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date: 01 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes the traditional view of clinical psychology as a discipline and profession that is steeped in an “illness ideology.” This illness ideology has roots in clinical psychology's early connections with psychiatry and medicine and limits clinical psychology to the study of what is worst and weakest about people rather than what is best and bravest about people. The historical, cultural, and professional causes of this ideology are discussed, with an emphasis on the social construction and deconstruction of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as the manifestation of the illness ideology that has the greatest detrimental influence on clinical psychology. The chapter also proposes that the illness ideology be replaced with a positive psychology ideology that emphasizes well-being, satisfaction, happiness, interpersonal skills, perseverance, talent, wisdom, personal responsibility, and what makes life worth living.

Keywords: diagnostic categories, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, dimensional models of psychopathology, illness ideology, social construction of mental disorder

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