Goals of the Psychiatric Interview
The interviewer may be thought of as seeking the
answers to several basic questions about the patient and the presenting
prob-lems. These questions provide the mental framework of the inter-view
(although not its explicit form). They begin with triaging of patients into
broad categories of type and severity and progress to inquiry about details in
each salient area. Table 3.1 lists the questions which the interview addresses
and the implications of each for understanding and treating the patient. The
answers to the questions in Table 3.1 are presented here in greater detail.
This is the most basic question which the
psychiatrist is called upon to answer, and determines whether or not there is
any need for further psychiatric assessment or treatment.
The answer to this question determines the
necessary level of treatment, ranging from hospitalization with close
observation to infrequent outpatient visits. The main determinants of severity
are dangerousness to self and others and impairment in ability to care for
oneself and function in social and occupational roles.