Étudiante-chercheure étoile December 2014

Bassam El-Khoury

Bassam El-Khoury

Postdoctoral student in Psychology
McGill University and Harvard University

Award winning publication: The DSM: mindful science or mindless power? A critical review


Published in: Frontiers in Psychology for clinical settings, June 17, 2014



"This article critiques the excess power attributed to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health (DSM). It highlights the impact of the DSM's overuse on individuals who are assigned diagnostic labels and on society as a whole. The research demonstrates how the manual has become a tool to create social differences and maintain authority over the individuals who are labelled "mentally ill" and sets out alternative perspectives, such as the use of descriptors of psychological difficulties rather than labels. The fact that the article has been downloaded over 1 000 times since its publication a few months ago attests to its impact."

The article is a step in Bassam El-Khoury's postdoctoral research, which aims to broaden the use of the social cognitive theory of mindfulness to several areas, including the clinical, social and cognitive fields, and demonstrate the benefits of automatically processing information. By emphasizing the need to consider an individual's resilience rather than focus on his or her difficulties, the article recommends the integration of positive psychology and mindfulness—an approach that requires proper training for clinicians. The application of the recommendations will help improve the lives of those affected and may change their perspectives on themselves and their relationships with treatment staff.