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Red Flag Evaluation: Interview Skills for Client Encounters



Spot the Red Flags Earlier during Assessments

I heard the news about my friends’ pastor who was shot seven times by a mentally tormented man.  Apparently, he had been seen for ‘counseling’ and had significant symptoms of psychosis prior to this incident.  We live in a society where we really need to be prepared to address such matters effectively.  So, I felt moved to compose this information for assessment efforts.  I would encourage anyone who has a vital role in social service or ministry to review this brief tutorial. By gaining the skills of “how” to evaluate ‘Red Flags’ in a presentation, the encounter can lead to better decisions for needed referrals.  In the very least, it may help clarify conditions for seeking a higher level of care. It may, in fact, assure a greater margin of safety and possibly save a life.

What I will cover in the linked slideshow is a technique I have often used in making assessments and interview evaluations of clients that presented for intervention in both inpatient and outpatient settings. This outline will be a very visual and useful tool to remember how to dissect a type of psychological interview. It is also very useful in writing up a brief psychological report based on your observation. Furthermore, this will help to clarify key areas of high risk and red flags for referrals of troubled clients to a higher level of care. 

Topics which will be addressed include affect (presenting emotion), mood (subjective emotion), the setting of presentation ( as aligned to affect and mood), cognitive content (thoughts), Cognitive stream (flow of thought), and evaluation of harm risks. Only mental health professionals can make a formal diagnosis and recommend treatment protocols. However, I offer this guide to help anyone in serving in a variety of social support settings. 

You can find the article below.

May God bless you who provide such valuable service to others.

Greg E. Williams, MD

Red Flag Assessment

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