Applying and Mastering the DSM5: Improving Clinical Outcomes through Clear Assessment and Diagnosis

Presented by Richard W. Sears, Psy.D., Ph.D., MBA, ABPP

On Demand | Available Now


12 Hours  |   Pre-approved for CEU’s


This online course is on-demand.

Recorded footage and all course content (certificate, videos, quiz) will be available until April 3, 2023. Extensions cannot be granted under any circumstances. 

Registration will close on April 1, 2023. 

Proper diagnosis is essential to effective treatment. This 12-hour workshop will present a broad overview of all the major diagnostic categories as described in the DSM-5, with an emphasis on differential diagnosis, or how to distinguish between seemingly similar symptom clusters. This workshop will examine the strengths and limitations of the DSM-5 and diagnosis in general, and will discuss personal and cultural biases and how to prevent them. Evidence-based screening and assessment tools that are standardized and validated will also be covered. In addition, we will explore current process-based models that are moving beyond the DSM. Through lecture and case examples, participants will learn and practice using clear steps toward improving diagnostic accuracy.

Day 1

Background, development, and strengths & limitations of DSM

  • Objective standards vs subjective biases
  • Importance of cultural factors
  • Defining mental disorder and ruling out other factors
  • General principles of differential diagnosis

Evidence-Based Screening and Assessment Tools

  • Importance of standardization and validation
  • Intelligence & Aptitude Measures
  • Personality Measures
  • Symptom and Other Measures

Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders

Bipolar & Related Disorders

Depressive Disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders

Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders


Day 2 

Dissociative Disorders

Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders

Feeding and Eating Disorders

Gender Dysphoria

Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders

Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders

Neurocognitive Disorders

Personality Disorders: Why they are a completely different phenomenon than other disorders

Other Conditions That May Be a Focus of Clinical Attention (V/Z codes)

Beyond the DSM: A Processed-Based Approach to Diagnosis

At the conclusion of this program, attendees will be able to:

  1. Describe the background and development of the DSM.
  2. Understand the relevance of bias and diversity factors in diagnosis.
  3. List the four steps of differential diagnosis.
  4. Specify key symptoms and diagnostic criteria for frequently diagnosed mental disorders.
  5. Differentiate between overlapping symptoms and comorbid conditions to find the correct diagnosis.
  6. Articulate why personality disorders are fundamentally different from other DSM disorders.

Clinical Professionals: All mental health professionals including, but not limited to Clinical Counsellors, Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Social Workers, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Hospice and Palliative Care Workers, School Counsellors, Youth Workers, Mental Health Workers, Addiction Specialists, Marital & Family Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists, Vocational Rehabilitation Consultants and all professionals looking to enhance their therapeutic skills.

Richard W. Sears, Psy.D, Ph.D, MBA, ABPP, is a board-certified clinical psychologist in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. He is a professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Department of Psychology, where he teaches courses on psychopathology and clinical interventions. Dr. Sears has performed assessments and psychotherapy on a broad variety of individuals in a number of settings, including hospital inpatient units, community mental health centres, veteran’s hospitals, residential treatment centres, private practice, and forensic facilities. He regularly gives workshops on CBT, MBCT, ACT, and mindfulness across the United States and other countries. He is an author of over a dozen books, including The CBT & Mindfulness Toolbox and Mindfulness: Living through Challenges and Enriching Your Life in this Moment. His website is

RegistrationEarly bird FeeRegular Fee
Individual Enrollment$449.00N/A
Full-Time Student$359.00N/A

All fees are in Canadian dollars ($CAD).

For group and/or student rates please view our Terms & Conditions and contact for more information and registration. 

  • Canadian Psychological Association
    The Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW) and the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Social Workers (NLASW) accept CPA-approved continuing education credits