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The diagnostic and statistical manual: sacred text for a secular community?

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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the most widely used diagnostic system by mental health professionals in North America. It provides a shared language and paradigm by which practitioners view clients. Can it be argued that the DSM represents a sacred text and defines a worldview for an identifiable community of mental health professionals? In what ways is the relationship between this community and document similar to and different from the relationships that explicitly religious communities maintain with their sacred texts?
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Keywords: diagnosis; mental illness; religion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Loyola University Maryland, Pastoral Counseling, 8890 McGaw Road, Columbia, 21045, USA

Publication date: February 7, 2014

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