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 DSM-5

Pathological diagnosis can be used by medical and psychological professionals as a neutralizing technique by transforming social discontent into personal doubt and imaginary demons. For the vulnerable subject involved it can function as a kind of mental pill that if swallowed can leave them impotent and unable to defend themselves or see reality...
The sentencing of Bradley Manning in August 2013 ended for the moment a type of social theater where many interesting and at times disturbing realities were brought to center stage. In relation to the theme of psychological diagnosis, what was fascinating was how the legal debate surrounding Manning's reasoning for leaking the documents...
The theme of this blog concerns R. D. Laing’s conception of psychopathology. This is not an easy topic to explore, in part because Laing was somewhat ambivalent about the concept and avoided even using this term. In The Politics of Experience (1967) Laing famously questioned whether schizophrenia, the form of psychopathology he is most...
[Editor's Note: Listen to Louis Hoffman speak about the DSM-5 controversy on City Visions radio on KALW.] The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is receiving a dramatic increase of attention since the new version (i.e., the DSM-5) became available. This discussion is important given the DSM-5 is not just another book;...
In many ways, I applaud the maverick spirit of existential and humanistic psychology in leading the Coalition in the authoring of a powerful Open Letter to the DSM-5 Task Force and American Psychiatric Association that strategically delineated concerns about the development and subsequent publication of the DSM-5. I was doubly proud to see...
Photo Illustration by Eadweard Muybridge.
“Has your child been evaluated for ADHD?” Many variations of this seemingly innocent question often serve as the beginning of a dangerous progression. Quite often, teachers, childcare workers, and even physicians untrained in understanding and diagnosing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) ask this question to parents....
Photo by Alexander Buschorn.
As the National Institute of Mental Health jettisons the DSM-5, I find myself pondering the “science” of psychology and its relationship to existentially oriented clinical practice. One must concede psychology’s woefully dubious track record: from phrenology and Mesmerism to prejudiced intelligence testing and pathologization of...
Several writers have presented exciting new ideas for classifying and diagnosing human problems. Peter Kinderman, for instance, has proposed a “problem list and formulation” approach in which clinicians list however many presenting problems a client brings to session. Jeffrey Rubin has put forward ideas for a “Classification and...
The recent publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has brought several new disorders into the public consciousness while eliminating some old ones. As just two examples, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation disorder is in, but Asperger’s is out. The often-overlooked irony is that when it comes to diagnostic...
Schneider, Rubin, Lichtanski, and Hoffman.
A few Sundays ago, I attended a protest at the American Psychiatric Association Convention in San Francisco with my Saybrook colleagues, Kirk Schneider, Kristopher Lichtanski, and Shawn Rubin. We attended because of our concerns about Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) due to be published next month. Despite numerous...
Photo by Alex Proimos.
Part I. The Context: Overwhelmingly Negative Reactions to Publication of DSM-5 The American Psychiatric Association just held its annual convention in San Francisco, and this is not your ordinary gathering of psychiatrists. This convention inaugurates the launching of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,...
Richmond GMO Protest. Photo by Lorin Droppa.
In the last two years, I have noticed and become part of a trend that I hope will continue. The trend is that our community of existential-humanistic psychologists has begun to move toward social activism. We have seen the power of publically taking positions for and against psychologically relevant issues. The most well-known of these positions...