Cultural Formulation Interview


cultural competence in healthcarePsychiatric and mental health in America has not succeeded at engaging people diagnosed with mental illness in their own care and empowering them and their families to become true partners with their providers. Misunderstandings and miscommunications can lead to dissatisfaction with treatment and sometimes even discontinuation. But when the whole of a person is taken into account, not only is the person likely to stay in treatment, they are likely to have a greater chance of recovery.

The APA is offering the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI), including the Informant Version, and the Supplementary Modules to the Core Cultural Formulation Interview for further research and clinical evaluation. They should be used in research and clinical settings as potentially useful tools to enhance clinical understanding and decision-making and not as the sole basis for making a clinical diagnosis. Additional information can be found in DSM-5 in the Section III chapter “Cultural Formulation.” The APA requests that clinicians and researchers provide further data on the usefulness of these cultural formulation interviews at

Online assessment measures, including the CFI, are available @

The Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) is a set of 16 questions that clinicians may use to obtain information during a mental health assessment about the impact of culture on key aspects of an individual’s clinical presentation and care.

The goal of the CFI is to lay the foundation for person-centered care and shared decision-making by encouraging clinicians to engage people seeking services and their families, from the very start, in a dialogue about how their cultural identities, values and prior experiences shape their care expectations and goals. But the CFI remains an underdeveloped tool. Clinicians and people living with mental illness need to know that it exists, and to use it to build a new type of partnership, without prejudice or stereotypes. All people diagnosed with mental illness have cultural identities, and our mental health system cannot expect any one of them to leave who they are at the door.