Diagnosis Made Easier

Course Outline

With information in hand about a new patient, a mental health clinician now faces the question: How can I translate my knowledge and impressions into the most accurate diagnosis? Meeting a key need for students and novice practitioners, this volume offers an engaging, reliable, and authoritative guide to this critical task. James Morrison draws on his experience evaluating thousands of patients to provide an accessible roadmap and many practical tools for navigating the complexities of diagnostic decision making. As in his bestselling DSM-IV Made Easy, Morrison writes with wisdom and wit, offering incisive, refreshingly candid insights into the intricacies of clinical practice.

Taking the reader systematically through the entire process, the book spells out clear-cut principles for drawing on data from a variety of sources to construct a wide-ranging differential diagnosis. Tables provide guidance in determining when a patient’s symptoms may be linked to substance use or a medical disorder, and what comorbid conditions may be present. Decision trees then help the clinician select a valid working diagnosis that serves as a foundation for further evaluation and treatment. Chapters address specific diagnostic issues in the most frequently encountered mental health problem areas: mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychoses, cognitive disorders, and interpersonal issues. Over 100 clinical examples, complete with instructive commentary, bring Morrison’s approach to life; a separate chapter features additional detailed case histories that serve as practice exercises. Special topics include the importance of assessing risks for violence, suicide, and noncompliance as part of a comprehensive evaluation. Throughout, the utility of the volume is enhanced by quick-reference tables and sidebars.

From a master practitioner, this highly readable book is an essential resource for clinicians in any of the mental health disciplines, including clinical and counseling psychology, psychiatry, social work, and psychiatric nursing.

Learning Objectives

1. Explain the difference between “signs” and “symptoms” of an illness when considering a diagnosis.
2. Define and explain the term “differential diagnosis” when considering a diagnosis.
3. Apply to the diagnosis process the principle that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
4. Explain the ways in which a clinician can utilize background information about a client to improve the accuracy of the diagnostic process.
5. Define personality disorders and identify the most salient characteristic of each.

Course Contents

PART I – The Basics of Diagnosis

  1. The Road to Diagnosis
  2. Getting Started with the Roadmap.
  3. The Diagnostic Method
  4. Putting it Together
  5. Coping with Uncertainty
  6. Multiple Diagnoses
  7. Checking Up

PART II – The Building Blocks of Diagnosis

  1. Understanding the Whole Patient
  2. Eating disorder and other psychiatric diagnoses
  3. Diagnosis and the Mental Status Exam

PART III – Applying the Diagnostic Techniques

  1. Diagnosing Depression and Mania
  2. Diagnosing Anxiety and Fear
  3. Diagnosing Psychosis
  4. Diagnosing Problems of Memory and Thinking
  5. Diagnosing Substance Misuse and Other Addictions
  6. Diagnosing Personality and Relationship Problems
  7. Beyond Diagnosis – Compliance, Suicide, Violence
  8. Patients, Patients

Appendix: Diagnostic Principles

References and Suggested Reading

Customer Comments

“I just received my graded test results from the home study course, “Diagnosis Made Easier.” It was an excellent course, one of the best I’ve ever done.”

– K.Y., LCSW, IN

“This was a great resource. I found the case samples very helpful. The diagnostic charts were new ideas to help form a logical approach to a final consideration.”

– P.R., Counselor, CT