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Advanced Psychopathology and Diagnosis

  • What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses in having standardized diagnostic criteria? Describe at least one strength and one weakness.

One strength in having the standardized diagnostic criteria is the fact it enables one in the medical field be able to understand a disorder, its failures and success through examination. Making an accurate definition and description of a disorder implies that the patient has a distinct illness, and this information is of relevance to the mental health professional who later on communicate with their patients (Lerner 2007, pp2-4). In terms of weaknesses a standardized diagnostic criteria is based on operational explanations rather than etiological understanding thus not properly incorporated into the evidence based patterns (Lerner 2007, p. 49), this means that diagnoses an change over time and since operational definitions are missing, then diagnostic criteria may not be stated formally (Lerner 2007, p. 1). Based on the weakness, I think the greatest problem in mental health is unjustified scientific validity, which is so widespread. This can create stigma more so to the patient diagnosed with mental illness.

Advanced Psychopathology and Diagnosis

  • Describe at least 3 things you learned in this class that you think will be helpful to you as a therapist. Describe why or how you think they will be helpful.

One of the things I have learned in class is working with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The information provided in the manual can be extremely helpful and also DSM principles are sound; clinical work is not a laboratory and scientific investigations is unsurpassed as one way to eventually understand clinical occurrences. I also learnt that the discussion topics given in class were also helpful. Learning the numerous opinions relating to the mental field gave me a broader understanding of what to expect during field study and how to relate with other individuals during field work. The other important thing I learnt is that a good therapist ought to go beyond what is expected in terms of being a good listener. One ought to be attentive during face to face interviews and convey genuineness, respectful interest and some warmth towards the concerns raised.

  • In what ways do you think making a diagnosis can be helpful and in what ways may it be harmful? Give at least one way it which it may be helpful and one way in which it may be harmful.

Diagnosis is of great help because if one meets the correct diagnostic criteria then treatment provided would be medically necessary and thus help reduce the chances of erratic diseases like dementia, dissociation occurring again. Also proper diagnosis creates a sense of understanding and help by a professional. It also reduces anxiety and brings about connection towards people. Diagnosis may be harmful in the sense that it is not valid and reliable. Different clinical interviews with different professionals would not yield the same results. As such psychiatric disorders bring about stigmas that create suffering and pain beyond what is ordinary and understandable.

  • Lerner, A., J. (2007). Diagnostic Criteria in Neurology. New York: Springer.

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