The Evolution of Psychopathology in Social Work

The term “psychopathology” dates back to the ancient civilization of Hippocrates and Aristotle. Yet, it did not gain wide acceptance in practice until advocates like Freud, Kraepelin, and Meyer applied it to practice with clients. The acceptance of psychopathology in practice has been slow and tumultuous. The National Association of Social Workers stated that a vast majority of providers of mental health services in the United States are social workers. For mental health practice, the most widely used assessment system has been and is the American Psychiatric Association’ s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health, DSM. About 20 percent of Americans have experienced psychiatric disorders, and this figure is expected to be increasing. Despite one’s career path within the field of social work, practitioners are more than likely going to encounter clients with a mental illness. Thus, those who work with the mentally will need to learn how to decipher the DSM format.


Victor G Aeby

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