TUESDAY, 13 MARCH 2012
A statement from the ISPS today reveals that the society has voted to remove the word ‘schizophrenia’ from its title due to the term being deemed ‘unscientific and stigmatizing’:
Members of the International Society for the Psychological Treatments of the Schizophrenias and Other Psychoses (www.isps.org) have just voted, by an overwhelming majority, to change the society’s name to the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis. The new logo and letterhead are to be adopted by the end of March.
The change comes at a time when the scientific validity of the term schizophrenia is being hotly debated in the lead up to the publication of the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (see http://dxrevisionwatch.wordpress.com).
ISPS promotes psychological treatments for persons who experience psychosis (eg hallucinations and delusions), and greater understanding of the psychological and social causes of psychosis. Founded in 1956, ISPS now has branches in 19 countries, has its own scientific journal, Psychosis (www.tandf.co.uk/journals/rpsy) and has published 13 books in the last decade. Members include psychiatrists, psychologists, psychoanalysts, nurses, occupational therapists, family therapists and academic researchers, as well as users of mental health services and family members.
In debates preceding the vote the two primary reasons put forward in favour of the change were that the term ‘schizophrenia’ is unscientific and stigmatizing. It was pointed out that the construct has little or no reliability (the extent to which experts can agree on who meets criteria for a diagnosis) or validity (the construct’s ability to predict things like prognosis or treatment responsivity). Research has also repeatedly found that ‘schizophrenia’ is one of the most stigmatizing of all psychiatric labels, and promotes unwarranted pessimism about recovery because of the implication that people with this diagnosis suffer from an irreversible ‘brain disease’.
ISPS Chair person Dr Brian Martindale (a British psychiatrist and psychotherapist) said:
“This significant change reflects the ISPS’s determination to persuade mental heath services to provide high quality psychological interventions for users and families when psychosis is involved. We need to move on from the stigmatising and false idea that schizophrenia is a single identifiable biologically determined ‘disease’.
ISPS is not the first to take this step. For example, the Schizophrenia Fellowship has changed its name, to Rethink Mental Illness in the UK and to Supporting Families in New Zealand. for similar reasons. In 2002 the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology abandoned their equivalent of ‘schizophrenia’ Seishin Bunretsu Byo (‘mind-split-disease’) to encompass recent advances in psychosis research, and reduce the stigma associated with the old schizophrenia diagnosis.”