Shrinks use a reference book called the DSM which is short for Diagnostic Statistical Manual.  First  published  by American Psychiatric Association in the early 1950’s., the DSM has been revised and revised and revised. The newest revision is expected to published in  It’s purpose is to standardize criteria for the classification of mental disorders.

I have long tried to turn DSM labels into more strength based descriptions.  Started with my foster children’s questions, but rapidly became a way of trying to get my students to think outside the box of DSM labels and other pathological descriptors .  The following  usually provoked laughter in my class, but also some critical thinking.  Hoping my humor offends no one and does the same here:

Addicted — you love something or some one deeply and would sacrifice all for that person or thing–think Mozart.
Aggressive — you empower yourself.
Agitated — you are really reved up.
Anti Social — you know what you want and you pursue your wants with great focus.
Anxious — you know life’s dangers.
Borderline — you are a very passionate, sensitive person; you place great faith in people and are deeply hurt when they don’t measure up to your high expectations.
Co-Dependent — you are very conscientious about observing the Golden Rule.
Compulsive — you want things to be just right.
Defensive — you don’t want to put your hand in the fire.
Delusional — you are Galileo, Columbus.  You believe something most people don’t.
Dependent — you know your weakness, you know when you need help, you recognize other people’s strengths and finally, you aren’t afraid to ask for help.
Depressed — you know how much life’s hurts or as Lily Tomlin would say you have a good grasp of reality.
Dissociative — you have a great imagination and can take vacations at a moment’s notice.
Dysfunctional — you do what works for you, but others think they know better.
Enmeshed family — you or someone in your family know the importance of family.
Grandiose — you have a very positive self-esteem and big plans.
Hallucinating — like many Saints, you see, hear, smell, feel, or taste something other people don’t.
In Denial — you are an optimist.
Manic — you are a very upbeat person, you have great hopes, great faith in your ability to make it big in this world
Manipulative — you handle things skillfully and have definite goals about what you want to happen.
Multiple personality — you have many facets to your being.
Narcissistic — you believe in yourself even if no one else does.
Obsessive — you think a great deal.
Oppositional — you are very assertive and no one tells you what to do.
Paranoid — you know some people or beings are out to get other people.
Passive — you know the value of lying low.
Passive-aggressive — you don’t like offending people so try to express your anger quietly.
Projection — you have strong psychic skills, you know what others arefeeling, thinking, plotting.
Schizophrenic — you are a visionary.
Resistant — you are reluctant to do what some expert thinks you should do.
Transference — you see your therapist as someone s/he is not.
Counter Transference — your therapist sees you as someone you aren’t.

If you share, please give me some credit and thank me by referring people to my Emotional Fitness Blog

If you wish to make a serious comment about the attempt to revise the DSM internet friend first read what internet friend Tom Strong has this to say about the above link:

The DSM-IV-TR has become a fact in many counsellors and therapists’  lives. However, the premises behind this language for understanding  clients’ concerns can sometimes be incompatible with the helping  approaches they use. To better understand the experiences and creative responses of professional helpers to expected uses of the DSM-IV-TR we have developed a survey and discussion forum. We have also developed a  website of resources for practitioners interested in learning more about  critiques and creative responses to the DSM as a helping discourse.

Our aim is to update the site with findings and resources as we move  forward with this project. Our ethics approved study has been jointly  funded by the Taos Institute and the University of Calgary.

Most importantly, we are interested in surveying counsellor and therapists on their experiences with and creative responses to the DSM,  something you can respond to by clicking here:


Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.

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