Content Frame
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Home  arrow Skills  arrow Clarification



Definition: A skill that enables the social worker to seek specificity on what the client is thinking, feeling, and experiencing.Asking for examples, specifying the meaning of words (i.e., “I was loaded”), and identifying the frequency and duration of problems are ways to clarify the client’s message.

Helps to:

Appropriate to use when:

Inappropriate use:


In video example #1, Nicole asks Mrs. Anderson to clarify what she means by “little adult.”For example, is Maria in danger of being abused?Is she responsible for caring for her mother?This clarification provides Mrs. Anderson with the opportunity to give some examples, and she elaborates on the consequences of being a parentified child.

In video example #2: James indicates that he is unclear what ‘kick it with my friends” means.He asks Anthony to describe what he means when he says,“Okay, so when you say ‘kick it with your friends’ what do you guys do?” Communication gaps may occur across generational and cultural lines as language usage changes over time.

In video example #3: James effectively uses a series of clarification statements (“Where do you fit in;”“What does that mean;”“So, you’re one of the associates;” and “What does a foot soldier do?”) to push Anthony to identify his roles and responsibilities with in the gang.

Pearson Copyright © 1995 - 2010 Pearson Education . All rights reserved. Pearson Allyn & Bacon is an imprint of Pearson .
Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Permissions

Return to the Top of this Page