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Accurate Diagnosis: Tools for Effective Clinical Mental Health and Substance Abuse Evaluation

  • 11/22/2019
  • 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Children's Services Council, 2300 High Ridge Road, Boynton Beach, FL 33426
Aaron Norton,

When you visit your primary care physician for an annual exam or to address a physical complaint, you aren't asked a question about every symptom of every known biomedical condition, or you'd be there for days or weeks!  Instead, your PCP generally asks you a small number of screening questions.  If you answer "yes" to one of these questions, the physician knows to move on to a 2nd or perhaps even 3rd level of questions that narrows the focus to a smaller cluster of potential problems or disorders, eventually (hopefully) arriving at a very precise and specific diagnosis.

The same process applies to clinical mental health counselors conducting mental health and substance abuse evaluations. And now, this process is easier than ever, because the American Psychiatric Association (APA), upon release of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published a system of free online assessment measures that can be used by mental health professionals to narrow focus to a specific and refined diagnosis.

In this 2-hour training, you will be introduced to these online assessment measures and shown how to use them.  You’ll also learn about the components of a quality mental health or substance abuse evaluation.  Whether you are a student learning how to conduct assessments, a therapist working in a community setting, an experienced private practitioner, a counselor educator or qualified supervisor looking for tools to help you students and interns, or a forensic evaluator hoping to supplement a more advanced testing battery with tools that help you refine your diagnosis during a clinical interview, this webinar ought to equip you with several helpful tools.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Attendees will list recommended components of a quality mental health/substance abuse evaluation.
  2. Attendees will describe how to use Level 1 and Level 2 cross cutting symptom measures and severity specifier questionnaires posted on the APA's DSM-5 website.
  3. Attendees will describe the cultural formulation interview, World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS 2.0), and personality assessment measures posted on the APA's DSM-5 website.
  4. Attendees will locate several other free screening tools on SAMHSA's website for a variety of clinical focus areas.
  5. Attendees will identify ethical considerations and limitations related to the use of the above measures.

Our Presenter:

Aaron Norton is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with certifications in addictions, alcohol and drug counseling, rehabilitation counseling, clinical mental health counseling, forensic mental health evaluation, and forensic behavioral analysis. He is recognized by the American Mental Health Counselors Association as a Diplomate and Clinical Mental Health Specialist in Substance Abuse and Co-Occurring Disorders.  He serves as Executive Director of the National Board of Forensic Evaluators, a national not-for-profit board officially endorsed by the American Mental Health Counselors Association that provides training, certification, and professional advocacy for licensed mental health professionals specializing in forensic mental health evaluation. He is an Adjunct Instructor at the University of South Florida's College of Behavioral and Community Sciences as well as a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at USF. He serves as Southern Regional Director for the American Mental Health Counselors Association and President-Elect and Chair of Education, Training Standards, and Continuing Education for the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association. He also works in a private practice specializing in both therapy and forensic and clinical evaluation, as well as providing clinical supervision to mental health counselor and marriage and family therapist interns as a Qualified Supervisor. He has more than 15 years of experience in the counseling profession. He was awarded Mental Health Counselor of the Year by the American Mental Health Counselors Association and Counselor Educator of the Year by the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association in 2016 and has been published in Addiction ProfessionalAmerican Journal of OrthopsychiatryJournal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services,  Journal of Individual Psychology, and The Advocate Magazine.

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