Specialists hit back at psychologists who want to ditch biomedical diagnoses

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 20 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3273
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1BMJ

Specialists in both psychiatry and psychology came to the defence of classification systems for mental illnesses last week, after clinical psychologists called for diagnostic labels to be abandoned in favour of a conceptual system not based on a “disease” model.

Recorded at the press conference

The British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology, which represents more than 10 000 practitioners, issued a statement on 17 May damning diagnoses such as schizophrenia, personality disorder, and bipolar disorder because they have “limited reliability and questionable validity.”1

“Psychiatric diagnosis is often presented as an objective statement of fact, but is, in essence, a clinical judgement based on observation and interpretation of behaviour and self-report, and thus subject to variation and bias,” the statement said.

Instead, the division said that …

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