by Cynthia M. Braden, LMFT
In this post we will cover key basic vocabulary and phrases in Spanish for conducting a Psycho-Social Interview or Assessment.
Let's again refer to our Assessment models which may require obtaining a Family History or Developmental History. We are going to ask our Spanish-speaking client a few questions about 'when' something occurred. So we need the word 'when' and the Past or Preterite tense of certain occurrences. When did something happen? Here are a few essential examples.
1. ¿Cuándo nació usted? When were you born? We are using the word 'Cuándo' for when something happened in the past. To be born is the verb 'nacer'. If we are asking about something that happened in the past, we need the Preterit tense, which is similar to past tense absolute. It happened on a singular occasion. To effectively conduct Spanish speaking therapy, you are most often going to be talking to one person. We actually need only one conjugation of the verb. So we are focusing on the verb conjugations that we actually need in a therapy office. The correct conjugation is in the 3rd person singular of nacer: nació.
2. ¿Cuándo se casó? When did you get married? Again, inserting the word 'cuando' we will ask the client when he/she were married. 'Casarse' is to get married, so we basically memorize a few questions, in the tense we are going to need.
3. ¿Cuándo ocurrió eso? When did that happen? As a client is delivering their narrative in the Assessment phase of therapy, they will be talking about things that happened in the past. There was a birth, a development, an education, a job, a family, some travel, conflicts, tragedies and triumphs during the experiences of that person. If the therapist is listening to the narrative and lacks command of a particular verb conjugation, we can substitute the word 'eso' or 'esto' rather than have command of the correct translation of a particular verb on the spot. The client may bring up many occurrences. If the therapist wants to know when that particular thing happened without too much effort, the correct question is ¿Cuándo ocurrió eso? When did that happen?
4. ¿Cuándo estuvo...? This is the preterit tense of the verb 'estar', again in the third person singular, to be physically present somewhere.
A few applicable examples of this basic construction for the Assessment phase of therapy with a Spanish-speaking client are:
¿Cuándo nació su primer hijo? When was your first child born?
¿Cuándo ocurrió el accidente? When did the accident occur?
¿Cuándo estuvo en el hospital? When were you in the hospital?
¿Cuándo estuvo en la cárcel? When were you in jail?
¿Cuándo ocurrió eso? When did that occur?
¿Cuándo vino aquí? When did you come here?
¿Cuándo se murió? When did he/she die?
¿Cuándo se divorció?- When did you get divorced?