The British Journal of Psychiatry
Psychiatric interviewing techniques. IV. Experimental study: Four contrasting styles.
M Rutter, A Cox, S Egert, D Holbrook, B Everitt


The development and definition of four contrasting interview styles is described. The four styles were designed using different permutations of techniques which, on the basis of an earlier naturalistic study, appeared to be most effective in eliciting either factual information or feelings. A 'sounding board' style utilized a minimal activity approach; an 'active psychotherapy' style actively sought to explore feelings and to bring out emotional links and meanings; a 'structured' style adopted an active cross-questioning approach, and a 'systematic exploratory' style aimed to combine a high use of both fact-oriented and feeling-oriented techniques. Quantitative measures based on video-tape and audio-tape analysis showed that two experienced interviewers could be trained to adopt these four very different styles and yet remain feeling and appearing natural. An experimental design to compare the four styles is described.