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Clinical Social Work Blog
Warning! Let me explain ...
DISSOCIATION, "the" journal to read concerning dissociative disorders turned down publishing my analyses and book reviews for Patty Duke and Eartha Kitt, in part, because "(t)he ethical standards of a number of professional organizations prohibit the formulation of diagnostic impressions of living public figures. This stems from the infamous efforts to discredit Barry Goldwater as a presidential candidate on psychiatric grounds, an effort joined by many psychiatrists who had never examined Mr. Goldwater, but who reached their conclusion on the basis of partial and derivative information and their political preferences." (Richard P. Kluft, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of DISSOCIATION in a letter to me dated December 9, 1994)
I respect those concerns, however, my reasoning for formulating diagnostic impressions is not to discredit anyone. If one looks hard enough at the DSM-IV, they will certainly find a diagnosis or two that fits, at any particular time, in his or her life. My bigger concern is removing the stigma surrounding "mental illnesses". Patty Duke and Eartha Kitt have had enough trauma in their life to naturally warrant their "symptoms". It is honoring that fact with empathy, not with stigmatization, that is healing and life-affirming. I derived my diagnostic impression from their very own words. Obviously, since I have never spoken to either of them, my diagnostic impressions are based on partial information and processed through my unique perceptual filters. My intent is to educate people about what could be undiagnosed dissociative disorders in these two women, as well as other people in the general population. Patty Duke's book is of grave concern to me because, it is being given out with the best intention, to people who are newly diagnosed with bipolar disorders, in major hospitals. It is my personal belief that many people with bipolar disorder, as well as other psychiatric disorders, are incorrectly diagnosed. Many may have dissociative disorders, instead, or in addition to their bipolar diagnoses. I believe my intentions are honorable and I hope no harm is done to Patty Duke or Eartha Kitt.
So, before you "bite off" my head, please read their books, because I believe that they want their stories told to inspire other survivors. Their stories are inspiring!
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Last updated on January 13, 2011.
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