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Statement of Concern Calls for Boycott of DSM-V


In a final effort to encourage the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to look at the impact of their actions with respect to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V), co-chairs of the DSM-V Response Committee will soon release a formal Statement of Concern. The statement reinforces the committee’s original concerns about the DSM-V and implores both the world of psychiatric professionals and the public to join them in advocating for responsible, ethical, and scientific psychiatric and psychological practices. The co-chairs of the DSM-V Response Committee,  Dr. Brent Dean Robbins, President-Elect of the Society for Humanistic Psychology at the APA, and Dr. Peter Kinderman, believe these practices have not been made the primary goals of the APA, as evidenced in the DSM-V.

The APA has yet to allow an independent review board to examine the findings that have led to the recently approved changes to the DSM. Additionally, the DSM-V Response Committee still has significant reservations about the motivation for the changes, the process that has led to these changes, and the effect these changes will have on nearly every area touched by the field of mental health, including insurance, private practice, research, academia, emergency care, diagnoses, pharmacological endeavors, and client care.

Division 32 of the APA, The Society for Humanistic Psychology, submitted an open letter outlining their concerns relating to the upcoming publication of the DSM-V in October 2012. Many professional, academic, and practical associations supported this open letter, including GoodTherapy.org. The letter has received over 14,000 signatures. However, the DSM-V Response Committee, which is made up of psychologists, social workers, nurses, counselors, and others, believes that their open letter fell on deaf ears. This prompted the committee to write their latest Statement of Concern.

The following are some sentiments from this Statement of Concern:

  • The Response Committee feels that publishing profits and media goals have been put before the best interest of clients and the public in general
  • The lowering of diagnostic thresholds could result in an increase in non-clinical diagnoses and overmedication, reducing the resources to those with genuine and scientifically based clinical needs
  • The evidence supporting the revisions are scientifically unsound, have not been researched sufficiently, and have not been scrutinized by an unbiased independent review board

The Response Committee is calling on practitioners, researchers, healthcare professionals and members of the pharmaceutical industry to avoid use of the DSM-V until these concerns have been addressed. Further, the committee is entreating all professional counselors, nurses, academic professors, and administrators to rely on other means of diagnoses, education, and evidence as they feel that the methods used to support the changes in the DSM-V are unethical and unreliable. “We are merely asking people to endorse our statement of concerns, and to respond in an ethical and proportionate manner consistent with their contractual obligations and their conscience,” said Dr. Kinderman. The Statement of Concern will be released on March 20, 2013.

GoodTherapy.org encourages all its members and readers to view the original open letter for further information as this highly debated issue continues to remain at the forefront of the psychological landscape. You can read the open letter here.

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