DSM-IV is here, and mental health professionals-whether they applaud its rigor or decry its rigidity-will have to know how to use it. Like its predecessor, DSM-III, DSM-IV is empirically based and atheoretical. The psychodynamics of mental disorders and their etiologies are not considered. Its principal advantage is that it provides a reliable system of diagnosis. Its principal flaw is that it can lead the clinician to focus too exclusively on categorizing symptom clusters rather then on empathically understanding the person who is suffering the symptoms. In Using DSM-IV: A Clinician's Guide to Psychiatric Diagnosis, LaBruzza and Mendez-Villarrubia offer the needed supplement to the DSM-IV. Their book, a veritable road map for DSM-IV, explains the technical language and hierarchical classifications of DSM-IV while it demonstrates how the system can be adapted to a clinical approach.
Anthony L. LaBruzza, M.D., a psychiatrist, is chief of medicine and medical director of the Community Services Division at the Greater Bridgeport Community Mental Health Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Jose M. Mendez-Villarrubia, M.A., is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology. He is currently on the clinical staff at the Greater Bridgeport Community Mental Health Center.