When I started at MSPP I didn’t know much about the different axes that are used in the DSM. Having come from a more experimentally based background it felt like everyone knew so much more than I did. It definitely didn’t help when I sat down in my Weekend in Residence for the Adult Psychopathology course and I heard people saying things like:
“What about the GAF? Did you want me to include that also?”
“I typically put ‘Deferred’ on Axis II when I am only given one session with the client.”
“I think that Axis IV is helpful, but I usually get a lot of reports where that part is left blank!”
I felt so behind and utterly confused! Was I really supposed to know all of this already!?
While Dr. Clark and Dr. Orozco did a fantastic job teaching that weekend I still walked away feeling like there was a heavy weight on my shoulders. I certainly appreciated the amount of practice they gave -and continue to give- us, but I just felt this sudden sense of: This is real. I am going to be a psychologist someday. I will have to diagnose people. In a very unusual way it was daunting and exhilarating at the same time.
Basically, I hate being wrong. And then I think: what if I misdiagnose this (fictitious) person that is portrayed in our quizzes!? What if I misdiagnose a real person in real life!? It feels like such a stress-invoking responsibility.
I must say that after having completed all of the quizzes for the class I feel like I am significantly more confident than when I started. I am doing better bit by bit. I also feel more comfortable navigating through the DSM. However, I still have a long way to go. I guess that’s why I’m still in school, right?