A naturalistic study was undertaken of 36 video and audio-taped interviews undertaken by 7 different psychiatric trainees. The interviews studied were those conducted in the ordinary course of clinic work for diagnostic and therapeutic planning purposes by trainees when first seeing the parent or parents of a child newly referred to a psychiatric clinic. It was found that a variety of rather different interview techniques seemed to facilitate emotional expression. These included a low level of interview talk with few interruptions, a high rate of open rather than closed questions, direct requests for feelings, interpretations and expressions of sympathy. The issue of how far these associations reflected causal influences is discussed.