Alternatives to DSM-5 Suitable for Therapists (Advance Online Publication)

Cover of Journal of Humanistic PsychologyRecent research suggests that psychologists and counselors are dissatisfied with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, and open to seeing the development of alternatives to it. Any alternative suitable for psychotherapists must meet certain requirements. A successful alternative must (a) place psychosocial factors on equal footing with biological factors; (b) categorize problems, not people; (c) be scientifically grounded; (d) be collaboratively developed; and (e) be usable across orientations, professions, and constituencies.

New Blog Post: How About a Diagnostic Alternative for Use in Talk Therapy?

New blog post:

Raskin, J. D. (2014, August 18). How about a diagnostic alternative for use in talk therapy? [Blog post]. Retrieved from


ID-100178853In order to devise a diagnostic alternative with widespread appeal, we must:

a) generate a system that is not bound to any particular theoretical orientation other than one that sees all forms of counseling and psychotherapy as means of using conversation and relational engagement to help clients address their presenting concerns;

b) build a system that involves all relevant constituencies and professions in the process of its creation; this means not just involving representatives of the various helping professions, but also guaranteeing a seat at the table for consumers of services and insurers who cover services;

c) include a practical way for clinicians to code concerns that people bring to the consulting room and provide evidence that we can effectively help people with these concerns, so that insurers see what is being offered as empirically-supported and in their financial interest to cover.

Speaking in Code

New blog post:

Raskin, J. D. (2013, June 10). Speaking in code [Blog post]. Retrieved from


The recent publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has brought several new disorders into public consciousness while eliminating some old ones. As just two examples, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation disorder is in, but Asperger’s is out. The often-overlooked irony is that when it comes to diagnostic codes—the numeric or alphanumeric codes used by insurance companies for reimbursement—things are not as they appear. That is, the DSM-5 disorder your doctor says you have may not be the one coded and sent to your insurance company.

Click here for the full post.

Appointment as Co-Chair of Diagnostic Summit Committee

Frank Farley and Jon Raskin have been named the new co-chairs of the Society for Humanistic Psychology‘s Open Letter Committee, which is being renamed the Diagnostic Summit Committee. Dave Elkins was the previous chair. The other committee members remain the same:  Donna Rockwell, Brent Robbins, and Sarah Kamens.  Krishna Kumar is a new member of committee, while graduate student Erin Cosby is joining as a consulting member.

This is the “DSM-5 Committee” that was successful during the past year in raising concerns about the proposed DSM-5.  The committee’s petition website attracted more than 14,000 signatories and more than 50 mental health groups and organizations, as well as helping create a firestorm that was covered by major media around the world.  The revised committee will be focusing on the International Summit on Diagnostic Alternatives, tentatively planned for 2013.  Jon and Frank are chairing this summit, as well as the entire Open Letter Committee.  Representatives from all major mental health associations will be invited to the summit to discuss the feasibility of developing an alternative diagnostic system.  For more information about the summit, which is still in planning stages, please contact Frank or Jon.

Defining Mental Disorder, DSM-5 Style

New blog post examining the proposed revision to the definition of mental disorder, which is currently being considered for DSM-5:

EXCERPT: What is a mental disorder? This is a question the American Psychiatric Association (2012) has been contemplating as it prepares the DSM-5, the soon-to-be-published revision of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The DSM-5 development website proposes the following new definition of mental disorder…

Read the full post.