The DSM-5

Proposed Changes, Controversies, and Implications for the Future of Clinical Practice

Co-Sponsored by NYC NASW
October 12, 2012
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Kimmel Center for University Life
60 Washington Square South
New York, New York


The fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is scheduled to be published in May 2013. The standard for the field, the manual shapes treatment, diagnosis, and insurance decisions. The proposed changes have stirred up controversy as they broaden some diagnostic categories and create new disorders in other areas. Over 150 people attend the conference, which reviewed the changes currently being proposed to diagnostic criteria and categories of disorder in the DSM-5. The speakers discussed the possible motivations and rationale behind the proposed alterations, the controversies that have arisen due to these propositions, the broader intellectual issues that are at stake in these controversies, and how the new edition might affect future psychiatric diagnosis and clinical practice.

Dr. Tazuko Shibusawa, associate professor of social work; associate dean, professional programs; and director, MSW program welcomed the group on behalf of Silver School of Social Work Dean Lynn Videka.

On behalf of co-sponsor NYC NASW, Dr. Robert Schachter, executive director of the New York City Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and Dr. Martha Sullivan, president of the NYC Chapter of the NASW, welcomed the group.

The conference was comprised of two parts. The morning portion included an overview of the history of and proposed changes to DSM-5 as well as an in-depth analysis of select specific examples, presented by Dr. Jerome Wakefield. The afternoon portion featured a review of proposed changes to specific aspects of DSM-5 and their potential implications for the corresponding areas of clinical practice. The second panel addressed what DSM 5 will mean for the field of mental health and specifically for the profession of social work.


Tazuko Shibusawa and Martha Sullivan

History of DSM; Current Changes to DSM; Evolution of the Process; and Controversies and Responses and Q&A
Jerome Wakefield

Focus On Impact of the DSM-5: Implications in Mood Disorder, Grief, and Bereavement and Q&A
Jerome Wakefield

Changes in Diagnostic Categories and Q&A
Facilitated by Martha Gabriel
Personality Disorders - Brian Koehler
Autism Spectrum Disorders - Denis O' Keefe
Trauma Disorders - Carol Tosone
Substance Use Disorders - Shulamith Lala Straussner

Potential Impact on Social Work and Q&A
Facilitated by Diane Grodney
What Changes Mean for the Profession - John Carney
Cultural Aspects - Martha Sullivan
Implications for Agency Work - Stella Pappas
Implications for Private Practice - Carol Tosone

Closing Remarks
Martha Gabriel

About the Speakers

  • John Carney, DSW, LCSW; Private Practitioner; Consultant; Trainer; Blogger (
  • Martha Gabriel, MSW, PhD; Associate Professor of Social Work, NYU Silver School of Social Work
  • Diane Grodney, LCSW, PhD, MS; Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work, NYU Silver School of Social Work
  • Brian Koehler, MS, PhD; Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychology (Adjunct), NYU Silver School of Social Work
  • Denis O'Keefe, LCSW; Private Practitioner; Consultant; President, International Psychohistorical Association; Adjunct Lecturer, New York University Silver School of Social Work; Adjunct Lecturer of History, SUNY-RCC
  • Stella V. Pappas, LCSW-R, ACSW; Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Institute for Community Living
  • Tazuko Shibusawa, MSW, PhD; Associate Professor of Social Work; Associate Dean, Professional Programs; Director, MSW Program
  • Shulamith Lala Straussner, DSW, LCSW; Professor of Social Work, NYU Silver School of Social Work
  • Martha Sullivan, DSW, President, NYC NASW; Executive Director, Fordham-Tremont CMHC
  • Carol Tosone, MS, PhD; Associate Professor of Social Work, NYU Silver School of Social Work
  • Jerome Wakefield, MSW, MA, PhD, DSW, LCSW; University Professor, Professor of Social Work, NYU Silver School of Social Work; Professor of Conceptual Foundations of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine; Affiliate Faculty, NYU Bioethics Program

Highlight of Remarks by Dr. Wakefield:

In published journal articles, University Professor Jerome Wakefield has questioned many aspects of the proposals. He argues that clinical depression will be defined too broadly and will encompass normal sadness, such as sadness during bereavement. A high sex drive will now become hypersexual disorder, and anger outbursts could fall under intermittent explosive disorder. Any negative personality trait will be inflatable into a personality disorder. Wakefield argues that not every problem outside the existing criteria should be expanded into its own disorder category, pathologizing an entire segment of the population in the process. The manual revisions will affect the lives of millions of Americans for years to come. The changes have the potential to increase diagnoses and drug prescriptions and, ultimately, alter the way people think about themselves.

NYU Silver School of Social Work will present a follow-up event after the publication of the DSM-5 titled: DSM-5: Changes, Controversies and Impact on Clinical Practice, on October 4, 2013.