“Make-Believes” in Psychiatry or the Perils of Progress

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1993, Vol 38(12), 1335. Reviews the book, “Make-Believes” in Psychiatry or the Perils of Progress by Herman M. van Praag (1993). Van Praag critiques modern psychiatry on a number of fronts, most notably the classifications in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) and the process of objectification of psychopathological phenomena. He asserts that the language used in the DSM-III is crude, vague, and of little use for research purposes. He also believes that in the DSM-III researchers have inflated nonspecific symptoms into true disorders. It is this–along with a reassertion of nosology and the rejection of more dimensional methods of diagnosis–that van Praag sees as the price of progress in psychiatry. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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