TN 35 (09-12)

GN 00203.013 Interviewing People Who Act Hostile

A. How to handle people who are angry, aggressive and hostile

If the person has known anger issues, aggressive behaviors, or hostility:

  • confer with the family or physician to determine whether the interview will upset the person before arranging home contacts with the mentally ill, and

  • arrange for the presence of a third party, or another employee, if possible.

B. How to handle the hostile interview

If the person becomes angry, aggressive, or hostile, use local office guidelines as a supplement to the following actions:

  • use good listening skills;

  • speak simply, slowly, clearly, calmly, and acceptingly;

  • avoid confrontations;

  • reduce distractions in the interviewing environment as much as possible;

  • provide relaxed responses, even to odd or peculiar questions or behaviors;

  • use telephone interviews to contact individuals prone to anger, aggression, hostility, or violence;

  • arrange for the presence of a third party or another employee, if possible;

  • terminate the interview and leave calmly and politely before matters get out of hand during home visits when threatened, or verbally abused; and

  • notify management staff and the appropriate community service or law enforcement agency if the person you are interviewing threatens suicide. Suggest help at the nearby crisis prevention center and provide the emergency telephone number. The 800-system Information and Referral (INFO) screen shows suicide prevention agencies. For instructions on handling potential suicidal-homicidal behavior, see DI 11005.080.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200203013
GN 00203.013 - Interviewing People Who Act Hostile - 02/19/2013
Batch run: 02/19/2013
Rev:02/19/2013