Is DSM 5 a good fit for social work as a reference tool. Do you think that the DSM-5 is a good fit for social work as a reference tool? Why or why not? Please be specific.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, Fifth Edition (DSM 5) is known as the primary method of classification used by American mental health clinicians to diagnose patients with mental illnesses and conditions (http://www.dsm5.org). Diagnosis refers to a process of gathering information to understand a client’s condition, linking that information with knowledge about various cognitive, emotional, and behavioral conditions. The DSM is commonly referenced by social workers, particularly by clinical social workers practicing in the field of mental health.
At their best, DSM diagnoses help social workers and other mental health professionals understand clients, guiding their interventions from an evidence-based perspective. Diagnosis helps professionals with goal setting, treatment planning, and determining a client’s prognosis. Having a common nomenclature for diagnoses also facilitates research. Despite the widespread use of the DSM, social workers should be cognizant of the ethical issues that may arise in the context of using this diagnostic tool.
This article explores the DSM in relation to ethical concerns such as demonstrating respect for the dignity and worth of all people, empowering clients, practicing within one’s professional competence, and owing a primary duty of care to one’s clients. This article also provides suggestions for addressing these ethical concerns, allowing social workers to promote social work values and ethics even when using the DSM poses certain risks.