One of the most simple and direct ways of understanding a person’s problems is to ask him about his various experiences or symptoms. In a structured interview, a series of specific questions are asked. Questions cover most of the symptoms or problems that might be experienced by someone with a specific diagnosis like major depression, obsessive–compulsive disorder or alcohol dependence.
These interviews are “Structured” in that the examiner asks a pre–planned list of questions to ensure that the problem is assessed thoroughly. Diagnoses can be made when a person shows a specific number or type of symptoms. Structured interviews are efficient ways of asking about each symptom to determine if it is present, and to what degree it exists, in the individual. A person’s responses to such questions may lead to a diagnosis and the development of a treatment plan.