My Approach to Diagnosis

Have you or someone you love ever received a mental health diagnosis?

 

You should know, I’m not a fan of diagnoses or labels.

They are necessary in some circumstances. They can be helpful as shorthand both professionally and in society. However, they are either too loose or too rigid, often overlapping and fairly inaccurate. They don’t capture the complexity – the mix of challenges and strengths that you make up who you are.

 The DSM or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the tool mental health professionals use to diagnose mental disorders. The current version is the DSM 5.

Below are the conditions I work with most often and/or specialize in. It’s based on my views, not the DSM 5.

 

I hope it gives you insight into how I work as a clinician.

TRAUMA/PTSD/ABUSE

Any trauma can manifest in PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). This occurs when the traumatic event can be triggered ...

ANXIETY

General anxiety is when you struggle with anxiety most of the day, most days. It may be limited to thoughts or it may have physical symptoms as well.

 BIPOLAR I & II

Formerly known as manic depression. In everyday language it refers to extreme mood swings. The DSM has very exacting criteria for the diagnosis.

DEPRESSION

Clinical or situational. Depression is a general feeling of sadness and may refer to a chemical imbalance that may be alleviated by medication and may be inherited.

SUICIDE

Suicidality includes thinking about ending your life (suicidal ideation), or attempting to end your life. This is always very serious. It is not a manipulation.

 PARENTING CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

Support is needed to get through the daily stress of coping with therapies, doctor’s appointments, phone calls, agencies, paperwork and the school system.

STRESS/ADJUSTMENT DISORDERS

This type of disorder occurs often but gets minimized by labeling it stress or an inability to cope with a situation. We plague ourselves with “shoulds”.