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From The CriticsReviewer: Michael Purcell, MA (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: Part of the 2003 Review of Psychiatry series, this edited book examines pertinent issues related to the use of standardized assessment tools, ordinarily relegated to research endeavors, in clinical settings. Three chapters focus on using structured diagnostic interviews in clinical practice, while the other two chapters focus on specific types of measures suicide risk and the GAF.
Purpose: The purpose is to explore ways to increase precision and standardization of diagnosis in the clinical setting using assessment tools from the realm of research.
Audience: Practitioners are the primary target, but the book would be useful for students, residents, and any mental health professional involved with clinical assessment of mental illness.
Features: The book contains discussions of structured interviews with adults and children, assessing suicide risk, and the use of the GAF. Tables and flow charts appear quite useful for educational purposes. A suicidal risk worksheet in the appendix of chapter 4 is particularly helpful and practical. All of the chapters do a good job of emphasizing the critical importance of diagnosis. The authors could have addressed perceived limitations of structured methods of diagnosis more fully. Also, more discussion on the use of paper-pencil assessments would have been useful.
Assessment: The accuracy of diagnosis is of prime importance in today's clinical practice as treatments grow increasingly sophisticated, targeting specific forms of mental illness. An accurate diagnosis not only guides treatment but also may aid the practitioner in anticipating the course of illness, the patient's response to treatment, and potential risk factors. This volume, particularly the first chapter written by Monica Ramirez Bosco, PhD, does an excellent job of outlining the current problems with misdiagnosis in clinical settings. Subsequent chapters address ways to remedy the problem using specific assessment tools. Overall, this is an excellent resource for clinicians.