IS THE DSM HELPFUL OR DESTRUCTIVE?
In all areas of life there are pros and cons. Often things change, what was once a pro becomes now a con and vice versa. Things and concepts depend on the development, environment, and context. The ‘level’ and ‘degree’ of a specific idea, action, and concept need to be taken into consideration in order to evaluate it properly. When something is just ‘right’, which means when it’s kept in moderation, it can be superb, however when becoming excessive it becomes destructive and damaging. I guess in one word we can say it’s all about ‘balance’.
Disciple and law are great for creating a good, safe, and structured environment. However when law and discipline become overwhelming and excessive and they begin to ‘impinge’ on the internal creativity and spontaneity of the individual, law becomes destructive and damaging. When creativity and spontaneity are nurtured and encouraged there can be beauty, play, and healthiness joined with discipline, law, boundaries, and structure.
The two realities can enhance and join each other in harmony when they’re being used in moderation. However when one realm begins to dominate the other there becomes dysfunction, conflict, and imbalance. When creativity becomes overly domineering, overused and overindulged, the structure, boundaries, and rules begin to fall apart and one loses orientation and contact with all forms of groundedness and stability. When law, discipline, and structure overpower us a sense of death overhauls the beauty, creativity, and liveliness of our internal worlds.
The DSM can be a great tool for creating a common language and a structure for mental health professionals and categorize complex phenomenons with clarity. It creates the structure of laws and discipline of the profession in a beneficiary manner. It can be compared to the skeletal system of the body which gives statute and structure to the body as opposed to the psychoanalytic system which gives soul, mind, insight, and creativity to the mind and soul. Psychoanalysis and spirituality can be compared to the internal organs which give life, expression, and creativity to the subjective being.
When the DSM becomes over-emphasized as a reality in-it-self, and ‘not’ merely as a tool for categorization, the client is left with a pathological view of himself which can have a disastrous impact on the patient health and self-image. Tools that are disguised to have intrinsic realities actually handicap and destroy instead of assisting and building. The tools become inverted and damage the individual. When we view the DSM as a mere tool for categorization and symptom formation, as merely a starting point which gives clarification, we can benefit from its structure. However, when it becomes ‘everything’ we start dying. We transform reality into dry bones that have no flavor.
We need to be ready to stop with the ‘we-they’ syndrome and become willing to include ourselves in the process. We need to look deeply within ourselves and we’ll have to admit to our own hallucination, preoccupations, anxieties and mood changes.
Once we give up the belief that the DSM is everything and we start seeing the bigger picture we can use it for our benefit. Within the context of a larger reality the DSM can be a helpful system which offers some helpful suggestions. But only within the larger context does it remain beneficial and helpful.