I read “response” much more broadly than you do. I’d translate the question as something more like, “What sort of currency are you currently lacking?” or “What sort of aid do you currently require?”
Imagine someone says, “Work has gotten really overwhelming.” There are many things this could mean, and many ways you could potentially help them. Perhaps they suspect they are making a strategic error in their work, and you can help by analyzing strategic options with them. Perhaps they are in danger of a bucket error suggesting that they are a bad person for letting work get overwhelming, in which case you can help by providing evidence that you don’t think they’re bad. Perhaps they are tired, and you can help by bringing them to a state that’s more restful. If you don’t know which of these things is more likely, asking is a pretty good shortcut to figuring it out.
I initially read it in the same way you did, however I also think SquirrelInHell has a point. But I would say the place where he’s going wrong is sometimes (possibly most of the time) people don’t know what it is they’re seeking from a conversation. A lot of people don’t know themselves well enough, so having been promted with that question allows them to properly introspect, perhaps.. but I do agree that password based conversations are frustrating.