Beyond Psychodiagnostics

Resourses for Replacing 'Mental Disease'
with Democratic Rights

by Kenneth Gergen, Mustin Professor of Psychology
Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, USA

1. Current practices of psychodiagnosis are injurious not only to persons treated by mental health professionals but to society more generally;

2. Diagnostic categories have no validity outside of groups who are already committed to them;

3. Diagnostic categories function largely as moral jusgments, reconstructing socially undesirable actions as diseases;

4. The number of labels for 'mental illness' has expended exponentially over the present century and there are currently no means of curtailing this form of deficit categorization;

5. The dissemination of mental illness labels functions to increase the number of therapeutic patients, the number of hospitalizations, and the cost of 'mental illness' in society more generally;

6. Mental health professionals are predominantly deaf to alternative interpretations of the actions they diagnose. Not only is the client's voice held in disregard, but also the voices of family members, colleagues, and religious [authorities]; and

7. Mental health professionals and managed care institutions are primarily responsible for these problems. If internal means cannot be located for changing the rpesent conditions, then litigation should be sought.

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Last updated on 30 January 2011