Contrarian Concepts

Where are the Social Workers?

One Social Worker’s Road to Active Opposition to the New DSM In November, 2011, the Society for Humanistic Psychology of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Counseling Association (ACA) sent their infamous Open Letter to the DSM-5 Task Force (Locke, 2011). When I read it shortly after it was posted on the...
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Critiques of Diagnosis

Are “More” Categories Appropriate for Diagnostics?: Some Preliminary Concerns

Is “more” better? This question first sparked my interest as I watch a television commercial promoting a mobile phone service. The advertisement asked children “what is better having more or less”. In a series of non-sensible rambling, the child argued because people want more, more is better. Given this series of statements that both...
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Critiques of Diagnosis

The United States of the Biomedical Model: Five Anecdotes

It is difficult to overstate the ubiquity and influence of the biomedical model that provides the foundation for psychiatric diagnosis and treatment in the United States. As a clinical psychologist who has spent the past 15 years working in medical centers, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, outpatient mental health clinics, a residential substance abuse treatment center,...
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Contrarian Concepts

Innocent Dangers: Simply Asking the Questions

“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.  However, frequently this question serves as more than...
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Contrarian Concepts

DSM-5: Reactions and Implications

After a long period of anticipation, input, and debate, the ‘Bible’ of mental health/disability diagnostic labels has been updated for the first time since 1994. DSM-5 is being widely discussed in terms of its utility, assumptions, and implications for both mental health professionals and the public (‘consumers’). There has long been debate about various...
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Contrarian Concepts

Categories for Human Anguish? DSM-5: The New Inventory of “Mental Illnesses”

People who look for a consultation with a member of Princeton Family Institute engage in a relational process that is at the same time simple and profound. Parents who worry about a child, the partner in a couple who is confused and disappointed about the couple’s life together or an individual in distress or...
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Contrarian Concepts

Globalization, Emotions, and the Problematic DSM

Although the DSM started as a manual for practitioners, the lists of symptoms associated with its diagnoses are commonly known to the general public. Through exposure to direct-to-consumer advertising, health-focused websites, and the news, just about everyone can now diagnose themselves, their friends, and their family members — if not the coworker or ex-lover...
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Critiques of Diagnosis

Humanizing Mental Health: Existentialism and the DSM-5

What is the link between existentialism and a manual that gives most people on the planet their mental health diagnoses? From Major Depressive Disorder, to ADHD, to Asperger’s Syndrome, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the book in which psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals find the codes needed that...
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