Talk by Rachel Freeth on Psychiatric Diagnosis
A warm summer’s evening on 21 June welcomed Rachel Freeth back to TAP, to present her Talk
entitled "Psychiatric Diagnosis - What might this mean for your client and you?" Rachel is a
psychiatrist, counsellor and author and works in General Adult Psychiatry in Herefordshire.
Having trained as a Person Centred counsellor in the late 1990’s, she now straddles the world
of Psychiatry and counselling.
Rachel with Caroline Barrett - TAP Council Member who organised the event.
rAnother assumption is that a diagnosis is the duty of a doctorand that it is made through
assessment and examination of the person using a formal medical process that focuses on the
symptoms and signs of the patient.
Posing the question; What is a diagnosis? Rachel explained that the name of a physical illness
gives information about the condition, whereas in a psychiatric diagnosis that information
is not provided. Therefore the psychiatric diagnosis is not based on knowing what and where the underlying mental disturbance is. It was surprising for many of the audience to learn that after
decades of research we still only have a range of theories on the causes of mental distress and
disturbance, we do not have any conclusive scientific evidence on it’s origins.
Rachel moved on to Psychiatric classification and the audience heard how the American
Psychiatric Association publishes The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
(DSM), which is used by clinicians and psychiatrists to diagnose psychiatric illnesses.
Another clarification is the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) which is published by
the World Health Organization and is currently in it’s 10th edition. The ICD 11 has now been
published although it is not due to come into full effect until 2022. Importantly, in a world of
7.4 billion people speaking nearly 7000 different languages, the ICD provides a common
vocabulary for recording and monitoring health issues.
How the diagnosis affects our attitude towards the person given the diagnosis was discussed
and how the diagnosis affects how that person sees themselves. It was suggested that there is a possibility that the patient will be influenced by the `label` assigned to them and consequently
adopt that role.
Following the vote of thanks, the discussion continued over tea and coffee and the now
legendary biscuits, where it became apparent that many of the audience would take away
something useful to integrate into their own work.
The next TAP Talk takes place on September 20 after the summer break, when Lizzy Oakley
presents: "Fibromyalgia – Journey to acceptance". All are most welcome.
Article by David Trott - TAP Council member.
If you would like any information about the benefits of being a TAP member, follow this link: www.taplimited.org.uk/join-tap.html