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Faculty Books

Welcome to a compendium of books authored or edited by Johns Hopkins psychiatry faculty members. Please select from the list of subject categories on the right to go directly to books grouped there or click here for the entire list of books.


Systematic Psychiatric Evaluation

Systematic Psychiatric Evaluation
A Step-by-Step Guide to Applying The Perspectives of Psychiatry

Excerpt from page 5

“The central tenet of the Perspectives is that one single method cannot explain all psychiatric conditions. The Perspectives advocates that a clinician consider every psychiatric patient from four points of view, each with a unique way of understanding the emergence of various psychiatric conditions. Only then, from this fuller understanding, can a clinician develop a truly complete and individualized formulation of the case and treatment plan for the patient. Considering each patient presentation in this way is necessary because psychiatric conditions differ in their fundamental natures. Whereas general medical conditions are always understood as diseases (i.e., clinical syndromes produced by pathological processes arising from physical etiologies), psychiatric conditions cannot be understood consistently in the same way. This is because psychiatric conditions can vary significantly in their probable origins. Some, such as dementia, arise like a general medical disorder, from a "broken part"; others, such as grief, demoralization, sociopathy, and voyeurism, seem to originate in other ways. Thus, the single method employed to figure out the origins of a general medical condition (disease reasoning) may be only partially useful, at best, to understanding patients with psychiatric presentations. To fully formulate the case of a patient who presents with psychiatric symptoms, we must expand our modes of explanation. Although researchers are still attempting to elucidate the causal origin of most psychiatric conditions, the Perspectives approach provides practical tools that clinicians need now to diagnose and treat patients. By using this approach with every patient, a clinician can both know the patient better as a person and make the formulation of the case and treatment of the patient more complete and effective. This approach can be adopted by clinicians working across a wide range of clinical settings.

The Perspectives of Psychiatry is a text whose objective is to introduce "perspectival" thinking as a logical way to understand the field of psychiatry. It has formed the basis for teaching psychiatry to a generation of medical students and psychiatrists. Both The Perspectives of Psychiatry and our book are less concerned with the differentiation and classification of psychiatric conditions (nosology) than with helping clinicians become aware of how they think about each patient presentation. Using these methods, readers will learn to become better diagnosticians, better prognosticators, better therapists, and better overall clinicians.”

Reproduced with permission of the author and the publisher.
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