Centre for Continuing Education

DSM-5 Course: Common Mental Disorders

Psychiatry. Encouraging a healthier community.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses both online and in-person. Please check the delivery format for each class before you enrol.

Please note that course materials for all classes (excluding prescribed textbooks) are shared electronically within 48 hours of a course starting. Printing is not available.

Developed and delivered by the Discipline of Psychiatry at Sydney Medical School, the University of Sydney, and open to all health professionals for continuing professional development.

This DSM-5 training course in Sydney is designed for psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and other mental health professionals who are interested in psychopathology and diagnostic issues and wish to learn how the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) may affect their clinical practice.

DSM-5 was published in May 2013. It is an important document that has attracted both praise and criticism. Although DSM-5 is primarily intended for use in the United States, the experience with previous editions of the DSM suggests that it will have a large impact worldwide and influence the development of the next edition of the International Classification of Disease, ICD-11.


Mental health professionals need to familiarise themselves with DSM-5 because it is likely to affect their everyday clinical practice. It is also important for them to know what has been changed in DSM-5 and what has remained unchanged from DSM-IV and to understand the basis for the decisions made about the diagnostic criteria in DSM-5. This will allow participants to critically assess DSM-5 in the domains covered by the course, which include common mental disorders: depressive, anxiety, personality and related disorders.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the organisation and structure of DSM-5
  • explain the basis for the diagnostic criteria for common mental disorders in DSM-5
  • critically appraise the diagnostic criteria for common mental disorders in DSM-5
  • apply the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for common mental disorders to their clinical practice
  • explain treatment implications of the DSM-5 diagnostic conceptualisations of common mental disorders.


This course covers the following topics:

  • the changes in DSM-5, including criteria that have been added and removed
  • disorders that were deleted or substantially modified in DSM-5
  • diagnostic criteria that have been unchanged from DSM-IV
  • the reasons behind all the decisions made in DSM-5
  • key areas of improvement and controversy
  • implications of the DSM-5 for psychopathology, education policies, funding, protocols and treatment.

This course will not cover the whole spectrum of DSM-5 conditions. It will focus on the following disorders:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders
  • Trauma- and stressor-related disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Somatic symptom and related disorders
  • Personality disorders.

Delivery style

Delivered in a small group workshop format with a maximum of 20 participants. There will be a lot of opportunities for participants to discuss DSM-5 related issues, apply the new knowledge to vignettes, and rethink current patients' diagnoses. Participants will be given comprehensive course notes including reinforcing activity sheets to assist in consolidating learning.

Recommended reading

Title: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5)
Publisher: American Psychiatric Publishing
ISBNs: 9780890425541 (Hardcover), 9780890425558 (Paperback), 9780890425572 (eBook)
Publication Date: 15/05/2013


DSM and DSM-5 are registered trademarks of the American Psychiatric Association. This course is based on independent research at the Discipline of Psychiatry at Sydney Medical School, the University of Sydney. The American Psychiatric Association is not affiliated with nor endorses this course.


  • Expert trainer – leading researcher in psychopathology
  • Small class size (maximum 20 participants)
  • Course notes
  • Lunch included
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Central location

What others say.

  • A great experienced presenter.

  • The tutor was fantastic, extremely knowledgeable and engaging. The course material was detailed and informative. I would definitely recommend to others.

  • The tutor was very informative and had a breadth of knowledge across all areas of psychopathology. It was a very interesting course, which provided me with a wealth of information.

What others say.

  • Great learning environment. The course was engaging and interesting.
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