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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Diagnosis in Practice

The Mental Health Field Has A Branding Problem

For over two centuries, the mental health field, and psychiatry in particular, has actively cultivated a “brand,” distinguishing itself as a remedy for societal ills, largely by adapting its philosophy and methods to the dominant social agenda. In 1793, when Dr. Philippe Pinel initiated reforms in the Salpêtriere and Bicêtre Hospitals in Paris where...
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Cultural Issues

Defining Mental Disorders Doesn’t Make Them Exist

No one really doubts the phenomena of birds and bees. But to call birds and bees miracles and to create a miracle-maker God who created them is a certain kind of fraudulent leap. No one really doubts the phenomena of sadness and worry. But to call them symptoms of mental disorders is exactly the same...
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Cultural Issues

A Cycle of Progressive Infirmity

As I see it, there is a cyclical process at work in society that functions to expand the population of the “mentally ill”, along with the costs of treatment, in an ever increasing degree. In effect, without major changes in conceptions, practices, and policies, we confront a process of exponentially increasing infirmity, with an...
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Diagnosis & Therapy

Side-Effects of Medical Encounters: the Pride/Shame System

Although seldom considered, medical encounters may have emotional effects on a client and/or the client’s social network. This essay expands upon a brief earlier statement by the physician Aaron Lazare (1987) who noted several ways that medical encounters may produce shame. The main point in this note is that ALL social encounters, not just...
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Cultural Issues

Why Does the Publication of the DSM-5 Concern European Psychiatry?

Note: This is an extended version of Dr. Landman’s article for Psychology Today published on March 18, 2013. The shorter and modified version can be found here:  The DSM, which stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), is a reference manual meant...
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Alternatives to DSM & ICD

Towards a Universal Needs-Based System of Assessment

I’ve just recently become a member of the Global Summit on Diagnostic Alternatives, and I’ve really been enjoying the articles that I’ve read so far, appreciating that many of the authors here clearly share many of the same concerns and aspirations that I do. I found myself particularly appreciating the systems proposed by Peter...
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Defining Disorder

A stringently-scientific Communicational-Model for MI

In light of an overall communicational model for mental illness, the principles of the Scientific Method are necessarily employed: namely, (1) propose a hypothesis, (2) make predictions from that hypothesis, and (3) test the accuracy of the predictions within an experimental setting. According to Step (1), the major hypothesis has initially been established; namely,...
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Diagnosis & Therapy

How to Measure Human Distress?

Why do doctors use the DSM? To anticipate and contain by categorizing and “labelling” madness. The latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) was made public recently at the American Psychiatric Association conference in San Francisco. It is a text addressed to psychiatrists in need of terminology for measuring...
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