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 Respond to  your colleagues by constructively critiquing their interview format and providing feedback. 

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Interview Format

         The attached interview format is a combination of components from  interview formats used at current and previous practicum sites, as well  as a few additional elements that are important to consider.  For older  clients with diminished capacity, it is may be more appropriate to  obtain some information from caregivers or spouses accompanying the  client.  Additionally, older clients will require a functional  assessment of ADLs through questions and observations (American  Psychological Association, 2008).  Furthermore, clients that are  difficult to assess due to being too symptomatic may require information  gathering from family or others involved in the client’s care.  For  example, during a previous practicum experience, a client was very  disorganized and psychotic.  He verbally agreed to have information  discussed with his family, who was in the waiting room, and they  provided important background information for the interview.  

Interview Format Used by Preceptor

         The interview used by the current preceptor generally follows the  same format with some additional information.  The current practicum  site is at a VA facility.  Thus, part of the initial interview involves  gathering information regarding clients’ military histories, including  years of service, job title, type of discharge, and whether they were  deployed to combat zones.  Another important component of an interview  with veterans is whether they were victims of military sexual trauma  (MST) (Military Sexual Trauma, n.d.).  Additionally, these  clients are evaluated in the emergency room to determine whether they  require inpatient treatment.  Each client undergoes a physical exam and  requires medical clearance from the emergency room physician.  Another  piece of information included at the beginning of the evaluation  specifies whether the client is admitted under voluntary or involuntary  status.

Most Helpful Element of the Interview Format 

         All of the interview format elements are essential to developing a  case formulation and appropriate treatment plan.  The most important  aspect of an initial interview is how the PMHNP approaches the client.   The PMHNP should approach clients directly and calmly and allow clients  to tell their stories to help build rapport (Sadock et al., 2014,  Chapter 5.1).  Positive client-practitioner interactions, especially  upon meeting, can significantly impact the amount of information  disclosed from clients needed to conduct thorough evaluations and create  treatment plans.

Initial Interview Format .pdf 


American Psychological Association. (2008). Assessment of older adults with diminished capacity.

Military sexual trauma. (n.d.). U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved November 29, 2020, from

Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2014). Kaplan & Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry: Behavioral sciences/clinical psychiatry (11th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.


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