As I state in another area of this site, I enjoy collegiality when working on behalf of an individual or couple to ensure faster recovery from pain and suffering. The term for this collaboration is “collateral.”  Collateral is accomplished by way of a client’s or clients’ signed authorization to work with general practitioners, psychiatrists, and/or medical specialists; physical therapists, mediation experts, and/or alternative healthcare providers.  In other words, the DSM-5 and psychotherapy is but one aspect by which to navigate the treatment of mental, emotional, as well as behavioral goals.

DSM-5 is technically atheoreticala

Although the DSM-5 is technically “atheoretical,” various theories do help clarify descriptions of symptomology utilized by people seeking care, support, professional insight. That said, relational issues may never meet the criteria for a disorder, so a simple “V-code” may properly describe the problems experienced by the patient – or as popular in the vernacular: experienced by the consumer of mental health services.


When I teach a class on Abnormal Psychology to undergraduates, the “Use of the Manual” is one of the key aspects of the course.  We repeatedly return to the beginning of the Desk Reference (page 3) or full-manual (page 19) in which “[t]he primary purpose of DSM-5 is to assist trained clinicians in the diagnosis of their patients’ mental disorders as part of a case formulation assessment that leads to a fully informed treatment plan for each individual” (APA, 2013).  The ability to assess and diagnosis is far less simple than one might presume, which the DSM-5 clearly indicates from the beginning. According to this same manual, a “mental disorder is a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning” (p 4, emphasis mine).


In other words, a lot to quickly and proficiently inquire about – let alone listen for – initially and subsequently on behalf of the individual, couple or family.