Alternatives to DSM & ICD

How About a Diagnostic Alternative for Use in Talk Therapy?

On August 5 and 6, 2014, a group of roughly twenty persons met in Washington, DC for the First Summit on Diagnostic Alternatives. The gathering consisted mostly of psychologists, but social work, counseling, and marriage and family therapy perspectives were also represented. The topic at hand was whether or not to push ahead with...
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Diagnosis & Therapy

The Classification Versus Diagnosis Debate

There has been an interesting discussion going on at the International Diagnostic Summit (). Dr Tim Carey, in his thoughtful post, “DSM – Unfit for Purpose,” informs us that The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) …purports to be, first and foremost, a diagnostic manual. Diagnosis, as it is defined in Wikipedia,...
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Critiques of Diagnosis

Speaking in Code

The recent publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has brought several new disorders into 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 codes—the numeric or alphanumeric...
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Current Status of Dx

Language is Important – A Reply to Ronald Pies

Dr. Ronald Pies is, characteristically, correct in pointing out that language is important. Elegant language should be used to explain and contextualize the evidence of empirical research, not to obfuscate and not to serve as an alternative to scientific analysis. So I am sorry that Dr. Pies was confused, rather than inspired, by my essay....
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Current Status of Dx

The Red Herring of Reliability

The issue of reliability regularly features in the DSM debate. Advocates of the DSM system report favorable reliability statistics in one or other of the various revisions (, Brown, Di Nardo, Lehman, & Campbell, 2001), while critics paint a different picture (, Timimi, 2011). Kirk and Kutchins (, 1992, 1997) have written extensively on...
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Current Status of Dx

What is “Medicalizing”? What is “Normality”? (Part 2)

If sick men fared just as well eating and drinking and living exactly as healthy men do…there would be little need for the science [of medicine].—Hippocrates For the proposition, “Psychiatry is medicalizing normality” to be true, we would need, first; adequate definitions of the terms “medicalizing” and “normality”; and second, convincing evidence that psychiatry...
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Critiques of Diagnosis

Can Evolutionary Theory Help Us Define Mental Disorder?

Note: Jerome Wakefield gave a presentation on his harmful dysfunction approach to defining mental disorders at SUNY New Paltz in March 2011. Jonathan Raskin served as discussant, and his response, reproduced here, remains highly relevant in light of ongoing debates about how the upcoming DSM-5 should define mental disorder. Video of both Dr. Wakefield’s and Dr. Raskin’s presentations...
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