This summer I drafted an article for a special issue on diagnostic alternatives of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology. Having learned that it will be at least a year before publication (which is ridiculous), I am making it available here.
Diagnosis: A Thousand Ordinary People Speak Out
Lois Holzman and Elisabeth Genn
East Side Institute, NY NY
The public is rarely asked its opinions concerning mental health issues and, as revealed by a literature search, has never been surveyed without the use of medicalized, diagnostic forced choice illness language. This article reports on an ongoing community outreach project that gave people the opportunity to reflect on and share their thoughts about the medical-mental illness-diagnostic model and its impact on their lives. Two organizations with a long-standing opposition to the individualized model of human development and the medicalized understanding of emotionality designed and conducted open-ended surveys on emotional distress and diagnosis at two NYC street fairs and online. Results from over 1000 surveys are discussed and indicate that mental illness diagnosis is viewed as a necessary evil at best, and an isolating and destructive practice at worst. The results strongly suggest that ordinary people are important allies in the fight for alternatives to diagnosis. Proceed to full article Diagnosis