Online Course

New NASW-CA Online DSM-5 Course

Title:  An Introduction to the DSM-5

Instructor:  Patricia Lenahan, LCSW, LMFT, BCETS

Hours/CEUs:  5

Format:  Mixed-media 1—Read online content and access web-based video clips and material.

Process:  Register and pay for course. Read online content and access web-based video clips and material. Pass online posttest and print certificate of completion.


Course Description
This advanced level online course introduces the DSM-5, which was released in May 2013 at the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) annual meeting. This course was developed to provide experienced clinicians an introduction to, and brief overview of, the DSM-5. The content first presents an overview of the history of the DSM, including each edition prior to the DSM-5. The course clarifies the organization of the DSM-5 and highlights some of the major changes between the DSM-IV-TR to the DSM-5. Through reading online content, PDF documents, and web-based information and viewing short videos, readers will gain a better understanding of the fundamental design features and developmental processes of the DSM-5. Also discussed is the alignment of DSM-5 with the upcoming October 2014 release of the tenth edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). Additionally, the controversy surrounding the DSM-5 is briefly addressed. Throughout the content, the majority of information referenced is found on the American Psychological Association’s (APA) website, which includes publications, documents, articles, fact sheets, and short videos related to the DSM-5. Readers are encouraged to save these documents for reference.

Special Note:  Readers are strongly encouraged to have a copy of the DSM-5 to refer to as they move through the content and to save the PDF documents required or recommended in the content to a computer for future reference.

Target Audience
This advanced level continuing education course is designed for experienced California LCSWs, MFTs, LPCCs, and licensed social workers nationwide who are very familiar with the DSM-IV-TR and wish to gain an overview of fundamental design features and developmental processes of the DSM-5.

CE Approval
The NASW-California Chapter online program is an approved continuing education provider through the California Board of Behavior Sciences (BBS), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), and Nevada Board of Examiners for Social Workers.

Learning Objectives
After completing the course, readers will be able to the following:

  • Identify the conceptual and organizational changes that occurred in the transition from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5.
  • Identify the 22 diagnostic classifications found in the DSM-5.
  • Identify the several examples of new, modified, and eliminated disorders in the DSM-5, and the implications of these changes.
  • Identify potential implications related to the alignment of the DSM-5 with the ICD-9 and upcoming October 2014 release of the ICD-10.
  • Identify the challenges, controversies, and criticisms related to the DSM-5.
  • Identify a variety of valuable online resources related to the DSM-5.
  • Identify tools designed to assist clinicians in understanding and assessing clients.

Instructor Biography
Patricia Lenahan, LCSW, LMFT, BCETS, is an adjunct lecturer for the University of Southern California (USC) School of Social Work where she teaches foundation practice courses and electives in human sexuality and domestic violence. Ms. Lenahan was an associate professor for the University of California Irvine (UCI) School of Medicine, until she retired in 2007. At UCI, she was the director of behavioral medicine for the Department of Family Medicine and served as the content theme coordinator for medical school curriculum in the following topics: diversity; cultural competence; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues; sexuality; and family violence.

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Additional DSM-5 Online Course

Check out the other DSM-5 online course: “A Brief Overview of Changes from the DSM-IV to the DSM-5” by Dr. Stan Taubman, LCSW, PhD at:

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