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This course builds upon the foundation of HBSE I and II and introduces a biopsychosocial framework for typical, atypical, and pathological development throughout the lifespan. The concepts of mental health, mental illness, and diagnosis are explored using theory and historical and current contextual factors. This course also focuses on clinical assessment, case formulation, and diagnostic processes utilizing criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and other relevant tools.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify ethical standards, best practices, and decision-making models relevant to the provision of mental health assessment and diagnosis. (G1a)
  2. Demonstrate professional social work writing standards for case formulations, diagnostic assessments, and treatment plans using a collaborative, strengths-based, and developmentally informed perspective.  (G1e) (G6d)
  3. Culturally contextualize the constructs of mental health symptoms, and examine the role of historical trauma, inequity, and other factors in the privileging of certain social norms of behavior. (C2b)(G2c)
  4. Develop a critical understanding of the impact and power of the social worker’s role in mental health diagnosis, including client access to services, stigma, and other negative consequences of diagnosis. (G6a)
  5. Identify strategies for promoting client self-determination throughout the diagnostic and treatment planning process. (G6a)
  6. Demonstrate formulation of individual and systemic intervention goals which honor client self-determination, are culturally responsive, and integrate client strengths, preferences, and needs. (G7d)
  7. Demonstrate proficiency in the DSM-5 diagnostic categories, diagnoses, and criteria while also discussing relevant historical, cultural, social, and contextual factors in the a) establishment and utilization of the DSM-5 as a clinical instrument and b) medical model of mental health diagnosis. (C7a)
  8. Within the context of diagnosis and treatment planning, identify effective interventions for individuals, including advocacy for client needs within broader systemic contexts. (G8b)
  9. Apply a client-centered, culturally responsive framework to evaluate goals, objectives, and interventions in mental health treatment planning. (G9b)(G2c)(G9c)

Prerequisite: MSW 612 Human Behavior in the Social Environment II - Culture, Economics, & Social Justice or Advanced Setting

Learn more about the coursework in the Advanced Standing and Traditional tracks of the online Master of Social Work from Saint Mary's. Call 877-308-9954 to speak with an enrollment counselor or request more information.