Introducing diagnosis 


I’ve been asked to write a book review of Lucy johnstone’s ‘introduction to clinical diagnosis’, so one the train on the way home from pink therapy’s annual conference, I read the book. This isn’t the review, but it will no doubt contain elements from the review (which I have yet to write…)


It’s a great book. A fast reader; it took me less than the two hour train journey home, and it’s accessible in that rather than make it one large tome that covers lots of angles, it is part of a series, which I am inclined to buy all of!


There were two things that struck me- one of which will be next week. I have never been a great lover of medication. I do absolutely recognise that for some people it is life-saving and they couldn’t function without it. But, and I speak as a person who has been through the mental health system (and therefore was heavily medicated at times), it can be a sticking plaster. As Lucy points out- we have no proof about how medication works and a quick read of a blog site such as mad in America will soon throw up discussions about big trials that falsify outcome data (which would otherwise have shown placebo to be as effective as the active drug). She also points out that a significant amount of people connected to writing the DSM are *also* connected to the big pharmaceutical companies.


So- I’m largely anti-drug. Perhaps that was inevitable; I’m a counsellor. But I think that to a large degree, people take pills (and sometimes more and more pills, often simply to chase the side effects of the original pill) and do not discover how to talk through things. I recognise that talking therapies (of whatever ilk) aren’t plausible for all people- there are exceptions everywhere. But for me there is a question about how to make that known to my clients. I would suspect that none of the clients for whom this would be a salient issue suspect that I am ‘anti-drug’, but I would like to be known as someone who believed in therapy rather than in drugs, but at the same time, would not like to be a person people felt they couldn’t come to if they WERE taking medication.


It is a delicate balance; how to hold true to my beliefs, give clients a space to talk about their own medication, and not scare off clients who DO want to take medication. If anyone has any solutions to managing this, I’d be happy to hear them!31



One thought on “Introducing diagnosis 

  1. Paul Colley says:

    Read this today and it reminded me of your call for response to the above on medication. My own position sounds to be closely aligned to your own, but Linda’s blog calls for greater understanding and so I try to incorporate that into my own position too. I need these reminders.

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