Table of contents for Taking sides. Clashing views on controversial issues in abnormal psychology / edited, selected, and with introductions by Richard P. Halgin.


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PART 1. Classification and Diagnosis ISSUE 1. Is the DSM-IV a Useful Classification System? YES: Allen Frances, Michael B. First, and Harold Alan Pincus, from "DSM-IV: Its Value and Limitations," Harvard Mental Health Letter NO: Herb Kutchins and Stuart A. Kirk, from "DSM-IV: Does Bigger and Newer Mean Better?" Harvard Mental Health Letter
Psychiatrists Allen Frances, Michael B. First, and Harold Alan Pincus contend that although the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. (DSM-IV) has certain limitations, it represents a vast improvement over previously used systems and incorporates the most up-to-date knowledge available. Professor of social work Herb Kutchins and professor of social welfare Stuart A. Kirk assert that the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic system, particularly the current edition, DSM-IV, is so flawed that its utility should be seriously questioned.
ISSUE 2. Is There Gender Bias in the DSM-IV? YES: Terry A. Kupers, from "The Politics of Psychiatry: Gender and Sexual Preference in DSM-IV," in Mary Roth Walsh, ed., Women, Men, and Gender: Ongoing Debates NO: Ruth Ross, Allen Frances, and Thomas A. Widiger, from "Gender Issues in DSM-IV," in Mary Roth Walsh, ed., Women, Men, and Gender: Ongoing Debates
Forensic psychiatric consultant Terry A. Kupers asserts that several phenomena pertaining to gender and sexuality are pathologized in the diagnostic system of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. (DSM-IV). Ruth Ross, Allen Frances, and Thomas A. Widiger, coeditors of the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-IV Sourcebook, disagree with the notion of bias associated with gender and sexuality.
PART 2. Psychological Conditions ISSUE 3. Is Multiple Personality Disorder a Valid Diagnosis? YES: Frank W. Putnam, from "Response to Article by Paul R. McHugh," Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry NO: Paul R. McHugh, from "Resolved: Multiple Personality Disorder Is an Individually and Socially Created Artifact," Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Psychiatrist Frank W. Putnam contends that the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder meets the standards for the three basic forms of validity: content validity, construct validity, and criterion-related validity. Psychiatrist Paul R. McHugh denies the validity of multiple personality disorder, asserting that this condition is a socially created behavioral disorder induced by psychotherapists.
ISSUE 4. Does Attention Deficit Disorder Exist? YES: Edward M. Hallowell, from "What I've Learned from ADD," Psychology Today NO: Thomas Armstrong, from "ADD: Does It Really Exist?" Phi Delta Kappan
Psychiatrist Edward M. Hallowell asserts that an appreciation for the complexity of attention deficit disorder (ADD) can provide valuable understanding about the workings of the brain and how this disorder affects the lives of millions of people. Educational consultant and former special education teacher Thomas Armstrong contends that the diagnosis of ADD has been blown out of proportion by the public and the professional community and is, in fact, a questionable diagnosis.
ISSUE 5. Is Schizophrenia a Biological Disorder? YES: Nancy C. Andreasen, from "Linking Mind and Brain in the Study of Mental Illnesses," Science NO: Victor D. Sanua, from "The Myth of the Organicity of Mental Disorders," The Humanistic Psychologist
Clinical psychiatrist Nancy C. Andreasen emphasizes the significant advances that scientists have made in defining schizophrenia as a biological disorder that results from disturbances in brain circuitry. Psychologist Victor D. Sanua expresses alarm about the views of biologically oriented scientists who give insufficient attention to the role of stressful life experiences in causing and aggravating the symptoms of mental disorders such as schizophrenia.
ISSUE 6. Does Post-Abortion Syndrome Exist? YES: E. Joanne Angelo, from "Post-Abortion Grief," The Human Life Review NO: Joyce Arthur, from "Psychological Aftereffects of Abortion: The Rest of the Story," The Humanist
Psychiatrist E. Joanne Angelo contends that women who have abortions are at risk of developing a lasting, serious syndrome consisting of several emotional and behavioral problems. Social activist Joyce Arthur asserts that a general consensus has been reached in the medical and scientific communities that most women who have abortions experience little or no psychological harm.
ISSUE 7. Are Repressed Memories Valid? YES: Richard P. Kluft, from "The Argument for the Reality of Delayed Recall of Trauma," in Paul S. Appelbaum, Lisa A. Uyehara, and Mark R. Elin, eds., Trauma and Memory: Clinical and Legal Controversies NO: Elizabeth F. Loftus, from "Creating False Memories," Scientific American
Psychiatrist Richard P. Kluft supports the notion that people can recover memories that have been long unavailable, and he cites several verified examples in which psychotherapy patients recalled previously inaccessible memories of traumatic events. Psychologist Elizabeth F. Loftus cites extensive laboratory research to support her conclusion that suggestion and imagination can create "memories" of events that never actually occurred.
PART 3. Treatment ISSUE 8. Have Consumer Reports Researchers Proven That Psychotherapy Helps? YES: Martin E. P. Seligman, from "The Effectiveness of Psychotherapy: The Consumer Reports Study," American Psychologist NO: Neil S. Jacobson and Andrew Christensen, from "Studying the Effectiveness of Psychotherapy," American Psychologist
Martin E. P. Seligman, a leading researcher in the field of psychotherapy, praises the study of psychotherapy conducted by researchers at the popular magazine Consumer Reports, which he says is the most extensive study on record demonstrating the effectiveness of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy researchers Neil S. Jacobson and Andrew Christensen criticize the Consumer Reports study on methodological grounds, asserting that it adds little to understanding the effectiveness of psychotherapy.
ISSUE 9. Has Too Much Emphasis Been Placed on Empirically Supported Therapies? YES: Sol L. Garfield, from "Some Comments on Empirically Supported Treatments," Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology NO: Philip C. Kendall, from "Empirically Supported Psychological Therapies," Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Psychologist and psychotherapy researcher Sol L. Garfield asserts that too much emphasis is being placed on the importance of using empirically supported or validated therapies for treating people with specific psychiatric disorders. Psychologist and psychotherapy researcher Philip C. Kendall contends that psychotherapists should rely on the knowledge derived from extensive research when they select treatments for clients with particular psychiatric disorders.
ISSUE 10. Is Ritalin Overprescribed? YES: Peter R. Breggin, from "Drugging Our Children Won't Cure the Problems in Schools," Insight on the News NO: Russell Barkley, from "Critics' Claims Are Not Based on Medical Reality," Insight on the News
Physician Peter R. Breggin, founder of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, asserts that behavior-modifying medications such as Ritalin are vastly overused by parents and teachers who have come to view normal childhood behaviors as pathological conditions warranting psychiatric interventions. Professor of psychiatry Russell Barkley views behavior disorders of childhood, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as serious conditions warranting medical intervention in order to reduce the likelihood of social, academic, and emotional problems.
ISSUE 11. Should Psychosurgery Be Used to Treat Certain Psychological Conditions? YES: Fred Ovsiew and Jonathan Bird, from "The Past and Future of Psychosurgery," Current Opinion in Psychiatry NO: Frank T. Vertosick, Jr., from "Lobotomy's Back," Discover
Psychiatrists Fred Ovsiew and Jonathan Bird assert that psychosurgery is an invaluable intervention for certain kinds of seriously disordered patients who have not responded to other forms of treatment, and they insist that failure to provide this intervention to those who need it would be ethically questionable. Neurosurgeon Frank T. Vertosick, Jr., argues that psychosurgical procedures rest on a shaky scientific foundation and involve procedures that cause irreversible injury to the brain.
PART 4. Social Issues ISSUE 12. Does Media Violence Promote Violent Behavior in Young People? YES: L. Rowell Huesmann and Jessica Moise, from "Media Violence: A Demonstrated Public Health Threat to Children," Harvard Mental Health Letter NO: Jonathan L. Freedman, from "Violence in the Mass Media and Violence in Society: The Link Is Unproven," Harvard Mental Health Letter
Psychology and communication researchers L. Rowell Huesmann and Jessica Moise assert that there is a clear relationship between aggression and children's viewing of media violence, and they point to several theoretical explanations for this connection. Psychology professor Jonathan L. Freedman disagrees with the conclusion of researchers that there is a relationship between aggression and children's viewing of media violence, and he argues that many conclusions in this area are based on methodologically flawed studies.
ISSUE 13. Is Pornography Harmful? YES: Diana E. H. Russell, from Dangerous Relationships: Pornography, Misogyny, and Rape NO: Nadine Strossen, from Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's Rights
Sociology professor Diana E. H. Russell considers pornography profoundly harmful because it predisposes men to want to rape women and undermines internal and social inhibitions against acting out rape fantasies. Law professor Nadine Strossen contends that there is no credible research to support the claim that sexist, violent imagery leads to harmful behavior against women.
ISSUE 14. Is the Bell Curve Theory Valid? YES: Jeffery P. Braden, from "For Whom `The Bell' Tolls: Why The Bell Curve Is Important for School Psychologists," School Psychology Review NO: Robert J. Sternberg, from "The School Bell and The Bell Curve: Why They Don't Mix," NASSP Bulletin
Educational psychology professor Jeffery P. Braden supports the Bell Curve theory, stating that educators can use its conclusions and recommendations to improve educational opportunities for students. Psychology professor Robert J. Sternberg dismisses the Bell Curve theory as being "bad science" that is theoretically and methodologically flawed and that plays into the societal tendency to blame social problems on things over which we have no control.
ISSUE 15. Does Religious Commitment Improve Mental Health? YES: David B. Larson, from "Have Faith: Religion Can Heal Mental Ills," Insight on the News NO: Albert Ellis, from "Dogmatic Devotion Doesn't Help, It Hurts," Insight on the News
David B. Larson, president of the National Institute for Healthcare, maintains that religion can heal many ills, both physical and psychological, and that religiously committed people fare better psychologically in many facets of life than nonreligious people. Albert Ellis, president of the Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy, expresses concern about religious commitment, particularly fanaticism, and he criticizes the research in this area as being biased.
ISSUE 16. Has the Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill Worked? YES: Howard H. Goldman, from "Deinstitutionalization and Community Care: Social Welfare Policy as Mental Health Policy," Harvard Review of Psychiatry NO: E. Fuller Torrey, from "The Release of the Mentally Ill from Institutions: A Well-Intentioned Disaster," The Chronicle of Higher Education
Professor of psychiatry Howard H. Goldman discusses the benefits resulting from deinstitutionalization, a process that he believes has emerged from sound public policy. Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey calls the deinstitutionalization movement a disaster that has resulted in widespread homelessness among the mentally ill. He attributes this failed policy to social errors within the legal and academic realms.
PART 5. Ethical and Legal Issues ISSUE 17. Should Mental Health Professionals Serve as Gatekeepers for Physician-Assisted Suicide? YES: Rhea K. Farberman, from "Terminal Illness and Hastened Death Requests: The Important Role of the Mental Health Professional," Professional Psychology: Research and Practice NO: Mark D. Sullivan, Linda Ganzini, and Stuart J. Youngner, from "Should Psychiatrists Serve as Gatekeepers for Physician-Assisted Suicide?" The Hastings Center Report
Rhea K. Farberman, director of public communications for the American Psychological Association, makes the case that mental health professionals should be called upon to assess terminally ill persons requesting hastened death in order to ensure that decision making is rational and free of coercion. Psychiatrists Mark D. Sullivan, Linda Ganzini, and Stuart J. Youngner argue that the reliance on mental health professionals to be suicide gatekeepers involves an inappropriate use of clinical procedures to disguise society's ambivalence about suicide itself.
ISSUE 18. Is Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy Ethical? YES: Mark A. Yarhouse, from "When Clients Seek Treatment for Same-Sex Attraction: Ethical Issues in the `Right to Choose' Debate," Psychotherapy: Theory/Research/Practice/Training NO: Douglas C. Haldeman, from "The Practice and Ethics of Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy," Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Psychologist Mark A. Yarhouse asserts that mental health professionals have an ethical responsibility to allow individuals to pursue treatment aimed at curbing same-sex attraction, stating that doing so affirms the client's dignity and autonomy. Psychologist Douglas C. Haldeman criticizes therapy involving sexual reorientation, insisting that there is no evidence that such treatments are effective and that they run the risk of further stigmatizing homosexuality.
ISSUE 19. Is the Abuse Excuse Overused? YES: Alan M. Dershowitz, from The Abuse Excuse: And Other Cop-outs, Sob Stories, and Evasions of Responsibility NO: Peter Arenella, from "Demystifying the Abuse Excuse: Is There One?" Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy
Law professor Alan M. Dershowitz criticizes the "abuse excuse," a legal tactic by which criminal defendants claim a history of abuse as an excuse for violent retaliation. He asserts that it is dangerous to the very tenets of democracy, which presuppose personal accountability for choices and actions. Law professor Peter Arenella argues that Dershowitz grossly exaggerates the extent to which the "abuse excuse" is actually used in criminal law by highlighting a few high-profile, exceptional cases.
ISSUE 20. Is Electroconvulsive Therapy Ethical? YES: Max Fink, from Electroshock: Restoring the Mind NO: Leonard R. Frank, from "Shock Treatment IV: Resistance in the 1990s," in Robert F. Morgan, ed., Electroshock: The Case Against
Physician Max Fink asserts that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective intervention whose use has been limited as a result of social stigma and philosophical bias, which have been reinforced by intimidation from the pharmaceutical and managed care industries. Physician Leonard R. Frank criticizes the use of ECT because of its disturbing side effects, some of which he personally has suffered, and asserts that its resurgence in popularity is economically based.



Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Psychology, Pathological -- Miscellanea.
Mental illness -- Miscellanea.
Reasoning -- Miscellanea.