What is – “What is?”


By David Joel Miller.

Sometimes words don’t mean the same thing to all of us.

What is? Series

What is?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The fields of counseling, therapy and psychiatry all have some common interests but we don’t always use the same words to describe the same thing. Add in related disciplines like psychology, substance abuse counseling, self-help and life coaching and the field has become a veritable tower of babble.

If you are struggling with, or in recovery from, a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder or if you have a problem with drugs and alcohol you may wonder what the words you hear mean. Many of the people who arrive at the counselorssoapbox.com blog have used a search term looking for information or trying to find out what a particular disorder or treatment word means.

Students in the classes I teach and sometimes the interns also, appear to grasp the concept but then come time for the test and they miss things I thought they knew. Recently I have gone to ending many nights class with a slide about the words, possibly new words, that were used in that nights lesson.

It occurred to me that it might be helpful to explain some of the terms that professionals, researchers, self-help writers and recovering people use. As time permits there will be posts about all these and other topics.

Not everyone agrees on the definitions of these terms. Some of the labels we use come from the American Psychological Associations book Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM.) The most recent version of this book is the DSM-5. Another sources of labels used in the mental health and related fields is the World Health Organizations International Classification of Diseases. The most recent edition of this would be the ICD-10. The ICD-11 will be on the scene soon.

Descriptions of terms that will be in this counselorssoapbox.com What is—group of posts will be my “plain language” versions of these ideas.

The plan to describe and discuss things from the simplest possible perspective so I will paraphrase or use metaphors to explain what I am talking about. For the full text that defines mental illness see the appropriate manual.

Writing all these posts will take me some time but then you were expecting that weren’t you? This group of posts will not necessarily be in alphabetic or any other particular order. I write them as the muse strikes.

As always, comments are welcome, some end up being the basis for future posts. Remember there is only one of me and that I write during that rare period known as “spare time” therefore some comments will get faster replies than others. My goal is to respond to all of you eventually.

If you made it to here, thanks so much for being such a dedicated reader.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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