? (The cultures that are a part of your identity.)

o      Areas to explore: gender, relational, socioeconomic, ethnic, geographical, age, education, career, hobbies, intellectual pursuits, religious beliefs)

o      Are there any cultures that you are attracted to?

o      What is it about your various cultures that resonates for you, that you have a passion for?

o      Are there actions you’d like to take to make changes in this dimension of your well-being? If yes, what supports or information would you need to do that?

 

Occupational:

o      When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

o      What do you want to be now “when you grow up”?

o      What jobs have you had in your life? How old were you when you had them?

o      What skills have you gained from your jobs?

o      Did you enjoy them?

o      Dreaming: if time, money, and education were no object, what would your dream job or jobs be?

o      Are there actions you’d like to take to make changes in this dimension of your well-being? If yes, what supports or information would you need to do that?

 

Financial/Material:

o      Did you grow up rich, poor, or in the middle?

o      Is money a source of happiness or tension in your life?

o      How are your finances now? Is there anything you’d like to change?

o      Do you have good money management skills, or need more skills?

o      How are you with the “things” in your life? Enough, too much, too little?

o      Can you take care of what you have?

o      What do you need or want, materially?

o      Are there actions you’d like to take to make changes in this dimension of your well-being? If yes, what supports or information would you need to do that?

 

Environmental

o      Do you live in an environment you like? (House, neighborhood, etc.)

o      Do you have clean, healthy air, water, soil around you?

o      What makes your “place” attractive to you? (Visual, sounds, etc.)

o      Are there actions you’d like to take to make changes in this dimension of your well-being? If yes, what supports or information would you need to do that?