January 12, 2011

Linguist lambasts DSM-5 proposal as gibberish

Leave it to an asexual linguist to lay bare the convoluted nature of the paraphilia diagnoses being proposed for the DSM-5. Andrew Hinderliter, a former English teacher and grad student at the University of Illinois, says his activism regarding the DSM's Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder led him to stumble across disturbing global flaws in the DSM-5 sexual disorders morass.

The wording of the proposed new definition of "paraphilia" (sexual perversion) is so nonsensical that one must ignore the literal text in order to apply it the way the authors say they intend, Hinderliter writes in his new article, "Do Not Disregard Grammar," in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy. That article follows a companion piece published in the Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology.

As I have blogged about previously, the members of the sexual disorders workgroup for the DSM-5 seems oblivious to the potentially disastrous forensic implications of their proposals. Vague and careless wording is not so critical in the clinical arena where, presumably, everyone is working toward the same goals. However, as attorneys know well, in the forensic context every little word matters -- a lot.

"Given that a person can be deprived of procedural due process rights -- possibly for the rest of their life --on the basis of a diagnosis of paraphilia NOS, caution and careful wording in defining paraphilia in DSM-5 is all the more important,” Hinderliter cautions.

Perhaps the workgroup has the clandestine aim of introducing chaos into the civil commitment system for sex offenders. If so, it couldn't be doing a better job. Get ready for skirmish after skirmish over nebulous terms such as "phenotypically normal," "generalized" and "intense."

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