A Beginner’s Guide to Learning or Teaching the DSM

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A Beginner’s Guide to Learning or Teaching the DSM

April 18 @ 1:00 pm 4:00 pm CDT

Mental health professionals have a profound responsibility to diagnose individuals in a way that is ethical and honors lived experiences. This presentation will benefit learners with a wide range of experience related to using the DSM. The goal is for beginners and those who are supervising, teaching, or mentoring individuals new to the mental health field to have a starting point for their discussions. In this presentation you will learn about the history and evolution of the DSM. There will be an overview of benefits and criticisms of the DSM, which will also lead to what professionals should know as they begin to use the DSM. During this presentation you will learn about the cross-cutting measures and other tools to benefit the interviewing and diagnostic process. The presentation will close with a discussion on how to diagnose and create clinical impressions that will justify the diagnoses given.


  • Discuss the history of the DSM
  • Describe benefits and criticisms of the DSM
  • Review Cross-Cutting Symptom Measures and Cultural Formulation Interview
  • Consider what beginners should be learning
  • Describe how to diagnose and create clinical impressions


Justin Bennett is a Missouri native and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who discovered his calling for public service over 15 years ago. While hospice ignited his passion for the field, he would go on to spend the majority of his career providing much needed state and federal funded mental health services. He is passionate about mental health care being free of barriers and stigma. While his practice has always involved direct care, he’s worked to change policies and procedures at departmental and state levels to improve access to care. He has taken an active role in advancing the social work profession through advocacy and in developing rules and regulations to improve practice. He also believes in educating and mentoring the next generation of social workers, and as such has taught at a local School of Social Work for over a decade. He has led a variety of professional speaking engagements to help other professionals grow their knowledge and to offer space for them to share their perspective. His commitment to the field of social work and those served has led him to his current role coordinating admissions for a federal agency’s substance abuse program, to serve as a member of a committee governing the practice of social work across the state, and to educate social work students on the ethics of diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. Most recently, he became the owner of Mindful Perspective LLC, where he will help people and organizations find balance through developing perspective in the many facets of their life and practice.



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