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Saving Normal: Has Psychiatric Diagnosis Gotten Out of Control? with Allen Frances

DSM-5: NP0043 – Session 1

The fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is coming, are you prepared? Have you asked yourself ‘As a therapist how will this affect my practice? My clients?’ Join Allen Frances as he explains the major differences between DSM-IV and DSM-5 and how you can improve your psychiatric diagnosis.

After the session, please let us know what you think. If you ever have any technical questions or issues, please feel free to email

Posted in CE Comments, NP0043: DSM-5 | Tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Saving Normal: Has Psychiatric Diagnosis Gotten Out of Control? with Allen Frances

  1. kennythecounselor says:

    Great! One of the better sessions. How can you not like Allen Frances’ focus on protecting clients by taking TIME to get to know them before labeling them with some potentially life long diagnostic label? Nice of Richard Simon as well in asking good questions and allowing Allen to take the time to voice his thoughts. I usually don’t diagnose my clients unless I “have to” and I think we all should have to much less often. Nice way to begin this series on the DSM!

  2. mindfulpsychologist says:

    Fantastic hour. Dr. Frances is obviously an authority on the subject of diagnosing and using the various DSMs. I concur with his thoughts about over diagnosing and overuse of drugs,and incorrect diagnosing being on the rise since insurance companies have given diagnostic authority to providers who are essential untrained in mental health such as primary care physicians. It’s a crime perpetrated intentionally or unintentionally on innocent people who will take on these diagnosies thinking they are both accurate and helping them feel better. An accurate diagnosis can be very helpful, the opposite is also true. Whats occurring is is dangerous, we are talking about people’s lives here.

    Dr. Frances brought up so many excellent points, indicating how far incorrect diagnosing spreads across our nation. It is like the 19th century and earlier when we imprisoned people with mental illnesses, chaining them down when in psychotic symptoms flourished. That made such an emotional impact on me in psych 101 decades ago now, to think that we mistreated sick people in such a barbaric manner. Now we are doing it again.

    I can’t thank you enough for offering this interview Richard. I look forward to reading “Saving Normal.” It feels good to know that someone of Dr. Frances’ character and wisdom from experience, is out there fighting this cause on a public and professional level. In my opinion, everyone needs to be aware of what he’s telling us and take the responsibility we can to avoid causing harm to patients and non-patients alike.

  3. Bob Mason says:

    Fascinating session and powerful critique, not only of DSM 5, but also the negative impact of the medical industrial system (Big Pharma and insurance companies)on mental health, and overall health, treatment. In addition to ending direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceutical companies and changing the requirement of early diagnosis by insurance companies, a single payer system would provide the profound reform we all need. A single payer system could factor in life time costs, not be limited to contract year calculations. It would also save our country vast amounts of money that now go to corporate profits rather than health.

    Bob Mason, LCSW, CEAP
    Vice President
    Health Care 4 All PA

  4. morrison94 says:

    An excellent discussion. Dr. Frances was especially good on somatic symptom disorder, which can now be made on the basis of a single symptom (with the clinician’s view that it worries the patient excessively). He didn’t point out that this new criteria set brings us full circle to where we were 50 years ago: diagnosing “hysteria” on the basis of a single conversion symptom. Sam Guze and his team at Washington University long since discovered that patients so diagnosed often turn out on follow up to have physical disorders, other mental disorders, or to be well. Using restrictive criteria such as for somatization disorder (or the even earlier Briquet syndrome) assured that patients so diagnosed would, year later, still have somatization disorder.
    I agree that the authors of the relevant section of DSM-5 were honorable and well-intentioned. However, this particular lesson from history we do seem destined to repeat.
    James Morrison, M. D.

  5. says:

    Having recently read, Saving Normal, I greatly appreciated hearing Dr. Allen Frances bring his content to life with such passion and wisdom in a short 57 minute presentation. He raises issues that could so easily be pushed to the side; however, his clinical experience, chairing of the DSM-IV committee, and concrete recommendations for systemic change cannot be overlooked. This interview and Dr. Allen’s book provide a compelling wake-up call to the unsavory business influences on mental health, particularly by the drug and insurance companies. What a great way to start this series!
    Mary Garvey Horst, MA, LISW

  6. YvetteHopkins says:

    There were so many valid points in the area of advocating for our patients / clients/ etc; great job on centering such a hot topic on the basic notion to “above all do no harm” and to remain ethical / operate under the sun for the interest of the public. I remember the first time I informed someone that a diagnosis did not have to be provided, especially if the client was paying cash. You thought I had let out some big secret or was doing something illegal…that is the extent to how some have been conditioned.

  7. velora says:

    Excellent presentation of the concerns in our field. The undue influence of drug and insurance companies is a public health risk. Overdiagnosis and undertreatment must be addressed. There is no holy grail, certainly not the DSMV.
    Thank you for your thoughtful frankness.

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