Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Clinical Psychology Competencies

pp 209-236

Clinical Interviewing with Children

  • J. Christopher YoungAffiliated withUniversity of Mississippi
  • , Julie A. DavidsonAffiliated withUniversity of Mississippi
  • , Alan M. GrossAffiliated withUniversity of Mississippi


The aim of this chapter was to provide a comprehensive overview of clinical interviewing with children. The chapter details the basic clinician competencies essential for obtaining the requisite breadth and depth of necessary information for case conceptualization, diagnosis, and responding to the referral. Clinicians must possess an extensive knowledge of developmental trajectories and symptoms of psychopathologies and medical disorders commonly observed in children. Clinicians must also be prepared to recognize and address a range of cultural influences that include language barriers, acculturation, the involvement of the family, and additional factors that influence information provided by the child and family members. APA and DSM-IV-TR guidelines for cultural formulation and practice are discussed. Review and suggestions for employing developmentally appropriate language and question format are also examined. Last, considerations and methods for obtaining additional information from parents and teachers are reviewed. Following examination of these core skills, the chapter explores and outlines the administration of an effective interview. Suggestions are provided in the selection of interviewing format and instruments, discussing and establishing the bounds of confidentiality, and cultivation of rapport. Another section of the chapter highlights a group of expert competencies that clinicians who frequently work with children should possess. Strategies for interviewing children who are hesitant or opposed to participating in the interview are offered. The assessment of suicide risk and allegations of maltreatment and various forms of abuse (i.e., sexual, physical, verbal) are also examined in the expert competencies section. Last, factors and considerations associated with forensic interviewing are provided. The chapter concludes with suggestions for obtaining didactic and applied clinical experiences necessary for competent clinical practice.