Psychologist Organizations React to DSM-5

By James Bradshaw, Senior Editor
January 14, 2013

Two national organizations for practicing psychologists are concerned about the potentially harmful impact on patients when the revised DSM-5 is released in May but their efforts are not coordinated in part from a fail- ure to communicate.

The National Alliance of Professional Practicing Psychologists (NAPPP), formed in 2006 by psychologists who felt the American Psychological Association (APA) was not active enough on behalf of practitioners, said even before details of the planned revisions were released that psychologists should abandon the DSM and use the mental disorder descriptions of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) for diagnoses.

APA’s practitioner arm, the APA Practice Organization (APAPO), has been more circumspect in its criticism, but APA’s Division 42, Psychologists in Independent Practice, circulated a petition after the American Psychiatric Association (ApA) released a draft of revisions last year seeking the ApA to back off from many changes viewed as based on poor research and heavily weighted with presumed biologic causes for mental disorders.

The petition was endorsed by more than 50 mental health organizations and 13,000 individual mental health care providers concerned that lowered thresholds and the over-emphasis on physical causes could expand what is already viewed as over-prescribing of psychotropic drugs, but only minor changes were made before the revisions were approved Dec. 1 for final publication.

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