The Clinical Interview

TheClinical Interview

The clinical interview is a session where a clinical psychologistasks a number of specific questions that helps to diagnose theproblem that the patient is facing. In some cases, the interview willeven have some spontaneous and unstructured questions that all aim atgetting more insights about the physical and mental state of thepatient. It mainly entails an interpersonal process that has theclinical psychologist that strives to create a therapeuticrelationship that will make the patient open up and reveal moreinformation about his or her state.

More importantly, the purpose of a clinical interview is to help withthe collection of the assessment information and even initiatestherapy that will benefit the patient in the recovery process. Infact, most of the health practitioners believe that the clinicalinterview is an entry point that initiates the mental healthtreatment as well as case management (Hajebi et al., 2012). In theprocess, it helps in diagnosing the challenges that the patient isfacing and creating a treatment plan to deal with the challenges.Understanding the complications will help in looking at the causesand identifying critical ways to deal with each of the causes.Failure to ascertain the detailed problems will make it hard for theclinical psychologist to understand the way to deal with theparticular problem in question. The details collected from theclinical interview can also fulfill the therapeutic functions thatwill still be helpful to the patient and the clinical psychologisttoo. Even if the clinical interview has some therapeutic dimensions,it mainly stands out as an assessment procedure that seeks toidentify the facts about the patient and diagnosis the problem thatthe patient is facing (Vilariño et al., 2013). The vast informationgathered helps in identifying the perfect course of treatment thatthe clinical psychologist will seek in helping the patient.

The patient’s medical history, previous treatment, family medicalhistory as well as the life history includes the issues that shouldgo into a clinical interview. Apart from that, even the appearanceand the hygiene of the patient are critical since it shows verydetailed aspects about the patient. The cognitive deficit might alsohelp in illustrating the mental status of the patient and the abilityto deal with various activities. The previous medical complaint andthe treatment approach are some of the other issues that go into theclinical interview as well. From that point, the clinicalpsychologist can determine any association of the current problemwith the previous problem (Daruy‐Filhoet al., 2011). The clinical psychologist also determines if theprevious treatment was effective and whether using the same approachwill help in solving the current problem too. The general medicalhistory helps in understanding the case. More specifically, themedical history looks at the conditions, medications or even anyallergies that the patient might have. The medical history will helpthe clinical psychologist in determining the appropriate steps toundertake or even determining the likelihood of the allergies or eventhe medication issues being the reason for the current problem.Family medical and the pain history are some of the other aspectsthat the psychologist might need to consider since it might havesomething to do with the current status of the patient (Daruy‐Filhoet al., 2011). Besides that, the current living environment and thelife history from childhood to adulthood are also crucial in helpingthe clinical psychologists determine another step forward. That meanslooking into the relationship the patient has with the siblings, anyabuse or even friends, work and the state of their marriage. Allthese steps help in reaching the diagnosis, and they will assist thepsychologist in determining the psychological testing and treatmentto help the patient.


Daruy‐Filho, L., Brietzke,E., Lafer, B., &amp Grassi‐Oliveira,R. (2011). Childhood maltreatment and clinical outcomes of bipolardisorder. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 124(6),427-434.

Hajebi, A., Motevalian, A., Amin-Esmaeili, M., Hefazi, M.,Radgoodarzi, R., Rahimi-Movaghar, A., &amp Sharifi, V. (2012).Telephone versus face-to-face administration of the StructuredClinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of MentalDisorders, for diagnosis of psychotic disorders. Comprehensivepsychiatry, 53(5), 579-583.

Vilariño, M., Arce, R., &amp Fariña, F. (2013). Forensic-clinicalinterview: Reliability and validity for the evaluation ofpsychological injury. The European Journal of Psychology Appliedto Legal Context, 5(1), 1-21.