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ian dowbiggin's Comments

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Follow the Money: Why Relationships May Soon Be Psychiatric Diseases

Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 12:48:38 in Science

“As the author of this blog I'd like to respond to Mr. Bowers's comments. Overall, he'd like us to believe that the field of MFT is in good shape and that the public is in good hands when it visits MFT offices. But nothing could be further from the truth. While there are skilled and compassionate therapists out there, like the fictional Paul Weston from HBO's "In Treatment," the truth is the field is in the midst of a crisis right now, divided by severe disagreements over questions of diagnosis and treatment, as well as issues such divorce and depression. As the New York Times admitted mere weeks ago, most MFT is not working.

Also, there's now a huge literature about how politicized the negotiations over each new edition of the DSM is. The stakes are big: each new DSM diagnosis can make a multi-million dollar difference. I can understand why Mr. Bowers wants to ignore these facts. I can't.”

bowersaamft on Apr 16, 2012 at 14:24:59

“Again, there is so much within Mr. Dowbiggin's response that is is difficult to choose which misconceptions to address. I will limit my response to these points:

First, there is debate within the mental health field, especially regarding the current ongoing revision of the DSM. Anyone who has followed the process as it has it has unfolded is aware of this fact. It extends far beyond the field of marriage and family therapy--a field of study that he chose to castigate when he challenged the integrity of serious scholars and dedicated practitioners.

The debate in all of mental health is robust. But MFTs have not been involved in advocating in a manner that reflects their trade interests more than science as Mr. Dowbiggin directly asserts in his blog. He should apologize for that blatantly false allegation.

Second, if he would like to understand and the science of MFT it will require more than a cursory internet search or reading newspapers. I would encourage more scholarly review prior to public pronouncements.

As a historian, I would assume Mr. Dowbiggin has an appreciation for careful use of language. "Crisis" is more appropriately used in reference to missiles in Cuba, or the nuclear issues with Iran. Debates such as those in the revision of the DSM hardly constitute a “crisis.” Use of such hyperbolic language makes any true analysis or historical evaluation less valid. Thus, Mr. Dowbiggin does his own chosen field of history no favors.

Michael Bowers
Executive Director, AAMFT”

adamORST on Apr 13, 2012 at 14:41:29

“I'm so glad to hear that the NY Times is taking responsibility for the field of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Fact: the DSM already includes a limited number of relational diagnoses. However, these diagnoses receive little, if any, reimbursement from third-party payers.

Do MFT's, social workers, and other mental health professionals who specialize in marital therapy stand to benefit from and expanded set of diagnostic criteria? Yes, possibly. But you make is sound like it is some kind of money-making scheme. Those MFT's are out to legitimize their profession! How dare they! The reality is that most MFT's have to battle with insurance companies to get any kind of recognition and payment for the work they do.”

FemaleShemale on Apr 13, 2012 at 14:14:27

“By all means, let's listen to a know-nothing history teacher from the Great North, regarding a field about which he clearly knows nothing about.”