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Posted: April 25th, 2023



The DSM-5-TR is a diagnostic tool. It has evolved over the decades, as have the classifications and criteria within its pages. It is used not just for diagnosis, however, but also for billing, access to services, and legal cases. Not all practitioners are in agreement with the content and structure of the DSM-5-TR, and dissociative disorders are one such area. These disorders can be difficult to distinguish and diagnose. There is also controversy in the field over the legitimacy of certain dissociative disorders, such as dissociative identity disorder, which was formerly called multiple personality disorder.
In this Assignment, you will examine the controversy surrounding dissociative disorders. You will also explore clinical, ethical, and legal considerations pertinent to working with patients with these disorders.

Be sure to review the Learning Resources before completing this activity.
Click the weekly resources link to access the resources.
• Review this week’s Learning Resources on dissociative disorders.
• Use the Walden Library to investigate the controversy regarding dissociative disorders. Locate at least three scholarly articles that you can use to support your Assignment.
• Explain the controversy that surrounds dissociative disorders.
• Explain your professional beliefs about dissociative disorders, supporting your rationale with at least three scholarly references from literature.
• Explain strategies for maintaining the therapeutic relationship with a client that may present with a dissociative disorder.
• Finally, explain ethical and legal considerations related to dissociative disorders that you need to bring to your practice and why they are important.

Dissociative disorders are mental health conditions that are characterized by a disruption in an individual’s normal integration of consciousness, identity, memory, and perception of the environment. These disorders can be challenging to diagnose and treat, and there is considerable controversy surrounding them in the field of mental health.

The controversy surrounding dissociative disorders revolves around the legitimacy of the diagnosis, particularly that of dissociative identity disorder (DID). Some practitioners argue that DID is not a valid diagnosis and that it is more of a cultural phenomenon that has been perpetuated by popular media. There are also concerns that the diagnosis of DID is being overused and that patients may be receiving unnecessary treatment or medications.

However, many mental health professionals support the diagnosis of dissociative disorders, including DID, and believe that they are valid conditions that require appropriate treatment. Research has demonstrated the prevalence and impact of these disorders, and there are established treatment approaches that can be effective for individuals who experience dissociative symptoms.

As a mental health professional, it is essential to remain open to the possibility of a dissociative disorder when working with a client who presents with symptoms such as memory loss, identity confusion, or depersonalization. It is also important to approach the therapeutic relationship with sensitivity and compassion, recognizing that clients with dissociative disorders may have experienced significant trauma in their lives.

Strategies for maintaining the therapeutic relationship with a client who may have a dissociative disorder include creating a safe and supportive environment, establishing clear and consistent boundaries, and using grounding techniques to help clients stay present and connected to the present moment. It is also important to work collaboratively with the client to develop treatment goals and approaches that are tailored to their unique needs and experiences.

Ethical and legal considerations related to dissociative disorders include issues related to informed consent, confidentiality, and the potential for legal disputes related to the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders. Mental health professionals must ensure that they obtain informed consent from clients and provide them with information about the potential risks and benefits of treatment. It is also essential to maintain appropriate boundaries and confidentiality, particularly when working with clients who may have multiple identities or who have experienced significant trauma.

In conclusion, dissociative disorders are a complex and controversial area in the field of mental health. As a mental health professional, it is essential to remain open-minded and compassionate when working with clients who may have these conditions. Strategies for maintaining the therapeutic relationship and ethical and legal considerations must be carefully considered to ensure that clients receive the most effective and appropriate treatment.

Foote, B., Smolin, Y., Neft, D. I., & Lipschitz, D. (2020). Dissociative disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. In R. J. Ursano, C. S. Fullerton, & L. Weisaeth (Eds.), Textbook of disaster psychiatry (2nd ed., pp. 461-474). Cambridge University Press.

Spiegel, D. (2021). Dissociative disorders. The New England Journal of Medicine, 384(6), 526-534.

Tsai, G. E., & North, C. S. (2021). Dissociative disorders. In B. J. Sadock, V. A. Sadock, & P. Ruiz (Eds.), Kaplan and Sadock’s comprehensive textbook of psychiatry (11th ed., Vol. 2, pp. 2255-2271). Wolters Kluwer.

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