I really appreciate that thinkers in my field, specifically humanistic existential, are speaking out against the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Stolorow posted some comments to Dr. Allen Frances‘ blog on the Huffington Post.
I think we need to take a stand against the APA. They have the power to create the illusion and delusion of pathology in this country and in the world.
The world looks to American psychology and worse yet, we push our beliefs about mental health and mental illness off on the rest of the world. We send squads of traumatologists when there is a natural disaster and rather than being phenomenological and being present to the experience of others in different cultures, we assume we can help them from our viewpoint, which is not always conducive with their experience of the world.
There is much controversy about where to “put” grief/bereavement… some want to create a category of complicated bereavement (which allows clinicians to bill insurance for the their treatment). . . or they want to add grief/bereavement to the category of mood disorders (major depression/bipolar disorder), etc. The hypocrisy of the later is that many psychiatrists today still believe that mood disorders are chemical imbalances so how do they explain adding grief to this category?
Currently, grief is in the DSM but it falls in an area that is about adjustment (daily issues where we may be having difficulties) but insurances don’t want to pay for people to get help with these issues. And well, if you are looking for a justification for the use of medication, a difficulty with daily life isn’t much of a rationale for meds… though it happens every day.
I would hope that several divisions of the American Psychological Association along with the American Counseling Association, the Association for Death Education and Counseling, etc. take a stand against the APA’s instance at pathologizing grief.
Side Note: I do have to say that I do believe that some people have difficulties that may require meds. And it isn’t like those people with long-term mental health difficulties never experience loss. But, let’s look at it. . . they have had difficulties before the loss and the loss was most likely a catalyst for further difficulties. I don’t ever want any readers to think I am anti-meds. I think that some people have benefitted from short-term use, especially if they have had instances where they have needed them in the past. AND those seeking meds need to understand what they will do and not do and what are the long-term effects of taking medication. The most important thing about any help we seek is to be informed. . . who is this therapist? what is this medication? how effective is this treatment?
Thanks for letting me jump on my anti-DSM soapbox. I hope you look at all the info out there and make an informed decision for yourself!
- Defining Grief (jonathanturley.org)
- DSM-IV: Depression Defined (everydayhealth.com)
- APA Attempts to Defend Itself by Allen Frances, MD (jeanettebartha.wordpress.com)
- Grief could join list of disorders (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Grief Recovery Institute to Battle Proposed DSM V Modifications About Grief (prweb.com)
- Will Depression Include Normal Grieving Too? (psychcentral.com)
- DSM 5 Disorganization, Disarray, and Missed Deadlines (psychologytoday.com)