The Importance Of The Clinical Interview In Psychology

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Interviews The importance of the clinical interview within the mental health profession of psychology can be described as an ultimate endeavor that can begin or end a relationship with a patient. The elements that are incorporated into the process of a complete and thorough clinical interview are astounding, yet with appropriate structure and practice, the process can be the determining factor in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. This single construct with multiple components is the most frequently used clinical assessment method applied by psychologists in a variety of settings. The types of clinical interviews encompassed include the intake interview, the mental status exam, the crisis interview, and the diagnostic interview (Graham, …show more content…
However, when actually faced with conducting an interview to extract valuable and necessary information, the task can be difficult and daunting. For the new and naïve psychologist, this can be a humbling experience. For this reason, the first element to be considered by the new psychologist is the brevity of the interview alone. As Henson and Thomas point out, every interview “has it’s own unique problems, challenges, and perhaps even ethical and legal issues” (Hensen & Thomas, 2007). Practitioners must take into account the perceptions of patients as individuals and the feelings and emotions they bring to the situation. Individuals most often come with anxiety, fear, apprehension, and expectations to an initial meeting with a psychologist. These emotions and thoughts can either be reasonable or unreasonable and may well present as anger or apprehension; depending on the voluntariness of the individuals placement into the situation. Those who come willingly may well be reasonable, however those who have perceived pressure or are ordered to attend an evaluation or assessment, may be especially difficult to build a relationship with (Spielberger, 2004). This is where the true importance of interviewer skill is tested. It is the sole responsibility of the practitioner to facilitate the breaking of barriers. The best way to accomplish this task as described by psychologist John Summers-Flanagan in …show more content…
This interview is generally used to determine the next step, such as admitting the patient into the hospital or outpatient treatment (Plante, 2011).
The mental status exam (MSE) is described by Martin as, “a structured assessment of patient’s behavioral and cognitive function” (1990). Therefore, this exam is based on observation of the patient’s mental state. This includes aspects such as speech, emotions, mood, thought process, and judgment of events that have occurred. Martin also stresses this interview is less structured compared to other portions of the evaluation, and is based on the judgment of the observations of the clinician (1990).
The crisis interview is one of the more exigent types of interviews performed by the psychologist, in that a person is in crisis and a determination must be made quickly in order to prevent harmful behaviors. This interview is generally brought about by circumstances in life and intervention by a psychologist may produce a favorable outcome in that, people in crisis are more broad-minded or persuadable (Kulic, 2005). Therefore, the importance of implementing intervening suggestions by an engaged and attentive practitioner may well save the patient’s

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