An Approach to Rehearsed Interviews

Mar 01, 2017

“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It empties today of its strength.”

On a coffee mug
designed by Mary Engelbreit

An Approach to Rehearsed Interviews

TISA Description of the Problem: Sometimes patients, especially those with chronic illnesses such as schizophrenia or recurrent depressions, through no fault of their own, find themselves retelling their stories over and over to different clinicians. In some instances their clinical histories lose their human urgency as the patient provides a variant of what is sometimes called a “rehearsed interview”. The following tip provides a nice method of revitalizing the connection between the client and the interviewer in such instances.

Tip: If I am working with a new client and I get the sensation that the client is feeling frustrated that he or she is being asked to cover the same old material once again, the following is often of use:

Clinician: Obviously, you’ve told your story to many therapists (or different people). What would you like me to hear that other people have not heard?

TISA Follow-up: A strategy such as the above might prove to be a refreshing change of pace for patients weary of being interviewed, while also potentially uncovering valuable new insights into helping the client.

Tip provided by:

Teena Moy
Health Partners, St. Paul, Minnesota

TISA is a site dedicated to advancing the science and art
Of preventing suicide and teaching clinical interviewing