Clinical Interviewing: Intake, Assessment & Therapeutic Alliance
by John Sommers-Flanagan, PhD & Rita Sommers-Flanagan, PhD
How do you do an assessment, collect historical data, develop a treatment plan and create a warm working alliance with clients all in the first session? Learn from experts John and Rita Sommers-Flanagan how to quickly create the foundation for a successful therapy and engage clients collaboratively in the treatment process.
Whether you are in private practice or working in a clinic setting, clinical interviewing skills are essential to your practice. Yet sadly, many clinicians lack a basic understanding of what’s involved in these crucial first sessions. What’s more, resources on how to gather client information are often packaged either as dry procedural steps or vague theories of communication. In this video, seasoned clinical educators John and Rita Sommers-Flanagan present an integrated, actionable combination of interviewing protocols and relational techniques that clarify how clinicians can glean necessary information in the initial sessions, while building a strong therapeutic alliance.

Weaving together structured lessons, easy-to-follow demonstrations, and delightful commentary, the Sommers-Flanagans break down interviewing skills in a straightforward way. Drawing from actual therapy sessions, they present seven interviewing themes with real-world examples of basic listening, directives, therapeutic questions, and more. Demonstrations feature easy-to-see callouts of the various skills covered, interspersed with informative, playful commentary from the hosts.

More complex interviewing skills are covered next, with detailed segments on intake interviews, mental status examinations, and suicide assessments. Here we learn thorough protocols for eliciting important information from our clients, while leveraging therapeutic listening to deepen rapport with them.

Watch the Sommers-Flanagans, along with other therapists, demonstrate these techniques with a range of clients. In addition to highlighting the clinical interview format, their toolkit emphasizes collaboration, empathy, intuition, and cultural awareness. Their warm and compassionate dynamic infuses both their teaching and therapeutic work, and makes this seemingly “clinical” material both approachable and enjoyable.

If you’re looking to learn more about clinical listening, interviewing, and assessment from clinicians who literally wrote the book on the subject, you’ll want to add this video to your library for essential tools you can start using today.

What therapists are saying…

"Indispensable interviewing skills imparted by two master teachers in an engaging, multimedia presentation. Following the maxim of 'show and tell,' the Sommers-Flanagans provide evidence-based, culture-sensitive relational skills tailored to individual clients. An instructional gem!"

 -- John C. Norcross, PhD, ABPP, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of Scranton; Editor, Psychotherapy Relationships That Work
"Before watching this video, I’d considered the text Clinical Interviewing a ‘must-read,’ and now after watching the accompanying video, I consider the book in combination with the video video to be a 'must-have!' This video clearly demonstrates essential skills for beginning therapists with a culturally diverse group of clients, and is a valuable resource for training programs and any beginning clinician who wants to be the best they can be!"

-- Pamela A. Hays, PhD, Author of Addressing Cultural Complexities in Practice; Supervisor for The Kenaitze Tribe’s Nakenu Family Center, Soldotna, Alaska
In Depth
CE Test
Simply put, we believe this to be the best video on this topic ever produced, and in fact one of the top training videos in the entire field of psychotherapy and counseling! We've been in the business of producing and distributing videos in the field since 1995, so we don't make this statement lightly. (And we aren't patting ourselves on the back; we wish we could take credit for this one, but we didn't actually produce it ourselves.)

 Whether you’re just starting out with clients or looking to expand your intake and assessment skills, this comprehensive video with John and Rita Sommers-Flanagan will guide you through the full assortment of clinical interviewing techniques.

This video will help you gain confidence in both the science and the art of the clinical interview, and offer you the “foundation for intuition” that informs therapeutic assessment, intervention, and relationship-building skills.

Skills, steps, and protocols are all covered here, with discussions of multicultural counseling, mental status examinations, and collaborative processes. You’ll also see what not to do with a client, as part of a comical but cautionary demonstration on the pitfalls of directive interventions. For new and experienced clinicians alike, this comprehensive yet accessible video is a must-have in your toolkit.

By watching this video, you will:
  • Identify interventions along a continuum of clinical listening responses, from basic to complex.
  • Understand the goals and steps of different clinical assessments and examinations.
  • Learn tools for establishing and deepening the therapeutic alliance during various types of clinical interventions.

Length of video: 02:08:45

Number of Discs: 0

English subtitles available on: Stream, DVD

This DVD plays in All Regions

Individual ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-390-1

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-391-X

John Sommers-Flanagan, PhD, is a professor of counselor education at the University of Montana. He is also a clinical psychologist and mental health consultant with Trapper Creek Job Corps. He served as executive director of Families First Parenting Programs from 1995 to 2003 and was previously co-host of a radio talk-show on Montana Public Radio titled, “What is it with Men?”

Primarily specializing in working with children, parents, and families, John is author or coauthor of over 50 professional publications and nine books. Some of his latest books, co-written with his wife Rita, include How to Listen so Parents will Talk and Talk so Parents will Listen (John Wiley & Sons, 2011) and Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories in Context and Practice (2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, 2012), Clinical Interviewing (5th ed., Wiley, 2014), and Tough Kids, Cool Counseling (2nd ed., ACA, 2007). In his wild and precious spare time, John loves to run (slowly), dance (poorly), laugh (loudly) and produce home-made family music videos.

Rita Sommers-Flanagan, PhD, has been a professor of counselor education at the University of Montana for over two decades. She is a clinical psychologist and has served as a mental health consultant for the Vet Center in Missoula Montana. She is also on the Executive Board of the faculty union, and very involved in the issues facing academia and higher education.

Rita has published text books, professional articles, books chapters, and poems. Some of these include an ethics text, a book for parents facing divorce, and other works co-authored with her husband, John Sommers-Flanagan. She has particular interests in feminist theory and therapy, as well as professional and applied ethics. In her spare time, she works on alternative energy projects, writing fiction, gardening, jogging, and being grateful for all the wonders and joys that life entails.

CE credits: 2

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify interventions along a continuum of clinical listening responses, from basic to complex.
  • Understand the goals and steps of different clinical assessments and examinations.
  • Learn tools for establishing and deepening the therapeutic alliance during various types of clinical interventions.
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