An editorial by NCRJ Advisor Dr. Susan Robbins. Dr, Robbins reviews the history of the DSM as psychiatry evolved from being psychoanalytically based towards a biomedical model. Robbins says “Each DSM revision attempted to add a patina of scientific discovery, despite the failure to empirically denonstrate major advances in either reliability or validity.” She also points out that “The very fact that diagnoses can be voted in or out, based on little more than the opinions of the persons charged with revising or creating those diagnoses, or as a result of political activism, speaks directly to the ideological and constructivist nature of the diagnostic enterprise.” She expresses concern about social work programs that require a DSM course with a lack of critical thinking about the DSM. Social workers must do more than simply assign a DSM diagnoses. She also aruges that “the continued lack of reliability and validity in DSM diagnoses combined with a narrow biologic etiology also raises etical and practical issues related to its use in research.”
Read the full editorial, posted here with Dr. Robbins’ permission.