The clinical interview as a method in suicide risk assessment

Mark Schechter and John T Maltsberger

in Oxford Textbook of Suicidology and Suicide Prevention

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198570059
Published online July 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199640461 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

The clinical interview as a method in suicide risk assessment

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In this chapter we describe the role of the clinical interview in the assessment of suicide risk. In the course of the interview the clinician must endeavour to understand the patient’s crisis from both the ‘objective/descriptive’ and the ‘experiential’ perspectives, each of which we describe in detail. A focus on both of these perspectives is critical in the clinician’s coming to the best possible understanding of the patient. In addition to the role of the clinical interview in assessing risk, this critical clinical interaction is also the beginning of the treatment relationship and crisis intervention; thus it has a role in reducing risk as well. Finally, we comment briefly on the clinician’s conscious as well as unconscious responses to the patient, or ‘countertransference’, that can arise in the interview of potentially suicidal patients and influence the clinical assessment.

Chapter.  6644 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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