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January 1954


Author Affiliations


From the Neuropsychiatric Institute.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1954;71(1):24-30. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1954.02320370026002

THE INITIAL, or "diagnostic," interview differs from all subsequent hours spent in psychotherapy. At this first meeting between doctor and patient, many initial impressions are formed on both sides, the beginnings of the relationship are established, and the doctor endeavors to form some tentative diagnostic formulation of the entire problem so that he can plan the most effective course of treatment. Little has been written about this first hour with the patient; this paper represents some of our thoughts on the matter, which we have tried to present in a way that would be helpful to the medical student, intern, and psychiatric resident. We shall discuss some of the theoretical aspects, areas that should be covered, and a few of the practical problems frequently encountered.

One repeatedly sees examples of the difficulties experienced by the neophyte in his attempts in examination of the patient. There is the senior student who

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