GainIs this confusing? The words "primary" and "secondary" come up again and again in psychspeak. They mean different things each time. Let's sort it out:

Primary & Secondary Dysfunction With regard to sexual dysfunction, the DSM refers to primary dysfunctions as those that have existed from the beginning of sexual functioning (things never worked). Secondary dysfunctions are those that develop after a period of normal functioning (things used to work, not anymore). 
Primary & Secondary Gain Shows up in the DSM in discussion of Conversion Disorder. Primary gain occurs when symptoms keep an internal conflict or need out of conscious awareness. Secondary gain occurs when symptoms help in avoiding unwanted activity or obtain hard-to-get support from others.
Primary & Secondary Process In psychoanalytic theory...forget it, I'll quote
In Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, the primary process works to resolve tension created by the pleasure principle. Rather than act on dangerous or unacceptable urges, the id forms a mental image of a desired object to substitute for an urge in order to diffuse tension and anxiety. The secondary process discharges the tension between the ego and the id that is caused by unmet urges or needs. The secondary process functions through the ego's action of looking for an object in the real world that matches the mental image created by the id's primary process.

Is this confusing? Yes! But hopefully less so now.  

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Another 10 Practice Questions

One Click

Another ten practice questions here. Scroll slowly--the answers sit right below the questions.


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Free Social Work Exam Prep Audio

CommuteHaving tried the AATBS and Gerry Grossman CDs, turning now to free test prep audio. (It's a really long commute.) There are a few options available through iTunes. For starters, try the Social Work Podcast (mentioned several times already on these pages). Good for clear, listenable explanations of theory. Then, for diagnostic refresher, try Dana Leighton's Abnormal Psych lectures. Prof. Leighton knows his stuff, and is in no hurry to get through the material. The result is semi-soothing walk through collections of disorders (mood, psychotic, etc.). And since the students and video clips aren't miked, there are longish info-free moments (aka silence). For this prepper, a each lull a warmly welcomed rest from the daily cram. I'll add others as I find them (and as you suggest them). Enjoy.

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Free Social Work Test Prep?

CoinCan you pass the licensure exam without laying out a lot of money? Maybe, sort of. You can save a bunch, turns out, leaning on the web for a lot of materials SWTP's Suggested Study Links make that easy.

The books you probably already have from school cover most of what AATBS or BTA or Gerry Grossman cram into their materials (think Corey, think Hepworth, Rooney, et al). The NASW Code of Ethics is sitting all over the web. Relaxation techniques, another part of the pay-program package, are another web-based, no-charge item.

The problem, if any, is with amounts. You'll probably need more practice questions and less other material.  You can probably track down the course books for free (a post-test friend?) or cheap (craigslist, ebay)--though they may be all marked up. So, if you've got it, this is where your money goes: online practice questions.

Done it differently? Let us know. Continued good luck to us all.  

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Mnemonics for DSM

MnemonicsMemorizing the DSM in full is strictly unnecessary. Exam questions tend to be more about a small set of differentials (Schizophrenia ve. Schizoaffective D/O, PTSD v. Acute Stress). But, then again, why not get some details down?  It's only time and more time and a little more time and some brain space. It'll all come in handy later in life for dx'ing clients, (and friends and family). Others have worked out mnemonics for DSM criteria so you don't have to.  Here are some tha may come in handy for your exam prepping:
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