The Mental Status Examination (MSE) is a guide used in assessing signs and symptoms of psychopathology, and is primarily designed as a tool for developing a differential diagnosis. Every item on the standard MSE is either a distinguishing symptom or an associated feature of one diagnosis or another. In addition, each diagnosis can be represented by a characteristic pattern of findings on the MSE. After becoming familiar with the core concepts and key features of the MSE, readers will practice applying the concepts by completing diagnostic worksheets related to five clinical vignettes. Given the time limit, not all pertinent themes are addressed, such as issues of culture and aging as they relate to the MSE. As with all assessment tools, becoming proficient requires practitioners to commit to extensive study and practice. To complete this course, participants read online content, review several very short web-based video clips, and practice applying the MSE to five case vignettes. Participants must pass the online posttest with a score of 80% or better to print a certificate of completion.
This course is designed for social workers and other behavioral health practitioners who want to learn how to utilize the MSE to develop accurate diagnoses, as required for coherent treatment planning.
After completing this course, participants will be able to do the following:
- Identify, clarify, and differentiate the core concepts of the MSE.
- Identify differences between observed facts and inferences while conducting diagnostic interviews.
- Identify the range of relevant options while conducting a differential diagnosis.
- Identify strategies for validating diagnostic impressions by using MSE findings as evidence of symptoms.
- Complete five unique sample case vignettes to practice utilizing the MSE.