Skip to Navigation

A diagnosis is an opinion formed and delivered by a competent professional. It can provide valuable information about a known condition or circumstance. It might also imply a course of action or treatment. So far so good.

But a diagnosis is also a judgement, a label, and, in a worst-case scenario, a prediction (which might be about a happy outcome, but often isn’t). As far as it goes, diagnosis is a valuable tool, but there are serious side-effects that might not always be considered.

In my therapy practice, I don’t give names to the situations and complaints my clients bring into the room. When we have to name something, for convenience, more often than not it’ll be in the language the client uses. If they bring a diagnostic label with them, I think it’s important to use it as a starting point for a discussion, and no more.

6 Reasons to be Wary of a Diagnosis

  1. When something is labelled it often happens that people see only the label and act as they think fit, without realising that they are confusing the label (a set of symptoms of a circumstance), with the thing being labelled, (a person or group of people).
  2. A diagnosis is a judgement, and it has said that judgements make us partially blind (to other possibilities, for example)
  3. It can be a relief having a clear diagnosis, but it can also be frightening. The person communicating the diagnosis has to be very careful about understanding what the diagnosis means to the recipient
  4. Such labels can be very powerful. Even if the real consequences of the condition are relatively minor and the prognosis is good, the impact on the recipient (or family members) can still have negative consequences
  5. A diagnosis often has implications that set the recipient apart – normal vs abnormal, for example. This can eclipse what is fully functioning and normal about them, just at the time when they need such resources most
  6. The diagnosis is still only someone’s opinion. Many diagnoses lack any scientific foundation, even though they are usually presented as if they have the weight of proof behind them.
 

What do you think? Share your thoughts...

Latest from the blog

The Last Day of Something, Is the First of Something New

Today may be a significant day. Even if it isn’t, for you, it could be made into one.

You don’t have to be a philosopher to think about what’s important to you, and there are more opportunities to do that than you might think.

Continue reading

Have a Chewbacca Moment, It’s Friday!

It’s Friday, a day for Love. (The name Friday comes from the Old English Frīġedæġ, meaning the “day of Frige”, a result of an old convention associating the Old English goddess Frigg with the Roman goddess Venus – Wikipedia). It may be a tenuous link, but I needed to find a way of sharing Candace […]

Continue reading

Power Labels and Cop-Outs

When someone says, “It’s a power thing”, or “Power corrupts”… they are not providing a useful summary, they are telling you that they haven’t thought it through and are not likely to.

Continue reading
FREE DOWNLOAD - Get it now.

How to be more Resilient

Get my super-helpful guide '9 Steps to Resilience' absolutely FREE, when you subscribe to my newsletter.

Understand the steps to resilience and you can develop the ability to cope with problems and setbacks with less stress and more confidence.
close-link
%d bloggers like this: