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Bull Menninger Clin. 2001 Fall;65(4):503-21.

Interviewing violent patients.

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  • 1The Austen Riggs Center, 25 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA 01262-0962, USA.


A clinical attitude to the interview of violent patients is outlined, which enables maximum safety for the clinician and usefulness of the interview findings. This approach emphasizes careful monitoring of subjective states in the patient and clinician. The author suggests an emphasis on clinical knowledge of the DSM-IV and psychodynamic diagnoses of potentially violent psychiatric patients; self-awareness of transference and countertransference; and self-care including attention to personal physical and emotional needs, de-escalation, and self-defense skills. Finally, there is need for a safe therapeutic context within which to work.

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