General Course Information for PSY623: Diagnosis and Assessment

Course: PSY623 - Diagnosis and Assessment
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to:

Course Description:

Explores the realm of mental illness from the perspectives of etiology, diagnosis, and assessment. Covers relevant contextual issues often considered to be related to etiology and treatment. These include neurobiology, culture, family and development. Also covers post-modern considerations regarding pathology and treatment.

Course Learning Outcomes:
  • Distinguish presenting problems by assessing major issues involved to determine a client's purpose for seeking therapy.
  • Assess social adjustment by evaluating intrapersonal and interpersonal dynamics to identify patterns of behavior.
  • Formulate a diagnostic impression based on assessment information to use as a basis for treatment planning.
  • Conduct a mental status examination, and assess a client's functioning level to determine the need for adjunctive evaluation
  • Develop a treatment plan for a specific clinical case which is based on clinical information, case conceptualization including clientsandapos; strengths, and empirical research on therapy related to the diagnosis or presenting problems.
  • Conduct a partial clinical interview or session demonstrating communication skills.
  • Articulate the rationale, benefits and problems associated with DSM- IV-TR multiaxial assessment and differential diagnosis.
  • Articulate the differences between pathology based assessment and strength or wellness based assessment.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of DSM-IV-TR criteria for major presenting disorders of adults, including integration of DSM-IV-TR criteria with assessment interviews.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of procedures to integrate assessment information with diagnostic categories
  • Demonstrate knowledge of methods to formulate short and long-term treatment goals for treatment planning purposes

Students with Disabilities:
Students seeking special accommodations due to a disability must submit an application with supporting documentation, as explained under this subject heading in the General Catalog. Instructors are required to provide such accommodations if they receive written notification from the University.

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Students are expected to demonstrate writing skills in describing, analyzing and evaluating ideas and experiences. Written reports and research papers must follow specific standards regarding citations of an author's work within the text and references at the end of the paper. Students are encouraged to use the services of the University's Writing Center when preparing materials.

The following website provides information on APA, MLA, and other writing and citation styles that may be required for term papers and the like:

National University Library:
National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students. Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego Library and virtually for online or regional students. Please take advantage of Library resources:


Contact the Library:

  • (858) 541-7900 (direct line)
  • 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free)

Use the Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help

  • Recorded class presentations
  • Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more)

Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's ideas or work as one's own. Students must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. Students found plagiarizing are subject to the penalties outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of the University Catalog, which may include a failing grade for the work in question or for the entire course. The following is one of many websites that provide helpful information concerning plagiarism for both students and faculty:

Ethical behavior in the classroom is required of every student. The course will identify ethical policies and practices relevant to course topics.

Students are expected to be competent in using current technology appropriate for this discipline. Such technology may include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Use of the internet and e-mail may also be required.

Learning to work with and value diversity is essential in every class. Students are expected to exhibit an appreciation for multinational and gender diversity in the classroom.

As a diverse community of learners, students must strive to work together in a setting of civility, tolerance, and respect for each other and for the instructor. Rules of classroom behavior (which apply to online as well as onsite courses) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conflicting opinions among members of a class are to be respected and responded to in a professional manner.
  • Side conversations or other distracting behaviors are not to be engaged in during lectures, class discussions or presentations
  • There are to be no offensive comments, language, or gestures