Val's Take For anyone who regularly reads our website, you know that we are pretty critical of the current state of psychology and psychiatry.
Mainly, we are so critical because we believe so much is riding on highly competent, scientifically grounded, highly compassionate and well resourced mental health professions and professionals.
We are NOT there -- you can't be relying on the DSM and expect to be taken seriously. The National Institute of Mental Health's RDoC (Research Domain Criteria initiative) is going to go a long way to get the mental health professions on sounder footing.
Additionally, mental health professionals have been co-opted by the Criminal Justice System. By "co-copted," we mean that mental health professionals and the still limited existing mental health knowledge base have been employed for the Criminal Justice System's own convoluted statutory purposes, especially when it comes to Competency to Stand Trial and Insanity.
[We actually are proposing more of that with our proposal to have Medicaid mental health professionals develop community living plans for jail inmates with mental illness -- that can be used by the court system for their decision-making purposes].
We are going to make some intellectual and moral distinctions here:
There's a difference between coming up with a "Community Living Plan" with all its caveats and the Law relying on mental health professionals for determinations involving our very imperfect, out-dated, all or nothing determinations of "Competency" or "Insanity" in which "Punishment" is still front and center and not necessarily Public Safety or Long Term/Root Cause Re-Dress of the Problems.
Now, in fairness, many mental health professionals get involved in the Criminal Justice System at the request/begging of defense attorneys.
We believe we have come to a point in which we are presenting ourselves with a "false dichotomy": that is to say, there are other choices beyond choosing between a Highly Punitive Criminal Justice System and a Highly Punitive Criminal Justice System, Slightly Moderated by Mental Health Professionals asked to testify on things they are not always, let's say often, not competent to testify on.
The "Reality" is if we move away from the incredibly punitive society we currently have -- one takes a lot of the Stress out of the Society.
Well, how would one do that? Well, focusing on:
Building on Strengths, and compensating for weaknesses to help people achieve their goals.
What do we really need, more than anything, for that [NOT problem-solving courts]: Highly competent, scientifically grounded, highly compassionate and well resourced mental health professions and professionals
NIMH WITHDRAWS SUPPORT FOR DSM-5 -- THE LATEST IS A HUMILIATING BLOW TO THE APA.
In a humiliating blow to the American Psychiatric Association, Thomas R. Insel, M.D., Director of the NIMH, made clear the agency would no longer fund research projects that rely exclusively on DSM criteria. Henceforth, the NIMH, which had thrown its weight and funding behind earlier editions of the manual, would be “re-orienting its research away from DSM categories.”
"The weakness” of the manual, he explained in a sharply worded statement, “is its lack of validity.” “Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure."