PsychEd Episode 17: The Psychiatric Interview with Dr. Juveria Zaheer

Welcome to PsychEd, the psychiatry podcast for medical learners, by medical learners.

In this episode of our miniseries on psychiatric skills, we review the core content areas of a psychiatric assessment and look at techniques to improve interviewing efficiency, accuracy, and alliance building.

Our expert for this episode is Dr. Juveria Zaheer, a clinician scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto in Toronto, ON.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the episode you, the learner, should…

    1. Have a clear understanding of the goals of a complete psychiatric interview and the general structure and content that should be covered

    2. Feel comfortable to begin to use techniques that will help you conduct a professional, compassionate, empathic, efficient, and accurate interview

    3. Be familiar with techniques you can use to facilitate information gathering in more challenging interviews

Episode Timepoints:

3:15 - Purpose of the psychiatric interview

6:30 - First content areas of the interview; introduction, ID, RFR, CC, HPI, ROS, Past Psych Hx

19:00 - Techniques and Strategies for Organized and Efficient Psychiatric ROS

26:00 - Details of Past Psychiatric History

29:30 - Past Medical History

31:00 - Substance Use History

33:30 - Medications

34:20 - Family Psych History

36:25 - Personal and Developmental History (Content & Process discussion)

44:00 - Commonly missed areas including Legal/Forensic history

45:00 - Shift from content to process discussion “how to best manage a psychiatric interview”

49:00 - Self-care and monitoring

52:00 - Building rapport, therapeutic alliance, empathy

53:30 - Alex and Lucy reflect on their growth as interviewers over 4 years in residency

73:00 - Managing challenging interviews

References and Resources:

  1. Shea, S. C. (1998). Psychiatric Interviewing E-Book: The Art of Understanding: A Practical Guide for Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Counselors, Social Workers, Nurses, and Other Mental Health Professionals

  2. Carlat, D. J. (2016). The psychiatric interview: A practical guide. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

CPA Note: The views expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the Canadian Psychiatric Association.

For more PsychEd, follow us on Twitter (@psychedpodcast) and Facebook. You can provide feedback by email at For more information visit our website: