The Clinical Evaluation: Professional Competencies and Elements to Consider for Using DSM-5 for Substance Use and Co-Occurring Disorders (4 hours)

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Clinical evaluation is defined as a systematic approach in which clinicians or clinicians become to know a client. The purpose of a clinical evaluation is to determine the services and treatment necessary for an individual. This is accomplished by gathering information and data from the client and other sources using screening instruments and other methods that are sensitive to age, developmental level, culture, and gender. The evaluation process consists of two phases: screening and assessment.

Clinicians need to be knowledgeable of SUD and mental illnesses so he/she can ask pertinent questions to discover information or history needed to establish the basis for an intervention. In addition to knowledge, clinicians must process excellent communication skills both verbal and nonverbal. The qualifications must include specific communication skills and key traits that will be described herein.

In addition, the clinician must be familiar with the DSM-5 (the 5th edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) published by the American Psychiatric Association. Everyone who evaluates mental health clients (including SUD clients), must understand this manual because it is the world standard for evaluation and diagnosis. The clinician must be familiar with terms, descriptions, codes and definitions as presented in the DSM-5. Understanding the DSM-5 is crucial to ensure that the right screening and assessment tools are utilized and that the correct diagnosis is determined during the assessment. In addition, the clinicians conducting evaluations must have an understanding of alcohol/other drugs, mental illness, and how to assess co-occurring disorders.