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Clinicians use the mental status examination (MSE) to assess a person’s cognition, behavior, and overall functioning at a single moment in time. Indeed, the MSE is a critical component of the diagnostic process and is typically embedded within a broader diagnostic clinical interview with a focus on observing symptoms associated with psychological disturbance. Although standardized instruments and short batteries of mental status (e.g., the Mini-MSE) are available for specific disorders, most clinicians prefer an informal approach with a conversational quality while observing aspects such as how the individual looks, behaves, thinks, and speaks. This flexible approach has the dual advantage of creating a higher comfort level for the client and using the experience and knowledge of the clinician to pick which areas to emphasize ...

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