Process Recording Example

Process recording is a tool used by the student, the practicum instructor, and the faculty advisor to examine the dynamics of a particular interaction in time. The process recording is an excellent teaching device for learning and refining interviewing and intervention skills. The process recording helps the student conceptualize and organize ongoing activities with client systems, to clarify the purpose of the interview or intervention, to improve written expression, to identify strengths and weaknesses, and to improve selfawareness (Urbanowski & Dwyer, 1988). The process recording is also a useful tool in helping to explore the interplay of values operating between the student and the client system, through an analysis of the filtering process used in recording the session.

Students in the BSW Senior Year, MSW Foundation, and MSW Advanced Year- Interpersonal Practice Concentration programs are required to submit 5 process recordings per semester to the assigned Practicum Instructor and Faculty Practicum Liaison each term. MSW Advanced Year students who select the Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership concentration are required to submit 5 PRACSIS instead.


When creating a process recording, use this format:

Practicum Instructor's (supervisor) Comments: statements provided by the practicum instructor to help the student grow and develop. Because the process recording serves as a tool for self-discovery and continued growth, there are no right or wrong answers. The process recording is a powerful tool for analyzing difficult situations; a way of stepping outside one's self, recording a situation on paper, and analyzing it with the assistance of an objective person. This section is for comments by that objective person. There are no requirements as to the length, type of interview, etc. of a process recording. It is solely detailing a point in time that is analyzed to strengthen student growth and development. The process recording should be complete and thorough. You need not record an entire interview, meeting, or interaction; however, the portion that is recorded should include a "beginning, middle, and end phase" that completely addresses one problem or issue.

Dialogue: word-for-word description of what happened (to the extent that it can be recalled).

Student's Gut-Level Feelings: describes feelings about the specific dialogue. Use feeling words, such as anxious or happy. These help identify some of the non-verbal messages that may be affecting the interaction between the student and the client system, thus helping the student develop a better conscious use of self.

Analysis: describes what has happened and why. This section allows you to identify type of response and reason for selecting the response. Student should state what they think client may be thinking or feeling and also to analyze the feelings described in the student's gut-level feelings column.

Supervisor's Comments Dialogue

Your Feelings
Must be your feelings only.  The rest belongs in Analysis


Identify the type of response you make and your reason for selecting it. State what you think the client is feeling or thinking. Evaluate your skills.


Client's Name:  Fred Flintstone (pseudonym)
Age 51
Marital status:  Single Divorced
Occupation:  unemployed disability

Mr. Flintstone came to see me today because he is concerned about his current financial situation and discouraged about getting any help.

I am hoping that he will open up to me and I will help him understand the problem in a way that can lead to effective problem solving.  
  SW:  Hello Mr. Flintstone, I am _______ and I am pleased to meet you.   I am feeling anxious because I am new at this type of interviewing and I want to do a good job. I used a standard greeting to get the meeting started.
  Clt:  Hello, I am pleased to meet you also.  Please call me Fred.     He greeted me in a friendly way but he didn't smile and he looks sad.
  SW:  Ok, Fred, please tell me about your decision to come and talk to me today.   I used an open ended response to help him get started today.
  Clt:  I have not worked in four years because I have physical problems and I just wish they would either fix me or pay me. I feel bad for him because he sounds so down in the dumps. He seems discouraged and defeated.  
  SW:  Fix or pay you?   I used a furthering response because I want him to continue telling me his issues. 
  Clt:  yes fix or pay me.  I have applied for disability benefits but they keep denying my claim.  I need surgery but the doctors are not sure it will help me.     He seems frustrated and scared
  SW:  You sound discouraged and dejected because you cannot get the help that you need.   I feel sad for him because he sounds so hopeless.   I used an empathic response to see if I am interpreting his feelings accurately.  
  Clt:  They say you can control your destiny but that is not true.  My health and my life are in the hands of other people and I have no control over anything.   I was on track with my empathic response and he is talking more about how he feels.
  SW:  You seem to feel defeated in your ability to change your life in a direction that would be productive for you. I am nervous about this response but I am trying to stay with him and on topic. I used an empathic response to show my concern and my willingness to listen.
  Clt:  This is true.  I feel like every time I take a step forward and think I am moving in a positive direction, I take three steps back.  I only have negatives in my life right now.      
  SW:  Only negatives?   I used an open response to stay with him and let him unfold his story.
  Clt:  Yes, I am broke.  I can't do anything that is fun because of my finances and my health.  I can't get help from my government and I am afraid I am becoming a burden to others.    I am concerned that he is so discouraged.   I like him and I hope that we can find some way to help him.   He seems to be feeling like a failure financially 
  SW:  You sound like you are angry about not getting help from the government and it leading to you being more dependent on others.   I used an empathic response to keep him revealing his feelings.
  Clt.  I should be getting help from the government.  I should be getting SSI or something.  I have applied for SSI and SSD but it has not gone through.   I am also feeling angry about the way he is being treated.  
  SW:  You also mentioned financial burdens.     I used another furthering response to help him disclose more of his issues.
  Clt:  I can't work because I cannot stay in any one position for any length of time.  I need a nap after doing something as simple as going to the grocery store.   I am concerned about these limitations He still sound hopeless and helpless
  SW:  So your stamina is limited as is your ability to stay in one position.     Paraphrasing to help him continue talking without changing the subject by asking a question
  Clt:  Yes and I have to be dependent on my sister and her husband because I do not have the money to get my own place.  I try to help out at home but that has its own issues.     This seems to lead back to him feeling like a burden.  
  SW:  Issues.   I used furthering to keep him on this topic and learn more about what he is thinking.
  Clt:  My brother-in-law is also off work from an injury and my sister needs help around the house and with the kids.    
  SW:  Your brother-in-law is injured too?     I used an open response to learn more about his situation.  
  Clt:  yes he was injured at work also but I believe he uses his injury as an excuse not to do anything.   I was happy that he said his brother-in-law was injured at work also because now I know more about his own injury.  
  SW:  So he uses his work injuries as an excuse but you don't so you sound frustrated with him and his behavior.     I used an empathic response in hopes that he will continue revealing his issues.
  Clt:  Yes, I am frustrated.  I was really injured badly when I was pinned between two pallets at the printing shop where I worked.      
  SW Nodding and listening   I used a nonverbal response so that I would not interrupt his process.
  Clt:  I worked for my ex-wife's family.  I tried to continue to work but I just couldn't.   When I tried to collect worker's comp, they denied that it happened there because an incident report was not filled out.  They know it happened there.  They are just worried about the money they might have to pay out.     Pt. seems angry with the situation but under it he sounds hurt that they would treat him that way.
  SW.  You seem hurt that they have denied your injuries even though they know that you have had severe consequences because of that injury.     I used an empathic response to let him know that I am understanding his issues.  


  • Provide an evaluation of your overall skill during the session
    • I was pleased with the way this session went.  I was happy that I used several of the skills we are learning.  They worked well to keep him talking without my having to ask questions.  I would like to work on using more of the skills we are learning.  I think that I could have used summarizing but I did not do that and I would have liked to use silence more.  I was still finding myself concerned with what I would say next and therefore I was not listening as carefully to him as I would like to do.  I will keep working on developing these skills
  • How do you see yourself as being effective during the session? What skills would you like to improve?
    • I would like to work on using more of the skills we are learning.  I think that I could have used summarizing but I did not do that and I would have liked to use silence more.  I was still finding myself concerned with what I would say next and therefore I was not listening as carefully to him as I would like to do.  I will keep working on developing these skills
  • What questions do you have for the reader so you can receive feedback on your skills? (Note: General questions are not acceptable they must be specific questions and they must have depth).
    • Did I use empathy too often in this session.  I find that emphatic responding really helps to keep my client talking but I don't want to overuse it.  
    • I am working very hard to be able to gather information without asking questions.  Am I getting enough information this way.  
    • I am not always aware of the feelings I am having, is there a way for me to become more aware of them?
  • Please identify the theory/theoretical perspective(s) or intervention model that you used in your work with this client/client system. In order to demonstrate your understanding of the application of theory to social work practice, please identify and explain the specific theory-based interventions you used with the client/client system. Discuss why you used each intervention. 
    • I provided responses that aligned with agency training and provided support through empathy and education. However, in the next session I will utilize empowerment theory to help the client feel less defeated and more confident and in control of his life and well-being so that he will continue to build confidence.

Updated 9/15/15