chapter  7
22 Pages

The Mental Status Examination

WithCharles J. Golden and Philinda Smith Hutchings 107

The mental status examination is an essential and integral part of any initial interview with a client, as well as an essential tool in assessing the progress of a client over time. The traditional mental status examination is an informal, general evaluation of the major aspects of the current functioning of the individual, tailored both to the needs of the patient and the clinician. Its primary purpose is to quickly identify the current status of the client: major symptoms that could be associated with a medical or neurological disorder, the presence of major psychological and psychiatric problems (e.g., schizophrenia and major depression), and the overall cognitive and emotional functioning of the individual. When used in conjunction with good history taking and other interview and evaluation processes, it is an important and crucial part of the initial diagnostic workup of the client.