The importance of interview skills in psychiatry cannot be underestimated, and the acquisition of adequate interview skills must be one of the foremost aims of training. The College requirement that MRCPsych candidates must interview the patient in front of the examiners (in both parts I and II) rightly stresses the fundamental importance of interview skills in clinical practice. Maguire (1982) has questioned the adequacy of standard methods of training psychiatrists (usually reporting and discussing interview findings with a senior colleague) in interview skills. In a study of medical students, he has shown that audio/videotaped observation of interviews with feedback is superior to traditional methods (Maguire et al, 1978). Gask et al (1988) demonstrated that use of group video feedback training was effective in improving psychiatric skills in a group of general practitioners. Rutter & Cox (1981) published a series of studies examining the effects of interview style on the quality of factual information obtained and the emotional response elicited. Such work has generated interest in interview skills training and specialised courses are now run in some centres.
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