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Searching for a Language for Depression

The Vocabulary of Diagnosis Isn't Telling Our Stories

Joshua Wolf Shenk

By Joshua Wolf Shenk - Each year, seventeen million Americans and one hundred million people worldwide experience clinical depression. What does this mean, exactly? Too many of us take comfort in language that raises the fewest questions, provokes the least fear of the unknown. When we funnel a sea of human experience into the linguistic equivalent of a laboratory beaker, we choke the long streams of breath needed to tell of a life in whole.

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Diagnosing and Treating Subtle Bipolar II

A Perspective on "Depression Plus"

James Phelps

By James Phelps - Treatment for bipolar disorders used to focus on medication, but like many other mood specialists, I’ve found that most clients don’t get the help they need with medication alone, or even with established therapy approaches in combination with medication. Instead, a combination of new, lesser-known therapies plus medications has been shown to produce substantial gains in mood stabilization and daily functioning.

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The Cult of DSM

Ending Our Allegiance to the Great Gazoo

Gary Greenberg

By Gary Greenberg - Written just after the release of DSM-5, this masterfully sardonic look at the diagnostic charade many practitioners play argued that it was finally time to take the dissatisfaction with DSM seriously and find an alternative to an increasingly empty ritual.

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The Best Practices of Highly Effective Therapists

How Leaders in Psychotherapy Ensure Success

Scott Miller, Mark Hubble, and Barry Duncan

That therapists differ in their ability to affect change is hardly a revelation. But we also recognize that some practitioners are a cut above the rest. With rare exceptions, whenever they take aim, they hit the bull's-eye. Nevertheless, since researcher David F. Ricks coined the term supershrinks in 1974 to describe a class of exceptional therapists—practitioners who stood head and shoulders above the rest, little has been done to further the investigation of supershrinks, and pseudoshrinks—those whose clients experience poor results.

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VIDEO: When Meds Pave the Way for Successful Therapy

Reducing Arousal with Meds

Rich Simon

Have you ever had a new client come to a first session and announce—with a formality that seems right out of the DSM—exactly what his diagnosis is? Perhaps this client is also certain about what symptoms are the result of a “chemical imbalance” and thus can be immediately treated with medication, not therapy. He may be willing to talk about some things in therapy, like his job or his marriage—but in terms of his anxiety, that’s what the pills are for.

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Supershrinks

What's the secret of their success?

Scott Miller, Mark Hubble, and Barry Duncan

Trying to identify specific interventions that could be reliably dispensed for specific problems has a strong commonsense appeal. No one would argue with the success of the idea of problem-specific interventions in the field of medicine. But the evidence is incontrovertible. Who provides the therapy is a much more important determinant of success than what treatment approach is provided.

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A New Approach to Diagnosis

Getting Beyond the Limits of Diagnostic Categories

Rich Simon

Darrel Regier, vice chair of the DSM-5 Task Force and director of the APA’s research division, argues that DSM-5 is less about assessing fixed characteristics in clients than it is about guiding clinicians to think more dimensionally about diagnosis.

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The Biggest Changes in DSM-5 and What To Do About Them

What One of its Most Controversial Omissions Means to Your Practice

Rich Simon

It’s been a year now since the publication of DSM-5, and much of the media coverage up to this point has focused on the critics. But how are ordinary clinicians adapting to the specifics of the new DSM and what are their questions?

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Developmental Trauma Disorder: Distinguishing, Diagnosing, and the DSM

How One Tenacious Task Force Worked to Separate Developmental Trauma Disorder from PTSD in DSM-5

Mary Sykes Wylie

In 2005, a complex trauma task force began working on constructing a new diagnosis called Developmental Trauma Disorder, which, they hoped, would capture the multifaceted reality experienced by chronically abused children and adolescents.

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