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The Psychiatric Interview in Clinical Practice, Third Edition

Roger A. MacKinnon, M.D., Robert Michels, M.D., and Peter J. Buckley, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-61537-034-4
  • Item #37034

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Much has changed in the critical interval since the last edition of The Psychiatric Interview in Clinical Practice was published. This new, third edition provides an up-to-date examination of the psychiatric interview that reflects changes introduced in DSM-5, while continuing to recognize that describing symptoms and establishing a diagnosis should command only a portion of the clinician's attention, and that a patient's personal history must be elicited and character structure addressed in the clinical engagement. Significant advances have been made in biological psychiatry, and research in genetics, cognitive neuroscience, psychopharmacology, brain imaging, and the neurosciences in general continues apace, informing the culture of psychiatry and providing growing insight into the etiology of mental illnesses. However, the book reflects the authors' belief that virtually all major psychiatric disorders are complex amalgams of genetic disposition and environmental influences. In this context, the psychiatric interview is a vitally important dialogue, and effective strategies are modeled through the use of clinical vignettes taken from the authors' experience.

Topics and features of this new edition include:

  • An updating of diagnostic considerations to reflect the publication of DSM-5.
  • A chapter on interviewing the patient with dissociative identity disorder (DID), which is now recognized as an entity distinct from other psychopathological conditions and rooted in childhood trauma. The frequency of DID in the ambulatory setting has been repeatedly demonstrated and speaks to the need to accurately diagnose and treat this often-debilitating disorder.
  • An entirely updated chapter on interviewing the traumatized patient.
  • A section on interviewing the patient of different background. The book emphasizes that the subjective experience of being different is universal and that psychiatry is enriched by recognizing and exploring that experience, validating its existence, and attempting to understand how it influences the patient's life.
  • Continued emphasis on and inclusion of relevant case vignettes drawn from the authors' clinical experiences.
  • Structural consistency across chapters, with sections on psychopathology and psychodynamics, differential diagnosis, management of the interview, transference and countertransference, and so forth, which reinforces skills acquisition and makes the text easy to use.

By creating a text that is aligned with DSM-5 while continuing to stress the importance of eliciting the patient's subjective experience and achieving a therapeutic dialogue, the authors of The Psychiatric Interview in Clinical Practice have done a great service to the profession and provided much-needed guidance to mental health clinicians and trainees.


  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • PART I: General Principles
  • Chapter 1. General Principles of the Interview
  • Chapter 2. General Principles of Psychodynamics
  • PART II: Major Clinical Syndromes
  • Chapter 3. The Obsessive-Compulsive Patient
  • Chapter 4. The Histrionic Patient
  • Chapter 5. The Narcissistic Patient
  • Chapter 6. The Masochistic Patient
  • Chapter 7. The Depressed Patient
  • Chapter 8. The Anxiety Disorder Patient
  • Chapter 9. The Traumatized Patient
  • Chapter 10. The Borderline Patient
  • Chapter 11. The Antisocial Patient
  • Chapter 12. The Paranoid Patient
  • Chapter 13. The Psychotic Patient
  • Chapter 14. The Psychosomatic Patient
  • Chapter 15. The Cognitively Impaired Patient
  • PART III: Special Clinical Situations
  • Chapter 16. The Emergency Patient
  • Chapter 17. The Hospitalized Patient
  • Chapter 18. The Patient of Different Background
  • PART IV: Technical Factors Affecting the Interview
  • Chapter 19. Note Taking and the Psychiatric Interview
  • Chapter 20. Telephones, E-Mail, and the Psychiatric Interview
  • Afterword
  • Bibliography
  • Index


    Roger A. MacKinnon, M.D.
    Robert Michels, M.D.
    Peter J. Buckley, M.D.
    Alessandra Scalmati, M.D., Ph.D.
    Brad Foote, M.D.
    John W. Barnhill, M.D.

About the Authors

Roger A. Mackinnon, M.D., is Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychiatry in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, in New York, New York.

Robert Michels, M.D., is Walsh McDermott University Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, in New York, New York.

Peter J. Buckley, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in Bronx, New York; and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research in New York, New York.

In this extraordinary book, the authors do several things that pertain to psychiatric interviewing, including: outlining the principles of interviewing, outlining the principles of psychodynamics, providing wonderful examples of each type of patient, and reviewing special circumstances. The authors also give a picture of how differential diagnosis can be used in the understanding of different kinds of patients. This book offers one of the best guides for doing good clinical work in the world of mental health. It should be required reading for all students in our field.—Elizabeth L. Auchincloss, M.D., Vice-chair, Education, Department of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College

This is an outstanding resource for psychiatric education in general. Going beyond while covering DSM-5, it shows how to find out about and understand a patient's complex personality syndrome by evaluating the interactions of symptoms, problems of identity and interpersonal relationships, past history, current defenses and coping strategies, as well as conscious and unconscious mental processes underlying thought and emotion. I recommend it highly for a wide range of readers from beginners to continuing evolution of seasoned clinicians.—Mardi Horowitz, M.D., Author of, Adult Personality Growth in Psychotherapy, Distinguished Professor Psychiatry

The Psychiatric Interview in Clinical Practice brings the wisdom, relatedness and empathy of the psychodynamic model into the sometimes rough-and-tumble world of the psychiatric interview as it is practiced today in a wide variety of settings. Chapters organized by the presenting complaint lead the reader with lucidity and clarity into a deeper understanding of the patient and explain how to conduct a compassionate, individually-tailored and effective psychiatric interview. This book shows the way to younger clinicians and reminds seasoned practitioners of how much more there is to learn.—Richard F. Summers, M.D., Co-Director of Residency Training, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

As a resident psychiatrist, I found this book extremely enlightening. In addition to providing a framework for approaching various types of patients, it elucidated many missteps from notably poor patient encounters from my training. The clinical vignettes in each chapter serve to further develop this education. They are especially helpful in transforming concepts of the psychiatric interview into tangible applications that can be more easily incorporated into clinical practice. Throughout the book, the authors address potential transference, countertransference, motivations for patients' behavior, and nuances of the psychiatric interview. This helps stem the clinicians' frustrations during the interview, improve empathy, and thereby achieve the authors' goal. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to colleagues, but a more thorough discussion of the manic patient would be helpful, especially for residents learning to manage this particularly difficult interview.—Cameron J. Risma, M.D,, Doody's Book Review

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