UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Medical Education | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


Medical students enjoy high level of patient contact on psychiatric clerkships. They have felt that forming a relationship with a patient can have therapeutic effects by imparting hope, decreasing their isolation and providing individualized attention. However students have encountered difficulties forming alliance with their patients, either due to acuity of illness such as psychosis or due to character pathology, addiction etc. They need to feel comfortable dealing with more difficult situations such as extremes of emotion or breaks with reality. Interviewing skills must be continually developed. We hope that Therapeutic Assignments (TA) will: provide a medium for students to improve their interviewing skills; enhance their comfort around communicating with patients about sensitive topics; form a therapeutic alliance with their patients, which will support the growth of empathy and be an important aspect in the patient’s treatment.


psychiatric clerkships, medical students, patient contact, therapeutic assignments, student-patient interaction, comfort level

Rights and Permissions

Copyright is held by the author(s), with all rights reserved.


Dvir Y, Zalpuri I. Therapeutic Assignments: Structured Framework for Interaction Between Medical Students and Patients on Psychiatry Clerkships. Learn Serve Lead 2015: The Association of American Medical Colleges Annual Meeting. Baltimore MD, November 2015.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

2015 Association of American Medical Colleges Annual Meeting


Presented at the The Association of American Medical Colleges Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD, November 2015.