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Psychologists’ Diagnostic Processes during a Diagnostic Interview

Author(s): Marleen Groenier | Vos R. J. Beerthuis | Jules M. Pieters | Cilia L. M Witteman | Jan A. Swinkels

Journal: Psychology
ISSN 2152-7180

Volume: 02;
Issue: 09;
Start page: 917;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Clinical Decision Making | Diagnostic Interview | Stimulated Recall | Simulated Patient

In mental health care, psychologists assess clients’ complaints, analyze underlying problems, and identify causes for these problems, to make treatment decisions. We present a study on psychologists’ diagnostic processes, in which a mixed-method approach was employed. We aimed to identify a common structure in the diagnostic processes of different psychologists. We engaged an actor to simulate a client. Participants were asked to perform a diagnostic interview with this “client”. This interview was videotaped. Afterwards participants first wrote a report and then were asked to review their considerations during the interview. We found that psychologists were comprehensive in their diagnostic interviews. They addressed the client’s complaints, possible classifications, explanations, and treatments. They agreed about the classifications, more than about causal factors and treatment options. The content of the considerations differed between the interviews and the reports written afterwards. We conclude that psychologists continuously shifted between diagnostic activities and revised their decisions in line with the dynamics of the interview situation.
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