Clinical and consider what topics are most essential to

Assessment – Clinical Interviews


as humans make decisions and assessments everyday. From deciding what we are
going to wear to what we are going to have for dinner. In abnormal psychology,
clinicians typically gather information about their clients to get a better
understanding of them, as part of an assessment. Eventually, assembling a
diagnosis and treatment plan. Clinical assessments help establish how and why a
person is behaving abnormally and the best way to help that person (Comer,
2013).  They are also used to determine
and evaluate the progression of the treatment or if changes need to be made to
further benefit the person (Comer, 2013). Because there are various techniques
and tools to assessing a client, different categories have been made. Some of
these categories are: clinical interviews, intelligence tests, and observations.

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clinical interview is a face-to-face tool that helps clinicians accurately
diagnosis their client during their first engagement. During this initial
assessment, the clinician learns about the client on a deeper level. Most of
the time, they discuss personal history, lifestyle, relationships, feelings and
problems they are having (Comer, 2013). Additionally, the clinician may also be
able to assess the clients’ emotions and reactions. Beyond gathering
information, there are different styles of interviews, each pin pointing
different objectives during their evaluations. Some examples are,
psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, biological, and sociocultural
interviewers. These may be structured or unstructured interviews. Structured
being designed to have a prepared standard set of questions, along with
potentially having a mental status exam, which observes the client and compares
responses to various different individuals. In contrast, an unstructured
interview is more open and typically starts off with “tell me about yourself?” This
lets the interview base the conversation off of the information from the topics
being discussed and consider what topics are most essential to diagnosis.

order for clinical interviews to be beneficial and of use, they must be standardized,
have clear reliability, and validity (Comer, 2013). Both structured and
unstructured interviews present several strengths in the way they are
organized. Structured interviews contain a fixed format, which allows the
clinician to stick to the schedule, making it simpler and efficient to discuss
the issues. With these structured questions, it can potentially allow for
detailed responses from the client and allow the clinician to get a better idea
of the issue. Because the questions are prearranged it may also be
straightforward when evaluating and analyzing. In comparison, unstructured
interviews have the ability to be very flexible and comfortable for both the
clinician and client in an informal way. It lets the clinician have a better
understanding, by having great and more of an interactive discussion to clarify
any doubts.

the administration and interpretation during clinical assessments can also have
limitations and disadvantages. Mistakes may occur if interviewers are biased or
make wrong judgments. Structured interviews can potentially have too many
complex questions and may be intimidating to clients. In addition, the data
interviewers use to assess their clients is inconsistent and not reliable
(Rich). Similarly, unstructured interviews may also lack reliability, as they
use open questions, which may not be suitable for everyone. They can also be
time consuming due to the fact that they do not know where to stop.




Comer, Ronald J. Fundamentals of
Abnormal Psychology. 7th ed., Worth, 2013.

Jonathan. “What Makes a Good Test?” Psychological Testing,