I am co-chair of the Diagnostic Summit Committee, which is overseeing the Global Summit on Diagnostic Alternatives (DxSummit.org).

From the DxSummit mission statement:

In recognition of the need for a new means of defining and classifying mental distress, the Diagnostic Summit Committee of the Society for Humanistic Psychology has established the Global Summit on Diagnostic Alternatives (GSDA), an internet-based platform for open discussion about alternatives to the current diagnostic paradigm. We are a multidisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners who are concerned with the future of mental health, but disappointed by the lack of free and open dialogue about the issues that matter most. GSDA is intended to function as a central hub for discourse on psychiatric diagnosis in all of its implications and forms: scientific, theoretical, clinical, practical, ethical, social, and political. Rather than starting from a specific theory about the “right” way to define and treat psychological suffering, GSDA is a virtual arena for the expression of diverse perspectives, a space to deliberate those questions that seem most challenging and, at times, insurmountable. Our ultimate goal is to generate a transdisciplinary, international, egalitarian conversation about the possibility, feasibility, and potential implications of new means for conceptualizing mental distress.

Among the questions we will discuss are:

  • What is the basic nature and function of clinical diagnosis?
  • Is diagnosis necessary for describing mental distress?
  • To what extent should psychiatric diagnosis mirror diagnosis in general medicine, and why?
  • What is the current status of diagnosis across the helping professions?
  • Why have mental health professionals become disillusioned with the current diagnostic systems for research and practice?
  • What function does diagnosis have for patients/clients?
  • What are the iatrogenic risks of clinical diagnosis?
  • How do diagnoses function in larger society and the public sphere?
  • Is diagnosis a universal phenomenon? Can diagnostic practice be generalized across cultures?
  • How can the major helping professions work together to address current issues in diagnosis?
  • What do the various helping professions see as the most important dilemmas its practitioners face regarding diagnosis and what ideas do these professions have regarding directions for diagnosis in the future?
  • What are possible alternatives to the DSM/ICD systems?
    • Are these alternatives feasible/practical?
    • What are the political/ethical implications?
    • Should we prioritize validity over utility, or vice versa?
    • Should interdisciplinary scholars (in the neighboring social sciences and humanities) be involved in the development of diagnostic alternatives?

GSDA will start with a series of invited blogs and expand, according to need, into a multimedia platform for texts, videos, and discussion forums. We will seek the participation of individual experts in the area of diagnosis as well as major mental health organizations from around the globe. Interdisciplinary academics from the broader social sciences, medical humanities, and natural sciences will also be invited to participate.

Comments are closed.