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Initial interview format is essential when assessing the client for the first time. It helps the provider better understand the client’s history and create a therapeutic relationship between the client and the provider. When the provider knows the client’s previous medical and psychological history, it helps with the plan of psychiatric care for the client and a much better outcome. An initial interview is an essential tool for diagnosing mental disorders in adults (Sadock, Sadock, & Ruiz, 2015). 

Clinical Diagnostic interview (CDI)is a tool my preceptor use for her clients. CDI involves asking patients or research participants direct questions about specific diagnostic criteria while relying primarily on the examinee’s explicit endorsement of each diagnostic criterion. Structured questions follow directly from the DSM-5 and correspond to symptoms for each diagnosis. The Clinical Diagnostic Interview attempts to maximize reliability while using the procedures clinicians rely on in practice. Clinicians report, across theoretical orientations, that although they rely on direct questions about symptoms in part, they also rely on multiple other factors in regular assessment and diagnosis, including observing patients’ interactions with them and listening to their narratives about their lives. The CDI provides systematic guidelines for obtaining such information to draw inferences about patients’ characteristic behaviors, affective states, emotion regulation processes, cognitive patterns, and implicit and explicit motives, fears, and goals. (Drill et al., 2017).

One important element of the initial interview format is a comprehensive assessment and a well-formulated assessment that provides a better history of the client’s health and helps with the treatment plan. (Nordgaard et al., 2016).


Drill, R., Nakash, O., DeFife, J. A., & Westen, D. (2017, June). Assessment of CLINICAL Information: Comparison of the validity of a Structured CLINICAL interview (the SCID) and the clinical Diagnostic Interview. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4452387/.

Nordgaard, J., Sass, L. A., & Parnas, J. (2016, June). The psychiatric interview: validity, structure, and subjectivity. European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3668119/.

Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2015). Kaplan & Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry: Behavioral sciences/clinical psychiatry (11th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.