Dialogues from the 'Coalface': DSM-5 and emotional process in a clinical setting

Megan F. Chambers, Chloe MacDonald, Kristof Mikes-Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we propose that emotional reactivity can influence dialogue around the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and the wider issues included in the debate. We explore this emotional process and the impact that it has on our clinical practice, our clients' experiences, our experience of ourselves as clinicians and the ways we work with other professionals. We begin by presenting clinical scenarios, then briefly summarise key ideas from the DSM-5 debate, and draw on Bowen Family Systems Theory to explore a number of ways that emotional reactivity to these ideas can manifest itself in multidisciplinary and collegial relationships. We conclude that it is helpful to increase awareness of our own emotional processes to best avoid becoming reactive to, or dismissive of, alternative paradigms or knowledge bases that may be of use to our clients. We describe a number of principles and ideas that we have found useful in this context and identify ongoing dilemmas in our practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-146
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • DSM
  • diagnosis
  • emotional process
  • reactivity
  • Bowen
  • multidisciplinary


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