The Paradigm of Pathologization: a Critique




Dunn, Danny
Terrizzi, John

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The process of pathologization defines a diagnostic category by specifying diagnostic criteria and core features of the diagnosed population. This process is conducted by human beings, and is informed by their socio- political and historical context as well as the scientific paradigm through which they conduct research and draw conclusions. The current paradigm of pathologized research rests on the foundational assumptions that the pathologizing characteristics of a diagnostic category stem from within the pathologized individual in question, and that the goal of helping these pathologized populations can only be attained through reducing their pathological features and symptoms. These assumptions have led to a deeply unproductive body of research on pathologized populations, and in order to truly provide the help we purport to offer, we must undergo a paradigm shift. This will mean altering the research landscape in the questions we ask, the studies we conduct, and the practice of applied psychology. (Faculty Sponsor: Dr. John Terrizzi)