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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: Written as a brief guide to improve a clinician's skill in interviewing psychiatric patients, this book addresses topics such as how to conduct an evaluation, how to include family for collateral information, and how to synthesize accumulated data for use by other clinicians.
Purpose: As the author suggests, this book is geared toward learning the very basics of conducting a psychiatric interview. He notes it is emphatically not a manual on psychiatric disorders or psychotherapy, or an interviewing textbook.
Audience: Though useful for anyone wishing to brush up on their interviewing acumen, this book is directed mainly at professionals in the early stages of their careers, such as medical students, psychiatric residents, and anyone else wanting to learn the fundamentals of a psychiatric evaluation.
Features: While this book's focus is mainly on how to conduct a thorough and useful psychiatric interview, it contains many additional features readers may find helpful. For example, there are many short sections labeled "Tips" and "Key Points" throughout the chapters that provide additional useful clinical information, and each chapter begins with a shaded box containing "Essential Concepts" readers should absorb from their reading. Appendixes include "Pocket Cards" of psychiatric concepts and terms, forms for use during a psychiatric interview, and patient education handouts.
Assessment: I found this book to be user friendly and quite practical. Handy mnemonics appear throughout the book to help readers recall essential concepts, and the author goes to great lengths to tailor information to his audience so that it is not overwhelming. Case examples are productive, and though some detail is omitted for the sake of brevity, they remain effective in highlighting important components. Overall, this is a book I will recommend to those who are new to the field.