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DSM and V-Codes

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is a diagnostic system and handbook published by the American Psychiatric Association, which is used by mental health professionals for understanding and categorizing the different classifications of mental health disorders. V-codes are not mental disorders, but are descriptors for reasons clients may seek therapeutic treatment; they are also known as “Other Conditions that may be a Focus of Clinical Attention.” They may be topics like academic, occupational, or relational issues. All licensed clinicians should know how to utilize the DSM, but some mental health fields are wary of the stigmatizing effect that diagnosing someone with a mental disorder may have. The V-codes have been particularly important to relational counselors and therapists because they lend themselves ...

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