How many of you think that your mental health person – therapist, custody evaluator, child’s therapist – how many of you think that they have NOT accurately identified what’s going on in your families?
Show of hands, how many think your mental health person has got it wrong?
Okay, all of you with your hands raised… in professional language… you think the mental health person has misdiagnosed your child and family.
All of you with your hands raised, mis-diagnosis. That’s what you think has happened.
If your child had medical symptoms of concern and you took your child to the doctor, what’s the first thing your doctor would do? Diagnose the problem, right? But sometimes, in confusing situations, the doctor might get it wrong… that’s called a misdiagnosis.
Last I looked, mental health professionals are in the same category as physicians – health care professionals. Dr. Childress was on medical staff at Children’s Hospital of Orange County as a pediatric psychologist. My notes and my reports went in the medical record. I had access to the medical record and I charted in the medical record.
Mental health professionals and medical professionals are both considered in the same category: health care professionals. Physicians treat physical illness, mental health professionals treat mental illness.
So imagine if you brought your child with medical symptoms to your physician and the physician immediately started treating your child, and you ask, “Wait, tell me what the diagnosis is, what’s wrong with my child” and the physician says, “I don’t diagnose pathology.”
Imagine if your child’s pediatrician told you, “Here’s the treatment but don’t ask me what the diagnosis is because I don’t diagnose pathology, I just treat it.”
HOW can you treat it if you don’t know what is is? AHAHAHDRreaarelareiuralenfoacv[
Breathe, Dr. C, Breathe…. okay. That is the number 1 most insane thing I have heard in this entire insane upside-down world of forensic psychology, mental health professionals are actually telling their patients, “I don’t diagnose.”
Then how do you know what you’re treating?
Imagine a physician who did not diagnose the medical problem first, but just started treating… something. That is insane.
All of you who raised your hands… you think your mental health person has “misdiagnosed” your child and the pathology in your family.
In your mind, substitute “physician” for “mental health professional” and use that as your guide for how to handle your concern over the possible misdiagnosis of your child and family.
Mental health professional = physician
So, say you brought your child to the physician and your doctor says do xyz treatment, but you don’t understand yet what the diagnosis is. What would you do?
Parent: “Excuse me, I don’t understand the diagnosis. Can you help me understand the diagnosis please?”
Doctor: “I don’t diagnose pathology.”
Would you allow that physician to treat your child? I wouldn’t. A doctor who doesn’t diagnose my child before treating my child? Yikes cowabunga. Not with my child. That’s unheard of.
Imagine a physician on the stand testifying about a medical situation she’s been treating for a year, and when asked what the child’s diagnosis is, says, “I don’t know, I don’t diagnose pathology.”
But these mental health… knuckleheads… I don’t diagnose pathology. Then how do you know what you’re treating.
First thing. We must get a DSM-5 diagnosis from all the mental heath professionals who are treating your children and families. We need to find out what they THINK they’re treating.
You – the parents of the child – and a patient of the mental health professional – are being treated. You have the right to know what the diagnosis is for which you are being treated.
As for the custody evaluators who formally say, “I don’t diagnose pathology, that’s not my role” make them say that formally in their testimony. Have your attorneys ask the custody evaluator on the stand,
Attorney: What is the DSM-5 diagnosis for the child.
Custody Evaluator: I don’t make a DSM-5 diagnosis, that’s not my role.”
You are being chosen for your role because you are a health care professional – a mental health care professional. Your standards as a health care professional remain. Those are exactly the standards which govern your choice for the role – you are a health care provider – a mental health care provider.
How do you know what the pathology is if you do not diagnose the pathology. How can you make informed decisions about a family if you do not know what the pathology is in the family?
To my child custody evaluator “colleagues”; I’m not going to argue it. You can argue it with a magistrate at some point down the road once this dark corruption in forensic psychology is eventually exposed.
“I don’t diagnose pathology” – then how do you know what you’re treating?
Get documented evidence of these knuckleheads saying that they do NOT diagnose the child’s pathology. In letters from them, in reports from them, in their testimony, in your “letters to a stranger” documenting conversations you had with them. Ask the, “Will you please put that in writing, that you have not diagnosed my child are are refusing to diagnose my child?” “Why not?”
Get them ON RECORD saying they don’t diagnose pathology.
We’ll be coming for them down the road to make them justify (through their licensing board or through court) why they are exempt from standards of practice for health care professionals.
If you did not diagnose the pathology, how do you know what the pathology is.
I come from medical world. My background is Children’s Hospitals – of Los Angeles, and then Orange County. I was on medical staff at CHOC. The standard of practice with health care professionals is to diagnose pathology.
So in thinking about your situation with your mental heath professional – think of this as directly analogous to your physical heath professional – your physicians. I can’t use the term doctor because there’s doctors in both sides – EXACTLY. We are the same – health care professionals – one’s physical, one’s mental.
So wouldn’t you want the medical diagnosis of your child from all the involved medical doctors if your child had a medical problem? Yes, you would. So you want the mental health diagnosis for your child from all the mental health professionals who are working with your child, including the child’s individual therapists.
If there was your child’s “individual medical doctor” wouldn’t you want to know what your child’s diagnosis from the doctor was? Of course you would. So find out.
Would all of your child’s medical physicians be happy to provide you with your child’s medical diagnosis? Of course they would. No problem whatsoever.
So what’s the hang up over here with your mental health care professionals? It’s your right to know what’s wrong with your child… and you… your a patient of this mental health provider too. You are a patient too, what’s your diagnosis?
Bad parenting? Okay, specifically what type of “bad parenting” – the Parenting Practices Rating Scale.
Standards of professional practice. Basic foundational standards of professional practice.
Assessment leads to diagnosis, and diagnosis guides treatment.
So what is your diagnosis? (and how did you reach it will be the next question; assessment).
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857