Selecting a Diagnosis
The final project involves developing a comprehensive DSM-5 diagnosis and treatment plan for a hypothetical client. This assignment and the Unit 7 assignment
include activities that prepare you for completing the final project.
In this assignment, you will select the DSM-5 diagnosis that will be the focus of your final project. In Unit 7, you will present the case study you have
developed of the hypothetical client. Please review your course project information to familiarize yourself with the required components.
For this assignment, you will select the DSM-5 principal diagnosis that you will be presenting in the case study and final paper. Choose a mental disorder
from Section II of the DSM-5 (excluding substance-use disorders, other conditions that may be a focus of clinical attention (V and Z codes), and disorders
noted in the chapters “Other Mental Disorders” and “Medication-Induced Movement Disorders and Other Adverse Effects of Medication”).
In your paper:
Identify the diagnosis you have selected for your final project. Do not describe the client you will use in your case study here—that information will be
included in your Unit 7 assignment. This assignment is just about the diagnosis itself.
Review the theoretical models of psychopathology used to describe mental disorders. Choose three models from the approaches described in Chapter 2 of the
Abnormal Psychology text. Choose one model from each type of approach listed below. For example, you might choose the genetic factors biological approach,
the cognitive theory psychological approach, and the family systems interpersonal approach.
Biological approaches (brain abnormalities, biochemical abnormalities, genetic factors, et cetera).
Psychological approaches (psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, humanistic or existential theories—just select one of the psychological approaches presented
in this model).
Social or interpersonal approaches (family systems or interpersonal theory).
Describe how each model explains the etiology of this disorder. (What causes the symptoms?) How can you apply each model to your own understanding of this
diagnosis? For example, you can explain generalized anxiety disorder from a biological approach (temperament and neurotransmitters), a psychological approach
(using cognitive theory to describe core beliefs and expectations), and a systemic approach (how the anxiety is influenced by the context of family
Describe the impact and effects of psychopathology on family functioning. How would a diagnosis of one family member affect the functioning of the couple or
family as a whole?
Examine the impact of social, economic, historical, and political forces that have shaped the development of the diagnosis you have selected. When was it
first considered to be a mental disorder and placed in the DSM? How has the description of the diagnosis evolved over time? Have outside forces in society
had an impact on the way in which this diagnosis has been formulated and defined?
Identify the main symptoms a therapist might observe in a client with this mental disorder; this would include direct observation of the client in sessions,
client self-report, or reports from others in the client’s life (teacher, family member, physician, and so on). Do not discuss information about the specific
client you will be presenting in your case study; just identify the general symptoms that therapists might expect to see within this diagnosis.
Analyze the ethical and therapeutic impact of diagnostic labels on clients and larger systems, incorporating relevant theories or examples.
Your paper should be 5 pages long. Refer to the assigned course texts and articles, and use APA sixth edition style and formatting. Review the Selecting a
Diagnosis Scoring Guide to ensure you have met the grading criteria for this assignment.
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