Diagnosing Relational Problems


In the recent developments in the field of psychology, relational disorders have been given much attention and priority. These are problems that emerge in the life of individuals due to strained relationships. Such strained relationships do not only break the bonds of the relationships, but also affect the involved parties both in their personal behaviors and external association with others, causing extreme levels of stress and bourn-out. As for psychologists, it becomes extremely important to have proper approaches in handling such problems especially relational problems. In particular, these days families have faced many challenges, and as a result the evolving norm is turning to be one of stressful experiences and painful relationships to the extreme cases. When handling family and couple problems one should be more cautious in developing strategies that will strive toward offering solutions and practicable approaches to help restore family relationships (Patricia, 2001).

Making effective choices about therapy goals and interventions

In the process of making appropriate therapy interventions and goals, a number of factors have to be considered in order to determine how the measures will be directed so as to achieve the desired outcomes. Therapy goals are both primary and secondary centered, since a primary problem might link or be associated with a secondary problem. In the context of families or couples, it is important to assess factors such as the differences between individuals, their orientations about family, perceptions about each other and more importantly their historical experiences. In my opinion, these factors assist in determining the appropriate interventions that can best suit a given couple (Jay & Kristina, 2006).

Specific instruments or diagnostic processes

In assessment of a couple or family, some of the most appropriate diagnostic processes include the study of the personalities and their differences. In this process, one seeks to understand the couple’s temperaments, character and ways of responding to stressors if subjected to. Alternatively one can study the historical relationship patterns among the family members and as well as their relationship trends which can be represented graphically. These instruments allow a deeper understanding of how the people in a relationship get along each other and how best they can be assisted to understand each other. It slightly differs from the individual analysis because individuals are more importantly observed to ascertain their characteristics independently or exclusively (Michael, 1995).

Incorporating the DSM-5 into the assessment phase with a couple or family

The DSM-5 provides a solid foundation from which family or couple assessments can be addressed from. Especially the V and Z codes specifically spell out the nature and kind of assessment expected in the context of families. For example, the aspects of analyzing strained relationships between family members such as parents versus children, or among the siblings, helps to identify the approach of integrating the DSM-5 in the assessment phase with a family. In this case, the techniques identified earlier can be closely scrutinized to establish relational problems that might be evident between different groups of people in a family. A couple can as well be screened in their historical relationship by using the V code to determine possible partner relationship problems and relate them to their possible sources (Florence, 2006).

In some situations, it can only be helpful if a different DSM-5 is formulated to help assess group members who may exhibit extreme conditions from those of others. This is of paramount importance because the nature in which people perceive things and respond is unique from one other people. Especially in regard to personalities and temperament, individuals are prone to behave differently. Despite this, some similarities can be expected in behavior and approach. But when the extreme cases are identified, designing a different DSM-5 to incorporate any observable traits can be of great help (Denton, 2007).

Limitations of DSM-5 when working with family or couple

Despite the relevance and reliability of DSM-5 from the previous researches as noted by Michael (1995), it is however based on some assumptions that render it questionable in terms of its validity. For instance, the obvious assumptions of behavior in a family or between couples do not hold in a uniform way. Because people have different personalities, sometimes the generalization concept may lead to the use of wrong assumptions in the assessment process, which means that at the end of the process the desired objectives are not met as the symptoms that will be treated actually are wrongly identified. On the other hand, the aspect of continued evolution continues to pose undeniable challenges on the effectiveness of the instrument. This demands that regular studies should be undertaken to continue improving the model so as to ensure it remains relevant in its use. Another significant weakness lies in the concept of having the DSM-5 detect relational problems at different stages and degrees. Researchers have shown that it becomes difficult for the model to determine those who are acutely affected from those who are not in serious risk (Michael, 1995).

Reflection about the role of diagnosis in counseling profession

In conclusion, diagnosis is essentially important in the current trends where relational problems are increasing at higher rate. Additionally, the use of diagnostic approach plays central role in the assessment process of family and couple. However, its applicability should not be entirely relied upon so as to ignore the reality behind individual uniqueness and contributions towards relational problems (Patricia, 2001).

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