This is a thorough and well-structured piece of work, which brings in the recent work of excellent authorities such as Barbara Ingram. It is well arranged, with many examples and case vignettes, which bring the material to life in an engaging way. I enjoyed reading it, and would recommend it unreservedly.’ John Rowan, humanistic therapist, private practice ‘This is a must-read book for students on courses in counselling, psychotherapy, clinical psychology and psychiatry.’ Heather Fowlie, Head of the Transactional Analysis Department, Metanoia Institute, London Conducting a competent assessment and case formulation can be a daunting task for trainee therapists engaging in clinical assessment for the first time. This book is designed to help, by unpicking the many aspects involved in assessment and case formulation across modalities, practice settings and client groups. The book: • Explores key elements of clinical assessment including diagnosis, risk assessment, ethical considerations and accounting for difference. • Highlights the necessary skills, techniques and legal requirements at each stage of the process. • Takes into account the impact of culture, context and theoretical and practical considerations. • Uses case studies and reflective questions to illustrate difficult concepts in context. Equipping you with the knowledge and tools to make successful assessments and case formulations, this is an essential read for trainees and for qualified practitioners wishing to brush up on their understanding. Dr Biljana van Rijn, Faculty Head of Applied Research and Clinical Practice, Metanoia Institute.

Chapter outline

This chapter presents challenges and considerations in the use of formal diagnostic systems, such as DSM-5, in assessment. It discusses the limitations and applications of formal diagnosis within assessment and gives an overview of medication used in mental health treatment.

The chapter offers a discussion on the role of assessment in identifying risks in mental health. It gives information about severe mental health problems, such as psychosis, and invites an exploration about its meaning in assessment practice. It reviews ethical considerations in using clinical diagnosis in relation to safety, therapist competence, appropriateness of therapy and relationship with mental health services.


Clinical diagnosis has been a method used primarily by psychiatrists and clinical psychologists within the health system. Its use has often lacked transparency and ...

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