The Dirty Dozen on Dr. Allen Frances’ General Tips for Psychiatric Diagnosis

This is a special Dirty Dozen using material by permission from Dr. Allen Frances’ book, “Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis”. Dr. Frances’ first chapter contains a section called “A Dozen General Tips” about the process of psychiatric diagnosis. It contains many lessons I’ve been teaching medical students and residents for many years.

The material in this presentation is taken from the book “Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis: Responding to the Challenge of DSM-5”, written by Dr. Allen Frances, MD and published by The Guilford Press,, and is reprinted with permission from The Guilford Press, who is the copyright holder, to use the selection “A Dozen General Tips” from Chapter 1, pages 14-15 and incorporated into a YouTube video.

Guilford permission request

There are a couple of links from the slides that are reproduced below:

In order to see the picture galleries of photos or PowerPoint slides, click on the one of the slides, which will open up the presentation to fill the screen. Use the arrow buttons to scroll left and right through the slides or up and down to view any annotations.



  1. Charkie says:

    Your Dirty Dozen Series has really interesting clinical insights! Thank you!
    I also enjoyed reading the interview you did for Faculty Focus.
    You mentioned that you “never considered pursuing a combined residency program”.
    I hope to pursue a career in psychiatry, and as an undergraduate, I shadowed in an Internal Medicine-Psychiatry department; although I see its great value in bridging the two for patient care, I’m not sure if that’s the point of the bridge where I’d like to work. Could you elaborate on why, given your interest in patients with physical and psychiatric illness, you did not choose a combined program?


    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I was going to say that I was just too old to start a 5 year combined program, but that won’t wash. The smartest and most talented Med-Psych resident I ever met started our program here later in life. I hope she doesn’t read that. Neither can I blame it on the extra work incurred by the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program for two specialties. I was unaware of that controversy when I began residency.

      I really enjoy the challenge and complexity of working at the interface of medicine and psychiatry. I guess I’m just lazy.

      I encourage you to follow your bliss.

      Best wishes and hang in there,

      Jim Amos, MD


  2. This should be part of the med school “bible” and taught in every psychology class. Great stuff.


    • Many thanks! I really appreciate the generosity of Dr. Allen Frances and The Guilford Press for allowing me to spread the word.

      Best wishes,

      Jim Amos, MD


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