`Fast becoming a contemporary classic... this book tries both to be critical and engender critical thinking in a number of ways. It offers an overview of a number of theories that address human distress as well as particular forms of "pathology". This book effectively highlights the way that western society has taken "normal"; and "abnormal" emotional states to be factual entities rather than the constructed understandings of human phenomena that they are.... should be on the reading list of every course//module that attends to human distress' - Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis This practical and accessible critique of the institutions, practices and presuppositions that underlie the st

Whose Symptoms, of What?

Whose symptoms, of what?

This chapter focuses on symptomatology, on the ways in which people today are understood according to particular categories of distress. We describe the ways in which the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases (JeD) are used to produce different pictures of the individual as ‘abnormal’. We then look at the demarcation disputes between different disciplines, particularly between clinical psychology and psychiatry, over the nature and treatment of mental distress. We also describe the way in which other professionals are affected by this dispute.

We open this chapter with a set of puzzles. These puzzles concern the failure of the DSM or the ICD adequately to ...

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