Pragma

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Wonderful, watching CNN right now and we've got a clinical psychologist named Jeff Gardere discussing Axis II pathology and Lance Armstrong.

I am so tired of our colleagues throwing diagnoses around on national television for people they have never even met.
 

Psychadelic2012

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Word.

And we wonder why psych students, med/health students, and the general public at-large feel qualified to throw around diagnoses for people they've never met.
 

Pragma

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Word.

And we wonder why psych students, med/health students, and the general public at-large feel qualified to throw around diagnoses for people they've never met.
This is what concerns me the most. It is one thing to provide information to the public that might help to reduce the stigma of mental illness and perhaps give them an indication of some warning signs for common issues.

Throwing around diagnoses among colleagues at happy hour is a lot different than getting in front of millions of viewers who will just take your word for whatever you say.
 
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Wonderful, watching CNN right now and we've got a clinical psychologist named Jeff Gardere discussing Axis II pathology and Lance Armstrong.

I am so tired of our colleagues throwing diagnoses around on national television for people they have never even met.
+1. Or let's also not forget the "psychologists" on reality TV shows that allow taping of their sessions for production.
 
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Wonderful, watching CNN right now and we've got a clinical psychologist named Jeff Gardere discussing Axis II pathology and Lance Armstrong.

I am so tired of our colleagues throwing diagnoses around on national television for people they have never even met.
I personally consider that unethical. I don't recall, but I have a feeling that depending on how you interpret the APA ethics code it's probably not just my own opinion. No one should be diagnosed without their consent, and it doesn't matter if they're a public figure.
 

Markp

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I personally consider that unethical. I don't recall, but I have a feeling that depending on how you interpret the APA ethics code it's probably not just my own opinion. No one should be diagnosed without their consent, and it doesn't matter if they're a public figure.
It is potentially unethical to throw around diagnoses (especially on TV, however some people are so clearly disordered that it would be hard to ignore it), a far more conservative and appropriate approach might address personality features or traits that are suggested by behavior of an individual.

For instance, if someone said, one possible explanation for Lance Armstrong's sustained denial of the accusations could stem from a combination of narcissistic and anti-social personality traits, that's fair game. I would also expect any psychologist engaging in any such discussion of personality traits to describe the strengths of that trait and explore alternative explanations for his behavior such as media/peer/sponsor pressures or another possible explanation, such as a culture of cheating within the cycling community during those years. That's very different than diagnosing him with narcissistic personality disorder on national TV.
 

Pragma

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It is potentially unethical to throw around diagnoses (especially on TV, however some people are so clearly disordered that it would be hard to ignore it), a far more conservative and appropriate approach might address personality features or traits that are suggested by behavior of an individual.

For instance, if someone said, one possible explanation for Lance Armstrong's sustained denial of the accusations could stem from a combination of narcissistic and anti-social personality traits, that's fair game. I would also expect any psychologist engaging in any such discussion of personality traits to describe the strengths of that trait and explore alternative explanations for his behavior such as media/peer/sponsor pressures or another possible explanation, such as a culture of cheating within the cycling community during those years. That's very different than diagnosing him with narcissistic personality disorder on national TV.
It is still a fine line, IMO. Even if they don't flat out diagnose it, discussing how a person might fit with the diagnosis without having ever met them still has the potential to be misleading and the general public might jump to conclusions. I have a problem with it, especially with something as flimsy and stigmatized as Axis II.

Were a psychologist actually doing a formal assessment, they would be bound by confidentiality restrictions. To me the speculation has a potential for harm.
 

Markp

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It is still a fine line, IMO. Even if they don't flat out diagnose it, discussing how a person might fit with the diagnosis without having ever met them still has the potential to be misleading and the general public might jump to conclusions. I have a problem with it, especially with something as flimsy and stigmatized as Axis II.

Were a psychologist actually doing a formal assessment, they would be bound by confidentiality restrictions. To me the speculation has a potential for harm.
Agreed the potential for harm, especially in this case, seems to outweigh the value in discussing it professionally on a news channel. That's why it's an ethical call, there is no clear right and wrong here. It's certainly relevant to the story, and when it's a forensic analysis it seems more appropriate (e.g. what was going on with the Newtown shooter), but it's still a questionable call for the appropriateness.

The difference between providing the public with useful information from a psychological perspective and doing an assessment can be a very fine line.
 

Pragma

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Agreed the potential for harm, especially in this case, seems to outweigh the value in discussing it professionally on a news channel. That's why it's an ethical call, there is no clear right and wrong here. It's certainly relevant to the story, and when it's a forensic analysis it seems more appropriate (e.g. what was going on with the Newtown shooter), but it's still a questionable call for the appropriateness.

The difference between providing the public with useful information from a psychological perspective and doing an assessment can be a very fine line.
Good point about forensic analysis. Even in the Newtown case though, the media blew up and jumped to conclusions. Given that tendency, I would prefer those types of commentaries to be made after the dust settles on a story when enough information is available and it might serve a useful purpose.
 
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It's not so much diagnoses themselves that bother me, as much as how diagnoses are used - which tends to be either to (1) reduce our conceptualization of people to a checklist of symptoms, discarding their personhood, or to (2) follow a manualized treatment that follows said checklist of symptoms, also discarding one's personhood. And that's in the professional field...

As far as the general public goes, being a professional on TV or just someone at the grocery store, I think the way diagnoses are thrown around has an eerily similar motive to it as back in the day when people yelled "she's a witch!!!"
 

AcronymAllergy

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It's not so much diagnoses themselves that bother me, as much as how diagnoses are used - which tends to be either to (1) reduce our conceptualization of people to a checklist of symptoms, discarding their personhood, or to (2) follow a manualized treatment that follows said checklist of symptoms, also discarding one's personhood. And that's in the professional field...

As far as the general public goes, being a professional on TV or just someone at the grocery store, I think the way diagnoses are thrown around has an eerily similar motive to it as back in the day when people yelled "she's a witch!!!"
Recent calls by some individuals (although still a small minority, I would imagine) for a national "mental illness database" aren't helping to dispel such a comparison.
 

Markp

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As far as the general public goes, being a professional on TV or just someone at the grocery store, I think the way diagnoses are thrown around has an eerily similar motive to it as back in the day when people yelled "she's a witch!!!"
Does she float?
 
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Qwerk

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It's not so much diagnoses themselves that bother me, as much as how diagnoses are used - which tends to be either to (1) reduce our conceptualization of people to a checklist of symptoms, discarding their personhood, or to (2) follow a manualized treatment that follows said checklist of symptoms, also discarding one's personhood. And that's in the professional field...
Right, and not just how they're used, but how they're made in the first place. The idea that you can diagnose someone you've never met based on reading about them in the newspaper is ludicrous. It makes the public think that diagnosis is easy, clear-cut, and based on a small amount of information. Like you can just say, "I've got it, Watson! It's borderline personality disorder! Note the angle of the head." From there, it's easy to make the leap to making their own armchair diagnoses of friends and relatives. My mom is notorious for this.

Slightly off-topic, but does anyone read TV Tropes? This one totally applies:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HollywoodPsych

Also see: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheShrink

And: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/DoctorPhil?from=Main.DoctorPhil
 

Therapist4Chnge

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The difference between providing the public with useful information from a psychological perspective and doing an assessment can be a very fine line.
The most effective "experts" are the ones that use the time to educate the public, not feed into the actual case in question. It is a fine line because many shows/producers won't invite you back if you can't provide them with a good segment. It has little to do with being factually correct or ethically sound, but were you able to contribute to a good segment. It doesn't take much to get on the short-list (more networking than publishing), but it takes effort to stay on the list. The best "experts" I have seen all have had media training/coaching. It is definitely a skill to talk effectively and in a way that works for television.
 

weeblewobble

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Right, and not just how they're used, but how they're made in the first place. The idea that you can diagnose someone you've never met based on reading about them in the newspaper is ludicrous. It makes the public think that diagnosis is easy, clear-cut, and based on a small amount of information. Like you can just say, "I've got it, Watson! It's borderline personality disorder! Note the angle of the head." From there, it's easy to make the leap to making their own armchair diagnoses of friends and relatives. My mom is notorious for this.
The other problem this all leads to is massive generalization- if the Newtown shooter (which at this point remains a big if) had an autism spectrum disorder then that must mean that people with autism spectrum disorders are violent. A flimsy, sometimes completely illogical, made-for-media connection between an act and mental illness (or video games or Spam or whatever) is made and all of a sudden all people with a connection to that mental illness or Halo or indestructable canned meats are evil. It perpetrates stigma and ignorance, and completely ignores any other factors that may have influenced the event.
 

ClinPsychEnthus

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The other problem this all leads to is massive generalization- if the Newtown shooter (which at this point remains a big if) had an autism spectrum disorder then that must mean that people with autism spectrum disorders are violent. A flimsy, sometimes completely illogical, made-for-media connection between an act and mental illness (or video games or Spam or whatever) is made and all of a sudden all people with a connection to that mental illness or Halo or indestructable canned meats are evil. It perpetrates stigma and ignorance, and completely ignores any other factors that may have influenced the event.
+1. I see all of this as a huge problem that needs serious advocacy from professionals like those talking on this forum.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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+1. I see all of this as a huge problem that needs serious advocacy from professionals like those talking on this forum.
With all of that free time we have. ;) I agree 100%, but most who should....don't know how. Those who shouldn't are often sought out bc they are willing to speak far more about things than is probably ethical.
 

Pragma

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With all of that free time we have. ;) I agree 100%, but most who should....don't know how. Those who shouldn't are often sought out bc they are willing to speak far more about things than is probably ethical.
It's interesting, in the past week or so I randomly saw two different psychologists on the news giving some vague advice that seemed a little out of context to me. It seems like they get on a payroll and then called up to morning shows whenever it might be nice to have some sort of mental health perspective.

I looked up both of these psychologists' websites. Nowhere on their websites could I find anything about where they went to school and trained. But they had written books (sometimes about silly stuff like relationship quizzes) and tons of interview clips from big shows (e.g., Today show, CNN, Fox News, etc).

One would think if you are going to market yourself so publicly and give advice to the masses that you'd want your training credentials known...
 

Therapist4Chnge

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It's interesting, in the past week or so I randomly saw two different psychologists on the news giving some vague advice that seemed a little out of context to me. It seems like they get on a payroll and then called up to morning shows whenever it might be nice to have some sort of mental health perspective.
That is *exactly* what happens. I know someone who has been on a number of news programs (he works in a very niche area). He is very good at networking, and once he got on one list and did well, more calls came from other producers/shows/networks. Unfortunately sometimes the guests are told they will be talking about one thing, and then the producer/anchor changes the topic in real-time or 30-seconds before air.

I know quite a few producers at the various news networks (blessing and curse from my prior career), so more than once I've been approached to talk about [insert random psych topic]. Maybe in a few years I'll consider "getting on the list", but not before I get some training because I see what happens when Amateur Hour is broadcast for millions to see. I don't want to be in the running for a Daniel Tosh "Web Redemption" if I blow it on air and someone sticks it on YouTube.
 

weeblewobble

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Sadly, media portrayal is only getting worse.
Case in point: http://www.bravotv.com/la-shrinks

This makes me want to hit my head against the wall REPEATEDLY.
I don't know why my morbid curiosity led me to watch the video...
Ugh, same here. This show looks completely ridiculous and riddled with ethical problems. How can the clients give informed consent when nobody knows how this is going to pan out? At the same time, the therapists are broadcasting their lives, breaching most conceivable boundaries which can impact clients across the spectrum. There's no way best practices or quality of care is being considered here- it's about notoriety, which frankly, we don't need.
 

roubs

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ooh,combining two threads:

During an appearance on Lou Dobbs Tonight on Tuesday evening, Fox News psychiatric analyst Keith Ablow suggested that President Obama‘s philosophy of greater government power and more restrictive gun control results from his being “abandoned again and again” as a child.
 

Pragma

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Sadly, media portrayal is only getting worse.
Case in point: http://www.bravotv.com/la-shrinks

This makes me want to hit my head against the wall REPEATEDLY.
I don't know why my morbid curiosity led me to watch the video...
ooh,combining two threads:
How wonderful...

roubs, at least that person going all early childhood explanatory was a psychiatrist. But in all seriousness, I hate having to explain this crap to my in-laws.
 
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