Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Institute for Advanced Psychological Training

Name of Innovative Program: 
Toward a Psycho-diagnostic Taxonomy Aimed at Helping to Understand and Treat the Whole Person
Sponsoring Organization
Institute for Advanced Psychological Training
Name of Innovative Program Lead: 
Robert M. Gordon, Ph.D. ABPP
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
Project Description: 
Psychotherapy practitioners need a diagnostic system to help guide interventions and treatment; traditional options have been competing diagnostic taxonomies that are mainly symptom focused based on medical assumptions of disease outside the context of the whole person. Our team developed the Psychodiagnostic Chart (PDC) to operationalize the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM) and integrate it with the DSM or ICD system. Our goal is to offer a person-based system by integrating the PDM, ICD, and DSM; this integrated nosology may be used for diagnoses, treatment formulations, progress reports, and outcome assessment, and empirical research on personality, psychopathology, and treatment.  Our overarching aim is to make psycho diagnoses more useful to the practitioner by combining the symptom-focused ICD or DSM with the full-range and depth of human mental functioning addressed by the PDM. Our online survey of practitioner experts found our PDC far more useful in helping their patients than the DSM or ICD.
Creativity and Innovation: 
What we are doing is going up against the DSM and ICD- world wide taxonomies to create a diagnostic system geared more at psychologically helping people. We had to re-think the meaning of diagnosing and how this could better inform about psychological treatment. This required creating and validing new tools that help better inform practitioners about helping people outside a simple disease model.
Last year, I heard constant complaints from practitioners about the new DSM5. Many were worried that the DSM5 was more oriented toward medication than psychological treatment. They also feared that the ICD 10 and impending11 are no better.I spoke to Robert F. Bornstein about what we could do about this. We came up with a simple chart to guide practitioners' diagnostic thinking about their clients. I then discovered that researchers at the University of Rome were working on the same problem and we teamed up with them.In graduate school, I became interested in research to help solve problems of human existance. This is what I love to do.
Our Psychodiagnostic Chart (PDC) is free and available on-line. It will always be free. aim is to create a large body of scientific research that encourages it's use in: diagnoses about the whole person, treatment formulations, progress reports, and outcome assessment, as well as for empirical research on personality, psychopathology, and treatment.
Our Psychodiagnostic Chart (PDC) is now being taught  at several universites. Teachers like the PDC because it intergrates the DSM, ICD and PDM systems, helps in treatment formulation and in assessing outcomes. Also since it is free and easy to use is also a practical factor.
We already have research (in press) that expert practitioners found the PDC much more helpful to understanding their patients and in treatment formulation than relying on the DSM or ICD. We are concluding reserach that the PDC has excellant stability and current validity. We are now testing the PDC in Italy and Mexico.