Assessment and Diagnosis of Mental Illness
Clinical psychologists are often asked to help figure out what is wrong when someone develops
troubling psychological symptoms like depression, anxiety and eating or sleep problems. Sometimes an interview
is sufficent to gather the important details and decide what is going on psychologically. Often the
psychologist will make a tentative decision what is wrong and update the diagnosis over several contacts with a client.
Psychological Testing. There are times when psychological testing can improve a psychologists
understanding of the problem, and typically a battery of tests are given along with an interview. Not all
situations call for testing. However when a complex question, such as when a learning disability may be present, or
when the fitness of a parent is questioned in a child custody dispute tests are helpful. Tests used by a
psychologist are discussed in subsequent pages, as is the use of psychological testing to address court-related
DSM-5 In recent years, psychologists and psychiatrists in
the U.S. have come to rely upon the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - soon to
be published in its latest version (5). This "field guide" approach to diagnosis makes for better agreement among
frontline clinicians. Psychology Knowledge critiques the pros and cons of this approach, and lists the diagnoses
and their accompanying codes.
Diagnoses discussed in Depth
In addition to the DSM descriptive approach Psychology Knowledge plan to discuss several of the
prominent diagnoses as the website evolves, including Depression, Anxiety, Eating
Disorders, Trauma and PTSD, Personality Disorders and Adjustment Disorders.
Therapy for Managing Psychological Problems
If you are one
of the approximately one in five persons who have significant mental health issues, you may be
wondering which kind of therapy will fit you the best, how much will it
cost, how long will it take, and will it work.
Many kinds of therapy have been
developed and found to be helpful, but some forms of treatment have more research to support their
effectiveness, and some psychological problems respond better to specific
In our guide to
psychotherapy you will come to know the most common therapies used today, ranging from Freud's
classical psychoanalysis to more modern cognitive behavioral
You will also
find a discussion of what are the factors that make therapy effective, and pointers for things you
can do to make therapy work best for you.
psychological problems psychotherapy works as well as psychiatric medication, and with fewer
physical side effects.
Consumer reports found in a big survey that psychotherapy was seen as
very helpful, and the longer a person was in therapy the better thier
reported success. Therapists were described as supportive, insightful
and easy to confide in.