It matters that people have a way to use the latest findings in psychology beyond buying a pill for depression. It matters that people have a way of looking at their lives that lets them ask the big questions and determine how they want to live – and that this is supported by therapists and mental health professionals.

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Posts tagged with the category Diagnostic fiascos

Editor's Note: Jerome Wakefield gave a presentation on his harmful dysfunction approach to defining mental disorders at SUNY New Paltz in March 2011. Jonathan Raskin served as discussant, and his response, reproduced here, remains highly relevant in light of ongoing debates about how the upcoming DSM-5 should define mental disorder. Video of...
She sits quietly at the table with her head bowed just enough so that the shadow of her hair crosses her face, blocking a clear view of her melancholy affect. Her fork dances among the food on her plate, moving food from one spot to another but never lifting food to her mouth. Her eyes are hollow and empty, looking but not seeing. Her face and...
1921 map indicating states with sterilization laws.
In my casual observations in conversation with colleagues, I find that very few mental health professionals are aware of the historical link between psychiatry and eugenics. I was not aware of this history until relatively recently, when I read Robert Whitaker’s groundbreaking and brilliant text, Mad in America. When I read that section of the...
What is a mental disorder? This is a question the American Psychiatric Association (2012) has been contemplating as it prepares the DSM-5, the soon-to-be-published revision of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The DSM-5 development website proposes the following new definition of mental disorder (APA, 2012): A behavioral...
Writing in the Washington Post, Paula Caplan recalls the story of a mother who had been labled bi-polar and put on psychiatric medication – when in fact her problems were more mundane. She was a new mother; she was sleep deprived; she was working full-time and caring for her dying grandmother. Since the 1980s, Caplan said she has met...
The New Existentialists, a Saybrook University-based website dedicated to promoting the work of the 21st century’s Existential Psychology movement, has added a new section following the controversy surrounding the DSM-5 … the so-called “Bible” of psychiatry. “While the DSM has had a long history of controversy since...
The DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for GID is: A strong and persistent cross-bender identification (not merely a desire for any perceived cultural advantages of being the other sex). Persistent discomfort with his or her sex or sense of inappropriateness in the gender role of that that sex. The disturbance is not concurrent with the physical intersex...
Proposed diagnostic criteria for a new mental disorder for potential inclusion in the next version of the DSM: 309.XX Pathologizing Personality Disorder A.  Marked tendency to see other people's behavior as disordered and/or disturbing. B.  Presence of at least four of the following: (1) history of studying psychiatry and/or...
I think I “have” Asperger’s disorder. The “have” is in quotes because I’m not certain what it means to “have” it. If you have pneumonia, you just have it. There are bacteria in your lungs which are detectable and eradicable. You can go from having it to not having it to having it again, and each...
In September of 2011 Time Magazine interviewed outspoken cognitive therapist Allan Kazdin, a former President of the American Psychological Association.  In the interview, Kazdin calls for the end of individualized treatments in psychotherapy -- even if people want them -- in favor of standarized treatments.  New Existentialist Eugene...
Grief can hollow out a soul and pull someone down the depths of despair that can be all consuming. It is not something to ignore or to treat lightly, but grief is an inevitable in life as there are as many endings as there are beginnings. Can grief be so painful that it would warrant a psychiatric diagnosis of major depressive disorder? This is...
Some 11,000 mental health professionals have signed their names to a petition protesting the vast expansion of “mental illnesses” coming with the DSM-5, the “Bible of psychiatrists” which frequently determines what insurance companies will and won’t pay for.  Accusations of bias, drug company money, and an...