DSM: More Harm Than Good


Paula Caplan writes in the Washington Post about the harmful impact of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. “As a clinical and research psychologist who served on (and resigned from) two committees that wrote the current edition of the DSM, I used to believe that the manual was scientific and that it helped patients and therapists. But after seeing its editors using poor-quality studies to support categories they wanted to include and ignoring or distorting high-quality research … The marketing of the DSM has been so effective that few people — even therapists — realize that psychiatrists rarely agree about how to label the same patient.”

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The marketing of the DSM has been so effective that few people — even therapists — realize that psychiatrists rarely agree about how to label the same patient


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. A related article and tribute to Bob Whitaker on HOW PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS MADE AMERICA MAD by Dr. Gary Kohls. This is the real nefarious reason behind the bogus DSM stigmas to create the life destroying labels before or after the Psychiatry/BIG PHARMA//GOVERNMENT pathocracy/plutocracy creates the latest billion dollar brain/body disabling poisons to falsely accuse people in distress of being “mentallly ill” so they can force these pretend treatments in the guise of medicine under our totalitarian laws. These fraud stigmas and lethal drugs serve equally bogus but deadly eugenics theories typical of all totalitarian states that destroy the targeted person’s life and perpetrate euthanasia by robbing the person of about 25 to 30 years of their life.

    I disagree that the DSM V should be protested or buoycotted. I believe that the whole evil system of psychiatric diagnosis like the entire DSM process along with their poison drugs should be abolished like all crimes against humanity past and present.


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  2. Great article!

    I’m for getting rid of the DSM altogether.
    Not most of the labels, but all of them.

    Some forms of “mental illness” have underlying physical conditions as a root cause; for others it’s a need to overcome trauma, or learn new tools.

    But we don’t help people by labeling them.

    “Once you label me, you negate me.” – Kierkegaard

    Duane Sherry, M.S.
    Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (retired)

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