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Psychiatric Interview of Children and Adolescents

Claudio Cepeda, M.D., and Lucille Gotanco, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-61537-048-1
  • Item #37048

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The psychiatric interview is the foundation of the psychotherapeutic process and is critically important to establish trust, elicit useful responses, assess patient behavior and psychopathology, and establish treatment goals and plans. Building on the success of its predecessor, a highly regarded guide to interviewing young patients and their families, Psychiatric Interview of Children and Adolescents, has been thoroughly updated and painstakingly revised to address emerging issues and evolving treatment strategies in an accessible, down-to-earth, and comprehensive style and structure. The book retains its comprehensive coverage of the principles of interviewing, use of the AMSIT model for mental status examinations, and evaluation of both internalizing and externalizing symptoms, as well as its coverage of neuropsychiatric assessment, psychiatric formulation, comorbidities, resistances, and countertransference.
Additional features, either notable or new to this book, include:

  • The importance of diagnostic and therapeutic engagement in establishing trust with the patient and family, and techniques for forging a positive emotional connection, which the authors view as an essential responsibility for the clinician and a linchpin of successful practice.
  • A new chapter on the psychiatric evaluation of preschoolers and very young children, which recognizes that assessment cannot be conducted based solely on adult report, and which presents the multiples model: multiple sessions, multiple informants, multiple experts, multiple modes of assessment, multicultural approach, and multiaxial emphasis.
  • Expanded coverage of bullying, including cyber bullying, which has a pervasive and potentially pernicious effect on young people steeped in social media.
  • Recognition, both throughout the book and in a separate chapter on family assessment, that behavior problems in a child or young adult cannot be understood without the relational context of the family, and that any family member's problems are best understood as manifestations of dysfunctions within the broader family unit.
  • Expanded coverage of the factors and issues involved in evaluating children and adolescents from special populations, including those with neurodevelopmental disorders or intellectual disabilities; those who are disadvantaged, displaced, or victims of discrimination; and those with posttraumatic stress disorder related to terrorism or burn trauma.

The book's instructional aims are enhanced by the use of carefully chosen and compellingly crafted clinical vignettes that illustrate vital concepts and techniques, and key points at the end of each chapter help the reader identify and remember the most important material. Psychiatric Interview of Children and Adolescents will help clinicians master the skills and attain the insight they require to accurately assess and effectively treat this most vulnerable of patient populations.


  • Preface
  • Chapter 1. Diagnostic and Therapeutic Engagement
  • Chapter 2. General Principles of Interviewing
  • Chapter 3. Special Interviewing Techniques
  • Chapter 4. Family Assessment
  • Chapter 5. Providing Post-evaluation Feedback to Families
  • Chapter 6. Evaluation of Special Populations
  • Chapter 7. Psychiatric Evaluation of Preschoolers and Very Young Children
  • Chapter 8. Documenting the Examination
  • Chapter 9. Evaluation of Internalizing Symptoms
  • Chapter 10. Evaluation of Externalizing Symptoms
  • Chapter 11. Evaluation of Abuse and Other Symptoms
  • Chapter 12. Neuropsychiatric Interview and Examination
  • Chapter 13. Comprehensive Psychiatric Formulation
  • Chapter 14. Symptom Formation and Comorbidity
  • Chapter 15. Diagnostic Obstacles (Resistances)
  • Chapter 16. Countertransference
  • Appendix: Sample Format/Protocol for Documentation of Psychiatric Evaluation of Children and Adolescents
  • Bibliography
  • Index

About the Authors

Claudio Cepeda, M.D., is Adjunct Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Life Member of the American Psychiatric Association, and Fellow of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry.

Lucille Gotanco, M.D., is Assistant Medical Director of Inpatient Services at Clarity Child Guidance Center in San Antonio, Texas, and Adjunct Assistant Professor with the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Division at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center—San Antonio. She is affiliated with Southwest Psychiatric Physicians. Dr. Gotanco is a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Many worry that in modern psychiatry the compassionate and in-depth interview of the child and family with mental health issues will become a lost art. The second edition of Dr. Cepeda's excellent book will ensure that this does not happen. Using engaging case histories, Dr. Cepeda illustrates complex interview techniques in a way that makes them easy to implement in the clinic. Those new to child and psychiatry can learn all the basics of interviewing here, while the experienced clinician will find new ways to hone their skills. The book provides a clear roadmap for both a complete mental status examination and formulation. The book is a great resource for seminars on diagnostic interviewing.—Steven R. Pliszka, M.D., Dielmann Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

This is a clearly written introduction to the child and adolescent interview for both trainees and advanced clinicians. It provides a comprehensive overview while also detailing pertinent steps.—Jeffrey Lurie, M.D., Doody's Book Review

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