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Clinical interviewing is a flexible method for gathering assessment information and initiating psychotherapy. Clinical interviews can be used to establish therapeutic relationships, provide role inductions for psychotherapy, gather assessment information, develop case formulations/treatment plans, and for implementing therapeutic interventions. When used for assessment or intake purposes, clinical interviews focus on specific content, such as psychodiagnosis, mental status, and suicide risk. Although central to psychodiagnostic assessment, interview reliability and validity can be adversely affected by noncredible client responding (e.g., the over- or underreporting of symptoms). To address noncredible client responding, clinicians need to (1) be aware of the potential for inaccurate reporting, (2) adopt a “scientific mindedness” approach, (3) manage their countertransference, (4) use specific questioning or interpersonal strategies, and (5) triangulate data by using information from multiple sources. Undoubtedly, technology and other forces may change how future clinicians conduct clinical interviews; however, it is likely that clinical interviews will remain foundational to psychological assessment and treatment.
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