Standard Article

Unstructured Clinical Interviews

  1. Stephen S. Ilardi1,
  2. Natalie Stroupe1,
  3. Ann D. Branstetter2

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy1018

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Ilardi, S. S., Stroupe, N. and Branstetter, A. D. 2010. Unstructured Clinical Interviews. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–4.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Kansas

  2. 2

    Missouri State University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The clinical interview has long been regarded as a foundational element of psychiatric and clinical psychological practice (Sullivan, 1954; Wiens, 1976). The interview format affords clinicians a direct opportunity to solicit from clients salient, firsthand information regarding their presenting problems and the exigencies thereof—assessment information that typically proves germane to the ongoing process of case conceptualization (e.g., diagnosis) and the formulation of appropriate intervention strategies (Scheiber, 1994). In addition, under many circumstances, the clinical interview involves the interviewer in the process not only of assessment but also of implementing de facto interventions, that is, acting as an agent of salubrious clinical change during the interview itself.


  • clinical interviews;
  • diagnostic methods;
  • interviews;
  • unstructured interviews