DxSummit Officially Launches


As co-chair of the Diagnostic Summit Committee of the Society for Humanistic Psychology, I am pleased to announce that today we officially launch the Global Summit on Diagnostic Alternatives (DxSummit.org), an online platform for rethinking mental health. Our goal is to provide a place for a collegial and rigorous discussion of alternative ways to conceptualize and practice diagnosis.

Today’s launch is marked by the appearance of our first eight posts. These posts come from a variety of prominent people in the field, each offering a unique perspective on the current state of diagnosis and where we might take things as we move forward. Importantly, the goal of DxSummit is not to endorse a particular view, but to provide a space for discussion and deliberation. According to the Summit Mission Statement:

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.

The mission statement goes on to more fully explicate the questions the Summit wants participants to address:

  • 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?

How can you be involved in the summit? Check the site often, read our posts, and get involved in the discussion by leaving comments. We look forward to a generative and exciting ongoing electronic summit. Hope to see you there!

Official Press Release: DxSummit Officially Launches


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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