Clinical interview

8 August 2016

It is widely accepted that clinical interviewing is the fundamental diagnostic tool in psychiatry. Indeed, Schreiber states that “the psychiatric interview is the essential vehicle for assessment of the psychiatric patient. ” Unlike other areas of medicine, psychiatry lacks external validating criteria, such as lab tests or imaging, to help confirm or exclude diagnoses.

With the clinician’s diagnosis and subsequent treatment plan being determined by the clinical data obtained from the interview and physical examination, any strategy that facilitates the systematic collection of clinical information is likely to improve the diagnostic reliability of the assessment. Inexperienced clinicians or health practitioners less familiar with mental illness may consider the initial psychiatric assessment rather daunting given the vast array of disorders that need to be considered and the lack of functional tools available to assist them.

Clinical interview Essay Example

It appears that in most studies of the current literature concerning psychiatric interviewing, standardized, structured interviews such as the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID) and rating scales such as the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Montgomery-Asperg Depression Rating Scale are examined. In some studies, researchers evaluate the diagnostic effectiveness and reliability of these structured interviews, while in other studies they are used as methods to evaluate treatment interventions.

Structured interviews such as these may provide some guidance to the novice interviewer regarding specific questions that may be used to elicit various symptoms, but due to time restrictions, their general clinical utility is limited. Realizing the complexity of psychiatric interviewing and the need to accurately and systematically assess the signs and symptoms of the major psychiatric disorders, the authors developed a tool utilizing a typical outline of the psychiatric interview yet covering the diagnostic criteria required to make a differential and preferred diagnosis .

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