Get the Diagnosis Right explains how to make an accurate diagnosis when people have emotional problems. The DSM manuals contain collections of symptoms and complaints that can be organized to form a preliminary diagnosis. The observer, however, can do more than collect and arrange complaints. Assessment should also be done regarding deficits in important mental functions (including organizing thought and checking reality), in basic capacities for containing emotions and impulses, in abilities to sustain close relationships, and in the intactness of the conscience. If deficits are not found, then internal conflicts among wishes, guilt, emotions, and defense mechanisms become more important.
Get the Diagnosis Right is divided into two sections: "Part I: The Quick and Dirty" and "Part II: The Rest of the Story." Part I, about 50 pages, sets out the major concepts necessary to determine what type of treatment a person with emotional problems should obtain. Part II, about 200 pages, enlarges on Part I, giving more detail and discussing the complications. Both Sections include a template for completing an evaluation, along with charts, tables, clinical examples, and references for further study.
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