Diagnosing Neurotic Disorders

  • Martin Mayman
  • Jennifer Cole


Among mental health practitioners, it is generally assumed that sound clinical work rests squarely on sound diagnostic assessment. This has long been a truism in all medical specialties. It was virtually the be-all and end-all of psychiatry during the last century and the beginning of this century. More recently, especially among nonmedical practitioners, the art of differential diagnosis is no longer so highly revered. Attaching a diagnostic label to a set of presenting symptoms or to a prevailing character style which a patient manifests initially in his work with a therapist has been reduced in many clinical settings to the status of an annoying bureaucratic requirement. There are some clinicians, most notably Karl Menninger (Menninger, Mayman, & Pruyser, 1963), who have spoken out forcefully and eloquently against the dangers inherent in diagnostic labeling, which too often becomes a subtle form of pejorative, dehumanizing rejection of the patient because of his illness.


Object World Diagnostic Label Neurotic Disorder Phobic Symptom Conversion Symptom 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Mayman
    • 1
  • Jennifer Cole
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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