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From The CriticsReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: This relatively concise book contains insights and suggestions about performing competent and compassionate psychiatric interviews of individuals with mental health issues.
Purpose: Written by clinicians for clinicians, this book was penned to illustrate and teach the "fundamental generic skills" needed by mental health professionals to understand, and more importantly, appreciate the patients they are evaluating.
Audience: Though undoubtedly useful for those practicing in other areas of mental health (social workers, psychologists. nurses), this book is meant to function as a guide to those with the specific knowledge base and skills of a psychiatrist.
Features: This book addresses the main areas important in completing a psychiatric evaluation, but goes a step further by discussing issues around self-awareness all mental health providers must possess to be in tune with making an accurate assessment and intervention. Most chapters include interesting case examples, and each chapter ends with a section highlighting the main points illustrated in the text.
Assessment: While this book offers excellent insight and thought-provoking ideas to generate both internal and external discussion, its utility for an audience in the United States is unclear. For example, since evaluations have a different structure in the U.K. (the psychiatrist apparently functions as the leader of a team approach in the U.K., while in the U.S., the majority of psychiatrists function independently), and those in the U.K. diagnose conditions using the ICD-10 instead of the DSM-IV-TR, there are bits and pieces seemingly lost in the translation for the U.S. reader. Even with these limitations, however, the authors offer a brief and useful description of many of the most complicated concepts in the practice of this fascinating subspecialty, often leading the reader to better understand and appreciate the fundamentals of practicing psychiatry, which they must do elsewhere.