Offering patients opportunities to reveal their subjective experiences in psychiatric assessment interviews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Objective: With the intention of understanding the dynamics of psychiatric interviews, we investigated the usual (DSM/ICD-based) psychiatric assessment process and an alternative assessment process based on a case formulation method. We compared the two different approaches in terms of the clinicians’ practices for offering patients opportunities to reveal their subjective experiences.
Methods: Using qualitative and quantitative applications of conversation analysis, we compared patient–clinician interaction in five usual psychiatric assessments (AAU) with five assessment interviews based on dialogical sequence analysis (DSA).
Results: The frequency of conversational sequences where the patient described his/her problematic experiences was higher in the DSA interviews than in the AAU interviews. In DSA, the clinicians typically facilitated the patient’s subjective experience talk by experience-focused questions and formulations, whereas in AAU, such talk typically occurred in environments where the clinicians’ questions and formulations focused on non-experiential, medical matters.
Conclusion: Interaction in DSA was organized to provide for the patient’s experience-focused talk, whereas in AAU, the patient needed to go against the conversational grain to produce such talk.
Practice implications: By facilitating patients’ opportunities to uncover subjective experiences, it is possible to promote their individualized care planning in psychiatry.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1296-1303
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology
  • 515 Psychology
  • Dialogical sequence analysis
  • Psychiatric assessment
  • Conversation analysis
  • Subjective experience
  • Working alliance
  • patient-clinician interaction
  • Individualized treatment plan
  • ZONE

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