Lesson 6: CLINICAL APPROACH TO INTERVIEWING – PART 2

Lesson 6: CLINICAL APPROACH TO INTERVIEWING – PART 2

Harry Stack Sullivan was a brilliant pioneer in the elaboration of the psychiatric interview process. He used an interactive and sometimes confrontational interview style. In fact, he commented, “I do not believe that I have had an interview with anybody in 25 years in which the person to whom I was talking was not annoyed during the early part of the interview by my asking stupid questions.” Sullivan’s style was based upon a concept of the expert client relationship in which the goal was for the patient to leave the interview with some measure of increased clarity about himself and his living with other people. In contrast to his own interview style, Sullivan was opposed to a one sided interrogation in which questions are asked and answered without any attention given to the subject’s insecurities and no clue given to the meaning of the information elicited. Sullivan opposed this question and answer technique and asserted that it cannot work to assess, a person’s assets and liabilities in terms of his future living. He also noted that the patient comes to the interview with some expectation of improvement or other personal gain from the experience. These high expectations can be useful to motivate the patient toward clinical improvement.

 

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