Assessment is an important aspect of clinical practice in mental health. However, conducting an assessment and taking a history depends on the unique circumstances of each individual. The clinical situation therefore determines the style of interview, requiring clinicians to be flexible in their approach:

Interview formats are guides only, and it may be off-putting for the person if an assessment is conducted in a mechanical or ‘checklist’ style.

A mental health assessment is not merely about extracting information but also about sensitively engaging the person.

25 Highly structured questions can appear impersonal and threatening, and may inhibit engagement.

A conversational tone can also help the person to feel more comfortable, and perhaps make them more likely to share their thoughts and feelings.