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Preliminary Considerations

  1. There are a number of different formats to consider for the case examples contained in Module 7 and 8, depending on the time and resources available. Ideally, each student should have an opportunity to practice various components of the interview and engage in analysis of the information gathered. Options for teaching formats include but may not be limited to:
    • Student groups can be divided so that there are between 2 and 8 students per group. The instructor(s) should periodically check on each group to assess progress and address any questions or concerns that may arise. Student evaluation groups can work concurrently, with the 8 components of the interview divided up among the students. Each case example will require approximately 2 to 3 hours of time for the interview and feedback process.
    • If there is not adequate time in the course for the students to conduct Case #01 and #02 on separate days, it may be possible to have half of the students conduct Case 1 and the other half conduct Case #01 on the same day.
    • Alternatively, one demonstration evaluation may be conducted for the entire class and students asked to volunteer for various components of the interview. Several students may work together, or sequentially for each of the 8 primary components of medical evaluation so that each student has an opportunity to participate.
    • A single demonstration evaluation by one or more instructors may be another possibility, with student interaction at the end of each of the 8 components of the interviews.
    • Also, one or both Case Narratives may be assigned for students to read in advance (without role-play interviews) and followed by class discussion and/or a demonstration case.
    • Individual online users of the Model Curriculum may review all materials contained in Modules 7 and 8 and complete the related self-assessment quizzes.
  2. Regarding Role-players: If interviews are conducted in class, instructors will need to use their best judgment in selecting role-players. Role-players may be individuals outside the class or the students themselves. In either case, the instuctors should provide the role-players with adequate information to convey the information contained in Narratives for Case #01 and Case #02 and review a relevant process issues, for example:
    • Discuss the role-play for police coercion. Request permission to use paper handcuffs.
    • Provide role-players with Case Narratives
    • Instructor(s) and role-players will review the cases in detail and discuss content and process issues prior to class
    • Consider the following recommendations for role-players:
      • General affect or emotion conveyed in the interviews
      • Emotional responses to specific experiences related in the interviews
      • Importance of staying in the role of the detainee/alleged victim until the debriefing
      • Imagine having experienced what is alleged in the narratives or by a friend/spouse
      • Make effective use of silence or pauses when you respond to the interviewer
      • Make effective use of body language (eye contact, body position, tone and pattern of speech)
      • Discuss gender issues
      • Discuss how the detainee’s should appear and be dressed
    • Discuss the debriefing process
      • At the end of each case interview, role-players should provide feedback on trainee performances and process issues
      • Consider relevant transference and counter-transference issues (see Module 3): Clinicians who conduct medical evaluations of detainees should be familiar with common transference reactions (i.e., potential reactions of the survivors toward the physician) that survivors experience and the potential impact of such reactions on the evaluation process. Counter-transference (i.e. the interviewer’s emotional response to the torture survivor) reactions should also be discussed.
  3. Instructors should note:
    • Students may feel uncomfortable role-playing as it is likely to cause emotional stress which may or may not be associated with past experiences. Do not require or make students feel obligated to “volunteer” as role-players.
    • Remind the students of the objectives of this module before it starts and that the point of the exercise is to practice and learn rather than conduct a “perfect” interview.
    • Encourage participants to convey their emotions during their feedback.
    • During the feedback:
      • Ensure that the language is non-judgmental, but constructive and respectful.
      • Take the group dynamics into consideration.
      • Take care that the ones in the role of interviewers do not get frustrated and do not feel judged.
      • Underline positive aspects.
      • Remind the participants that the task of interviewing somebody can create tension, is difficult and doesn’t exactly reflect the real life interview experiences.
      • Show appreciation for the interviewee and interviewer.
  4. Case Summaries/Referrals: A brief Case Summarie/Referral will be distributed to the trainees before each of the training sessions (Modules 7 and 8). The format is intended to approximate the information that may be contained in an official request for a forensic medical evaluation.
  5. Case Narratives: The narratives provide considerable detail on the alleged trauma, subsequent symptoms and disabilities and physical and psychological assessments. The narratives will serve as background information and guidelines for the conduct of the interviews and will be used by the trainers and role-players in preparation for the training sessions. The students who conduct the interviews should not have prior access to the Case Narratives.
  6. Time-outs: A break in the interview action used to make teaching points. Note: The instructor should indicate whether time-outs can be initiated only by the instructor of by the students as well. To conserve time, it may be advisable for time-outs to be reserved for instructors only. There should be time for discussion at the end of each of the 8 interview components so that all participants can ask questions and engage in relevant discussion.
  7. Recommended Agenda: It is important to complete all components of the medical evaluation working sessions in the period allotted. This will help to ensure that each trainee has an opportunity to participate in the interview process and that the entire examination will be completed. The following recommended agenda is based on a 3 hour interview, but may be modified, proportionally, depending on the time available.
    • Identify sequence of participation among students (5 min)
    • Components:
      1. Introduction/Conditions of Interview & Identification Information
      2. Past Medical and Surgical History & Psychosocial History – Pre-Arrest
      3. Trauma History
      4. Review of Torture Methods
      5. Symptoms (acute and chronic) and Disabilities
      6. Psychological Assessment and Mental Status Examination
      7. Physical Examination
      8. Interpretation of Findings & Conclusions

      NOTE: For the above 8 components, a total of 120 minutes: 15 min for each component (student = 10 min + discussion = 5 min)

    • Debriefing with Role-Player (15 min)
    • Summary Discussion (40 min)
  8. Assessment of Student Performance: Instructors may assess each student’s performance for the two case interviews using periodic observation. It is recommended that students be required to take notes on all components of the case interviews in which they participate and to develop a written report that can be evaluated by the instructor. Any assignment for written reports should be due at the time of the final module, Module 9, which addresses Report Writing and Testifying in Court.
  9. Terminology: Please keep in mind that the subject being evaluated should not be referred to as a “victim” or “survivor.” Please use the individual’s name or “detainee,” “alleged victim,” “subject,” “individual,” or some other neutral term.
  10. Interview Setting: It is important that the students understand their role in providing a private and comfortable interview setting. Arrange the chairs so that the two interview chairs are next to one another and the other chairs in the room are some distance from those of the interviewer and the detainee.
  11. Optional Simulation of Police Coercion: The “alleged victim” or “detainee” (role-player) will be brought to the “examination” room (conference or class room) when the instructor indicates that he/she is ready. The instructor should consider arranging for the detainee to enter the room in paper handcuffs (assuming this is acceptable to the role-player) and in the custody of a “police officer.” The reason for this is to simulate conditions that examiners are likely to experience in evaluating alleged victims. The “police officer” should be present for the first five minutes of the examination unless asked to leave by the trainee. This activity will help each group to discuss how to handle the issue of police coercion.