Personality, mental functioning, and symptoms: assessing suicidal risk with the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual, 2nd ed. (PDM-2)

V. Lingiardi 1, G. Di Cicilia 1,T. Boldrini 1,2

1 Department of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Medicine and Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy; 2 Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialization, University of Padua, Italy

Comprehensive and careful diagnostic assessment is a crucial aspect of the clinical management of suicidal patients. The new edition of the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM-2; Lingiardi & McWilliams, 2017) adds a needed perspective on symptom patterns depicted in existing taxonomies, enabling clinicians to describe and categorize personality patterns, related social and emotional capacities, unique profiles of mental functioning, and subjective experiences of symptoms. This paper provides an overview of the PDM-2, focusing on its diagnostic approach to evaluating patients presenting suicidal intention and behaviors. First, the basic premises of the PDM-2, including its rationale and structure, are briefly discussed. Second, following the multiaxial organization of this diagnostic system, the features and main innovations that can guide clinicians in their assessment and clinical management of suicidal risk are examined.

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