I haven’t attended the American Psychological Association convention in about ten years. But I couldn’t turn down an invitation to speak on a symposium on alternatives to diagnosis. And so, I’ll be traveling to Toronto in a few weeks for this year’s convention.
The session, organized by SUNY New Paltz psychology professor and DxSummit organizer Jonathan Raskin, is entitled, Beyond the DSM—Current Trends in Devising New Diagnostic Alternatives. (It takes place Saturday, August 8, 9-10:50 am, Convention Centre/Room 204 North Building-Level 200.) In addition to Raskin and me, presenters include Kirk Schneider, Barry Duncan, Jeffrey Rubin and Sarah Kames (discussant).
I’m calling my presentation, The Diagnostic Debate: Voices From the Street. I’ll be reporting on community outreach activities conducted in order to learn from the general mental health consumer public their opinions of diagnosis and mental health. The revision of the DSM generated significant controversy and was the subject of ongoing dialog among professionals and in the media. As well, informed and/or activist consumers, especially parents of children with a diagnosis of autism or Asperger’s, took to the blogosphere. However, there’s been little opportunity for the broader public to participate in this important dialogue. In the past, efforts to change or eliminate the medicalization of specific “disorders” were successful because the general public was mobilized (e.g., homosexuality).
In addition to presenting findings from street outreach surveys over the past few years, I’ll be giving an up-to-the-minute report on the results of the online Survey on Emotional Distress and Mental Health Diagnosis. If you haven’t yet taken the survey, please take a few minutes to add your voice.