BELIEF Interviewing Model
The people you talk with and interview, including victims, witnesses, informants and suspects, are going to tell you a story about what they saw, heard, or experienced. This story, along with truthfulness and deception, is communicated through language, so it makes perfect sense to have words and the content of their story to be the focus of an interview program! This, however, is NOT a statement analysis course. It is a training program that teaches the interviewer to focus on verbal information of the story people provide during interviews or interrogations. It is an effective approach for face-to-face interviews & interrogations, and it is also ideal for conducting interviews over the telephone where there are no behavioral indicators to focus on, just their words. The system is based upon the acronym BELIEF, which stands for: B-Build Rapport & Baseline, E-Extract Initial Account, L-Listen/Look Intently, I-Identify Key Elements & Changes, E-Expand Information, and F-Follow-Up. The acronym BELIEF has a dual benefit as well, in that we start every interview with the belief in the person and what they have to say. The benefits of this are that it is in alignment with our core values that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and it helps eliminate personal bias by giving people the benefit of the doubt as well and helping to prevent contamination of the interview by eliminating signals of doubt or disbelief coming from the interviewer. This approach also maximizes verbal content from the individual, and focuses the investigator on gathering, developing and testing the information obtained during the interview for truthfulness, rather than simply looking for deception. Investigators learn to base their questioning on the information provided by the individual being interviewed rather than relying on a scripted interview process or a series of steps to follow, or a rigid question & answer format. Interviewers also learn to assess the content of the individual’s account, rather than rely on their personal opinions or beliefs about the person’s behavior and/or appearance, which can be false or misleading. This narrative-based approach to interviewing utilizes unexpected and unpredictable questions which are difficult for the subject being interviewed to plan and prepare for, therefore helping to break any “mental scripts” the individual may have entering the interview process, which is a common tactic of deceptive individuals. This approach also allows for the implementation of tactical and strategic use of evidence as well as employing principles of cognitive interviewing and investigative statement analysis which is covered during training. This training course can be presented in a 3-Day or 5-Day format.