The Defining Line

Diagnostic Criteria of DSM-5 Mental Health Disorders | taught by Dr. Alyson Carr

Course description

The Defining Line course contains a series of short educational videos designed to simplify diagnoses in the DSM-5 that have overlapping diagnostic criteria. For example, are you familiar with the differences between Schizophreniform Disorder, Schizophrenia, and Schizoid Personality Disorder? Do you know what to ask to determine if a client is Bulimic or Anorexic? What is the difference between Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder? The objective of The Defining Line course is to equip you with the knowledge necessary to quickly and confidently answer these types of questions.

Dr. Alyson Carr
Dr. Alyson Carr
Counselor Educator

Dr. Carr has a PhD in Counselor Education with a concentration in Curriculum & Instruction and a specialization in Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Qualified Supervisor and she specializes in helping counselors prepare for the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). Dr. Carr's research focuses on evidence based study tools and techniques used to decrease test anxiety and increase scores on the NCMHCE. Her NCMHCE Prep courses, workshop, and individual consultation services are offered exclusively online.

Course Curriculum

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Reviews (58)

by Audrey ONeal


by Judy Sutton
Excellent course and review.

by Grace Addow-Langlais
Read more

by Audrey ONeal


by Judy Sutton
Excellent course and review.

by Grace Addow-Langlais

The Defining Line

by candice paolino
Very helpful, and so well done.

by Monica Masters

The Defining Line

by Rita Brockie
Thank you Dr. Carr for this excellent review of different diagnosis/disorders that share some criteria, and some that differentiates them. This is a valuable tool that I am confident will assist me in passing my state licensing text in July!

Good Title

by Jodie Lewis
this course was very useful! thank you!


by Kristine King
This course has helped me so much. I am going to read the DSM for differentials and rule outs and go through this course again before test day.

by Patricia Felton
Truly loved this tool. Prayerfully, it will help me with favorable scores on my exam. Thank you for taking the time, in creating this study material!!



Immensely Helpful

by Christen Dressel
This course has helped me so much when it comes to distinguishing between the major Diagnoses. Thank you! ...Update: I passed the NCMHCE today! I failed my first attempt at this exam and passed today. This course helped me a ton in knowing the best applications of the theories in regards to specific diagnoses. I know Dr. Alyson Carr's video courses played a large role in my success today. I highly recommend these videos in addition to the NBCC prep book with a couple simulations and of course... the DSM V.

The Defining Line

by Sapna Nair
This was the most helpful and beneficial study material I purchased. The DSM - 5 (understanding the difference in diagnosis) was explained very well and it was easy to retain the information. Looking at the DSM - 5 and trying to study that was very overwhelming. This tutoring is VERY HELPFUL to overcome that feeling of dread or overwhelm. The BEST $20 spent and an INVESTMENT on myself. Thank You Dr. Carr :)

by Tiffany Myrga

Easy Review of the DSM!

by Brandy Torretta
Defining lines really helped me differentiate between disorders, which is so useful given the overlap of symptoms!

Best $20 spent while prepping for the NCMHCE

by Rebecca Heald


by Hilary Gallegos
This is an excellent resource to learn the difference between the Dx. I would highly recommend this inexpensive tool to learn the DSM-V.

Worth the time, money

by Megan Relson
Very helpful resource that was instrumental to my success on the NCMHCE ;) :)

I Passed my exam!

by Adriana Angulo
The main topic in NCMHCE is DSM-5. Therefore, this course help me to understand the basic and complex differences between each disorder. Very nice online course. Adriana A.


by M Smith

OH MY GUY!!!!!!!

by Amanda Walker
So, I took the exam and failed by 4 points. I was left reeling, not sure what to do next. This on demand course helped me get back on track and be more intentional on my approach to study. Thank you so much Dr. Carr. This course helped a lot.

Best Study Product for the NCMHCE!

by Jennifer Rastetter
I purchased Dr.Carr's Defining Line, as well as, her Techniques class, and the Workshop. I assure anyone that needs help; these products made the difference between passing and failing the exam for me! Her suggestions and meditation changed how I took the test. I went from frightened and anxious to feeling confident in myself and my knowledge of the material. I would frankly pay more than what she charges-I tried four other study programs-but this was indeed the one that made a difference. I failed my first exam and found Dr. Carr before my second. To Dr. Carr-THANK YOU!!! I highly recommend these courses!


by Karla Cortes
It helped a lot with differentiating specific diagnoses in the DSM-5. The V Codes also helped.


Dr. Carr really made the disorders so simple to understand! Great investment, thank you!!

by Dee Ibarra
A+++ Very well put together.

Highly Recommend Defining Line

by Christopher Calderon, APCC
I just took the NCMHCE today and I passed! In addition to reviewing the DSM, this website was extremely helpful in helping me to be prepared in being able to more confidently be able to understand the differentials and lines that separate each! Thank you!

by Aliyatta Weston

Very Helpful

by Lashiver Pate
These videos breaks things down to the point where I now have a thorough understanding and feel more confident in understanding the material.

Great Review of Diagnosis'!

by Anthony Garcia
Easy to understand, practical examples and brief videos for some of the core diagnosis for the exam! Highly recommend! Thank you Dr. Carr! :)

by Shane Bakovich

Dr. Carr you are a blessing

by Kayisha Thompson
Dr. Carr, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to create this studying tool for us. I authentically feel more confident taking my exam this week. I can't say how valuable you are to us learners in the field. Thank you thank you

by Tracey Wilson
The Whole Course was Awesome. Easy to understand and I was able to tale down notes for further studying. Thank you DR. Carr.

by ShaeAnn Reese

by Erica Lubetkin

Great Review

by rebecca mcmullen
Reviews all the Mood D/O, personality D/O and Schizs were very helpful. Only areas missing that i found came up in practice exams were things like dementia vs Alzheimer's and substance related d.o

by LaTonya Gaston

Very Useful ! Things clicked.

by Amari Jackson
I was having such a hard time grasping the information. This helped significantly. I feel like I finally started to grasp some information.

by christina long


by Traci Thompson-Bryant
The materials in this section were very helpful to me.

Very Imformtaive

by Alicia Garrison
This was so helpful for me with the diagnosis that have similar criteria. Thank you for the videos and making them affordable!

Excellent study material

by kaleigh dupuis
Defining line really is helpful in identifying the differences in those overlapping symptoms. I feel more confident in diagnosing and taking test soon!

Awesome comprehensive review

by jamie mccole
I enjoyed the videos and had a great refresher!

by Karen Charles

The Defining Line

by Carole Martin
This is an absolutely flawless explanation and compilation of study material. Dr. Carr has the gift of being able to present this challenging subject matter in a way that really points to what is needed for this exam. She has the teaching gene.

Chapters on disorders that are similar to others

by Lisha Jacobsen
Some of them I really needed to hear like Somatic Symptom Disorder and Illness Anxiety Disorder and Intermittent Explosive Disorder and Disruptive Regulation Dysfunction Disorder. Thank you so much


by Priscilla McAllister
Everything I needed and more!! I cannot thank you enough!!


by Marcus Folkes
Great Course Helped me Differentiate Dx with similar criteria. I only wish Dissociation was apart because i struggle with that.

by michele haynam
Thank you for this! I feel if I had taken this course 2 years ago I would haven been better at my job!!

by ross robertson

Thank you

by annette vetter
Thank you so much. That was invaluable. I do wish disassociation chapter was in there, but each chapter was extremely helpful.

Such a help

by Angela Therrien
Love this series. I found it so helpful. I learned a lot.


by Krista Lacroix
Excellent, clear presentation of the basics of disorders and problems. This series helped me to zero in on the important, defining criteria of several diagnoses. The information in the video series helped me to learn the differences between similar diagnoses (IE: Bipolar I and Bipolar II), so I can ask better questions in session as well as (hopefully) ace my upcoming counselor license exam. For visual learners, this video series has excellent visual aides to help drive home the information. Audio learners are equally blessed by Dr. Carr's clear, concise explanations. Dr. Carr clearly cares about the field as well as her customers and peers. I had a little problem with one of the videos and reached out to Dr. Carr. She responded immediately and then went above and beyond to help me. (That's almost unheard of in today's business culture!) I highly recommend this video series as a valuable resource for new counselors as well as anyone studying for their counseling license exam!

Great information

by Natasha Tarrio
I really enjoyed the information given here by Dr. Carr! I really need this to pass my exam! Thank you Dr. Carr! Be blessed!

An Awesome Tool

by Rosalyn Dudley
"The Defining Line" course is an awesome tool to help distinguish between different diagnoses. I initially struggled with learning how to distinguish diagnoses that have similar characteristics; however, Dr. Carr has found a way to simplify learning the differences. I now feel that I am better prepared to take the NCMHCE. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone that is interested getting clarity in the DSM-5.

by sabrina bell

Very helpful

by Melena Saddler
I am in the process of preparing for my exam on June 12th of 2017 and needed a refresher as I've been out of school about 4 years. The DSM 5 came out right after I graduated therefore I wasn't familiar with the changes. This course allowed me to remember the differences between specific diagnoses while learning some new ones. I feel my confident deciding between plausible and differential diagnoses :)


by Jennie Friedman
This course is my favorite! Dr. Carr does an exceptional job of breaking down the diagnoses found in the DSM- 5 that are closely linked to another and explains the differences in such a way that it is easy to understand. I loved especially the quizzes at the end of certain sections so I could easily test my knowledge and go back to any section that I feel I need to brush up on. The section on the SCHID's is my favorite!

by claudette burnett

Great Course!!!

by Ronak Rawal
Very Very informative