Using the psychodynamic diagnostic manual in the training of the competent assessor

  • Brabender V
  • Whitehead M
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The Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM; PDM Task Force, 2006) was published in 2006 and very soon after that date, the assessment faculty at the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology considered its incorporation into the assessment curriculum. Personality assessment has been a major emphasis of the doctoral program since its inception in 1970. Although faculty had a high level of satisfaction with students' training in using individual techniques, they saw skills lying at the interface of assessment and psychodiagnosis (integration of test data, providing a diagnosis synopsis, formulation of treatment recommendations, and delivery of feedback) as less fully honed. Essentially, all of these activities were tied to the overarching task of case formulation. This finding is unsurprising in that the areas in need of support are at a higher level of complexity and sophistication than the areas the students had more thoroughly mastered. This article discusses how the PDM has been a valuable tool in improving the Widener assessment curriculum and how it could be a potent instrument in other doctoral programs as well. It also considers what kind of curricular adjustments enable the PDM to be used to best advantage.

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  • Virginia Brabender

  • Matthew L. Whitehead

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