East Asian Arch Psychiatry 2017;27:125


Psychiatric Interview of Children and Adolescents

Authors: Claudio Cepeda, Lucille Gotanco
American Psychiatric Association Publishing
US$79.00; pp514; ISBN: 978-1-61537-048-1

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Child and adolescent psychiatry trainee doctors often find it is extremely difficult to elicit symptoms from children of different ages and developmental levels, especially when the whole family and other partners or carers are involved. Drs Cepeda and Gotanco’s excellent book illustrates these complex interviewing skills with clinical case examples as well as samples of good and bad questions. The art and skill of engagement, diagnostic interviewing, formulation, feedback, and developing an effective treatment plan are all well-crafted to provide junior doctors with a comprehensive and real-life guide for clinical practice while experienced doctors are offered further consolidation.

The chapters on special interviewing techniques provide a useful toolbox when standard protocols are ineffective. There are rich and useful illustrations of the techniques for limit setting, physical holding, confrontation techniques, the good and the bad, interviewing in displacement, role reversal, role enactment, double-chair techniques, nonverbal techniques, drawing and play techniques. This array of invaluable clinical skills and experience can enhance the clinician’s capacity to engage in difficult situations.

All different categories of symptom presentation, internalising or externalising, neurotic or psychotic or organic are evaluated at different developmental levels in the book. There is a chapter dedicated to neuropsychiatric interview and examination that many readers will find important but difficult to carry out for this age-group. A new chapter that focuses on the psychiatric evaluation of school- age and very young children has been added. It stresses the importance of examining attachment style and bonding.

The highlight of the book is the chapter on making a comprehensive psychiatric formulation. Different factors and psychological theories are evaluated to help readers ask themselves questions and then conceptualise a case. The use of in-depth, illustrative case examples makes this most difficult part easier for readers to understand.

The most impressive chapters that one may wish to immediately read are the last 2 chapters on diagnostic obstacles (resistance) and counter transference. The authors classify various interviewing obstacles and discuss useful strategies for dealing with them. Last but not the least are the views of clinicians about various diagnostic circumstances in which our countertransference may be problematic.

The numerous quick reference tables, key points, notes, and case vignettes that are easy to read, facilitate learning, understanding and consolidation of knowledge gained from the book. “Psychiatric interview of children and adolescents” is an excellent reference for anyone practising in child and adolescent psychiatry. This is a practical and well-organised book about basic clinical skills as well as the specialised skills required for special groups or complex clinical situations.

Phyllis Kwok-ling Chan, MBBS (HK), FRCPsych (UK), FHKCPsych, FHKAM (Psychiatry)

(email: chanklp@ha.org.hk)
Department of Psychiatry
Queen Mary Hospital
Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR China

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