UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



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.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: 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.

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


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


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



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