Interview Techniques (Adapted from Craig, RJ (1989) The clinical interviewing process. In Craig, RJ. (Ed.) Clinical and Diagnostic Interviewing)


Therapists have an array of techniques that they use in an interview:

  1. Questioning:
    C: As a kid I was alwaus in trouble
    T: What kind of trouble were you in?
  2. Reflection:
    C: I just can't seem to get anywhere in my life
    T: Your lack of progress frustrates you?
  3. Restatement (Paraphrasing):
    C: Thoughts are racing in my mind, I just cant concentrate, I'm confused
    T: These strange things in your mind are disturbing to you?
  4. Clarification:
    C: My mother is out most of the night leaving me alone. She comes home at all hours, sometime she doesnt' come home at all.
    T: What is your mother doing when she is out like this?
  5. usually done by using one of the other techniques (questioning, paraphrasing, restating)
  6. purpose is to provide understanding of the client in the interview
  7. rarely evokes defensiveness - client wants therapist to understand the problem
  8. gives client additional opportunity to tell story
  9. Confrontation:
    C: I only drink a couple of times a day.
    T: let's be honest. You drink every morning and every night after work. Wouldn't you say you were dependent on alcohol?
  10. Self-disclosure
    C: People don't understand what it's like to not be able to learn. I can't get good grades in school. I'm stupid.
    T: When I was in school, I was dyslexic too. But you can still do well in life despite this problem. You're not stupid, you have a learning disorder.
  11. Silence:
    C: I get so angry I feel like hitting someone
    T: no response
  12. Exploration:
    C: My father used to beat me.
    T: Can you give me more information on that? How often did he beat you? How did he do it? Why did he do it?
  13. Reframing (Cognitive reframing):
    C: I realize now he'll never change I have to accept that.
    T: How could you take advantage of the situation so that it can benefit you?