Clinical mental health and personal responsibility: A critique of the disease model


David L. Monk*

Clinical mental health counselors assess, diagnose, and treat a wide range of mental and social disorders. The disease model, wed to the DSM-5, is the professional standard across mental health sectors. This model is effective in addressing mental disorders that are definitively diagnosed. However, there is a neglect of the social determinants of what are defined as mental illness. Sociological social psychology contributes to our understanding of the social factors related to mental disorders. The disease model is limited to the medicalization and treatment of mental illness. This model can serve as a mechanism that disavows individuals from “personal responsibility.” The distinction between mental disorders and personal responsibility must be clearly delineated.

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