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DSM-5: Diagnosing for Status and Money

Critical Review of the Selling and the Scientific Base of the DSM

2 CE Credits/Hours - Online Course - $19.00

Developed by Ofer Zur, Ph.D. and Nola Nordmarken, MFT, MA

CE Credits for Psychologists. CE Credits (CEUs) for LMFTs, Social Workers, Counselors and Nurses.
CE Approvals by BBS-CA, ASWB, NBCC, NAADAC, CA-BRN & more.
Zur Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Zur Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

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Diagnosing for Status and Money This course critically reviews the professional, political, economic and sociological forces that have operated, historically, in the development, utilization, marketing and selling of the DSM. Unlike many courses and texts that simply describe the DSM-5 and changes it has introduced in comparison to its predecessor, this course describes the significant shortcoming of the manual and its potential negative implications.

The DSM has been called the (billing) bible of psychiatry and has been one of the most influential texts in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, counseling and psychotherapy. Its influence has been much larger than in the field of mental health, as it has contributed towards our entire cultural attitude of what is healthy or unhealthy and what is normal or pathological. The DSM has always tended to pathologize normal behaviors. The DSM-5's inclusion of certain new diagnoses and the loosening of criteria for existing diagnoses 'captures' many people who would not have been diagnosed with a mental disorder prior to its publication. Most importantly, the DSM shapes our attitudes of what constitutes proper treatment and healing. The DSM informs our entire culture of what is normal and what is not and guides us as to who should be allowed to remain free and who should be locked up.

Diagnosis of physical problems has often been extremely useful, and in principle, psychiatric diagnosis can be helpful too. Unfortunately, psychiatric and mental health labeling have been conceived of and applied in extremely biased ways and is surprisingly unwarranted by scientific research. Thus, it can result in harm to clients in general and specifically to minorities, women, children and other marginalized groups. Because most undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate courses have tended, in the past, to uncritically present the DSM as a scientific document, this course focuses exclusively on the increasingly acknowledged critical view.

The first article briefly reviews the general changes and structure of DSM-5. The second article briefly reviews the main critique of the DSM-5 by Allen Frances, M.D., who was chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and the author of Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life. The third article, "Diagnosing for Status and Money," provides a more extensive critique of the DSM-5, including detailed sections on Critique of Major DSM-5 Diagnostic Categories and a list of examples where the DSM-5 tends to pathologize normal behaviors and temperaments. The forth article was published by The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which had distanced itself from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). They pulled no punches in their statement on why they are not going to fund things based on DSM criteria any more. "The weakness is its lack of validity." The next two articles present a critique of Somatic Symptom Disorder by Dr. Frances and an important critique of the inclusion of PMDD in DSM-5, which makes premenstrual responses mental illness. Finally, the last article provides extensive online resources regarding DSM-5 and its critique.

Educational Objectives:

    This course will teach the participant to
  • Critically review the DSM-5.
  • Identify the major changes between DSM-IV and DSM-5.
  • Analyze concerns with biases in DSM-5 categories.

Course Syllabus:

  • Overview of Critique of the DSM-5
  • Critique of Major DSM-5 Diagnostic Categories
    • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
    • Grief
    • Minor Neurocognitive Disorder
    • PTDS
    • Binge Eating Disorder
    • Autism
    • Substance Abuse
    • Addiction
    • Anxiety Disorders
    • PMDD
    • Intellectual Disability & Forensic Implication
  • What Did Not Make it into the DSM-5
  • Potential Redeeming Qualities of the DSM
  • Major Concerns Regarding the DSM as a Diagnostic System
  • DSM tends to pathologize normal behaviors and temperaments:
    • Pathologizing Women
    • Pathologizing Lower Socio-Economic Class
    • Pathologizing Geriatric Populations
    • Pathologizing Ethnic Minorities
    • Pathologizing Children
    • Pathologizing Members of the LGB Community
    • Pathologizing Autistic People
  • DSM vs. The Village: The Inclusive Model as Alternative to Diagnostic Model
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Online CE Courses
  • Online Resources on DSM and Diagnosis


Author's Bio Ofer Zur, Ph.D.
Author's Bio Nora Nordmarken, MFT, MA


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