DSM-5 Is Widely Criticized, and Pursuit Of Alternatives in Mental Health Care Is Underway

For Immediate Release:

The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) of the American Psychiatric Association is being released on May 22, 2013. It is the fifth revision of this widely influential manual for diagnosing mental distress and illness, and has been the subject of national and international criticism for the quality of its science, its criteria for defining disorders and categories, its rationale for inclusion or exclusion of particular symptoms or features, and the considerable inflation in its number of diagnosable disorders since the original DSM was published in the 1950s. Over the past several decades, there has been sharp criticism of the various DSM revisions, but in the case of DSM-5, a critical mass of scholarly opposition has reached a tipping point, including an unprecedented rebuke by the U.S. government’s National Institute of Mental Health, which has stated it will be reorienting away from research that involves the DSM-5. For many mental health professionals it seems clear that fresh thinking–about ways to possibly improve the DSM, prospects for developing possible alternatives to it, and what those prospects might look like–are called for. Regardless of where one stands on these issues, it is clear that new approaches to diagnosis are sorely needed, as both a national and global health concern.

To that end, a new website (dxsummit.org) has been launched to help create an on-line, on-going global forum for scholarly and professional dialogue of humane approaches to mental health diagnosis. Sponsored by the Diagnostic Summit Committee (DSC), a national committee of concerned psychologists, this collaborative effort provides an opportunity for the widest possible input and deliberation of mental health diagnosis from the ground-up. Offering blogs, discussion posts, and psychiatric and psychological articles by stakeholders and leaders in the field, dxsummit.org will open up the discussion of diagnosis to its full range of possibilities, from brain science to cultural variations to the examination of normal human responses to difficult life challenges. The website, underwritten by the efforts of the Society for Humanistic Psychology (SHP) will be a platform for international debate and consensus of comprehensive and valid approaches to mental health diagnosis.

Media inquiries should be directed to Dr. Frank Farley, co-chair of the DSC, and former President of the American Psychological Association and the SHP, at frank.farley@comcast.net or (215) 668-7581; or Dr. Donna Rockwell, member of the DSC, at drdonnarockwell@yahoo.com.

cropped-DxSummit.jpg