International Summit to Develop New Approaches to Mental Health Diagnosis
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Society for Humanistic Psychology, a Division of the American Psychological Association
GLOBAL SUMMIT ON DIAGNOSTIC ALTERNATIVES ANNOUNCES INTERNATIONAL MEETING ON MENTAL HEALTH
Washington, D.C., July 23, 2014 – In the wake of major criticisms of the current approaches to mental health diagnosis, an international summit of experts is convening to explore more humane ways to address and diagnose mental health concerns in the United States and around the world. The Global Summit on Diagnostic Alternatives (GSDA) will take place on August 5 and 6 at the Helix Hotel, in Washington, D.C., two days prior to the 2014 American Psychological Association (APA) Convention, also in Washington.
The GSDA is sponsored by the Society for Humanistic Psychology, Division 32 of the APA (President, Dr. Brent Robbins), and was originally formed as an online, ongoing platform for mental health professionals to explore the subject of mental health diagnosis, and consider possible alternatives. Located at www.dxsummit.org, the website serves as an open venue for addressing complex questions about the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and psychiatric diagnosis in all of its forms: scientific, theoretical, clinical, practical, ethical, social, and political. The two-day meeting is intended to enhance and broaden the online discussions taking them to the next level, i.e., towards a new, more humane diagnostic system for researchers and practitioners in psychology, psychiatry, and related mental health disciplines.
“The past several years have seen a growing chorus of concern by mental health professionals and the public about the major approaches to diagnosis—the science involved, the exclusion of some important perspectives, and the usefulness for practitioners, among other issues, which have all come under serious critical scrutiny,” noted Dr. Frank Farley, co-chair of the GSDA Committee and a former President of APA.
“There are a lot of different constituencies interested in thinking about alternatives to the DSM,” Dr. Jonathan Raskin, co-chair of the GSDA Committee said. “Some want alternatives in addition to the DSM, while others want alternatives instead of it. Opinions come from a variety of orientations and perspectives. The goal is to pitch a big tent, one under which all constituencies can participate in the discussion and development of new diagnostic alternatives.”
The meeting will consist of 20 to 25 researchers and practitioners from around the world. All participants will have the chance to voice their opinions, comments, questions, concerns, and ideas for establishing a blueprint for alternatives to the DSM diagnostic system. More formal presentations will be given by several prominent scholars in the field.
The GSDA committee believes there is an urgent need for concrete action towards a new, alternative, diagnostic system, and this conference will hopefully initiate that action.