WEEK+7+-+Mental+Health (1)

WEEK+7+-+Mental+Health (1) - Daniel E Navarro PhD ACSW LCSW...

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Daniel E. Navarro, PhD, ACSW, LCSW S141 –Introduction to Social Work Mental Health The following discussion complements the reading of Chapter 12: Serious Emotional Problems and Mental Illness and introduces relevant social work concepts that you need to know in order to look at mental illness from several vantage points. The Assessment Process Assessment in mental health ought to uphold the principles of culturally competent assessment, which include assessing the client within the client’s total biopsychosocial context, identifying stressors and strengths relevant to the problem and its resolution, and using assessment and testing instruments appropriately (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002). In addition, it is wise to allow enough time for the assessment process with clients in order to obtain a clear understanding of the client’s expectations. In today’s mental health arena, diagnosing is seemingly inevitable and – depending on the practitioner – offers both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages: diagnosing allows the practitioner to explain, educate and therefore empower the client on what her/his condition is, how to monitor and learn to cope with it. Disadvantages: diagnosing poses the risk of labeling the client, not being receptive to the client as a whole, and jeopardizing the rapport building and maintenance processes. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has monitored the categorization and definition of many types of emotional disorders by means of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) (American Psychiatric Association, 1952, 1968, 1980, 1987, 1994, 2000) . This classification system is currently in its fourth revision of diagnoses and is commonly referred to as the DSM-IV-TR . It relies on a multi-axial system that focuses on the psychological, biological, and social aspects of an individual. The appropriateness of relying on the DSM-IV-TR for the assessment of psychological distress remains a controversial issue, as it focuses too much on deficits and tends to ignore the social environment (Systems/Ecological Perspective) and clients’ assets (Strengths Perspective). Do we focus only on deficits or do we also consider the client’s strengths?
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