Dr James Davies BA. MSc. MA. D.Phil. : The Origins of the DSM

“Psychiatry under the dominance of the biomedical model over the last 40 years has wrongly medicalized increasing numbers of people in contemporary Society so apparently one in four of us now suffers from a mental health disorder in any given year and I’m going to argue that this figure is so startlingly high because Psychiatry has simply renamed more and more of our natural and normal or be it painful human experiences as indicating psychiatric conditions that often times require some kind of psychopharmaceutical intervention so by reclassifying normality as abnormality Psychiatry has helped create the illusion of a psychiatric epidemic I’m not suggesting the suffering itself is lesser but our tendency to see that suffering as psychiatric in nature now at the heart of this illusion I’m going to argue sits a book called the DSM the diagnostic and statistical Manual of mental disorders the book that includes all of the mental disorders that Psychiatry believes to exist, now the interesting thing about this book is that it has expanded at a faster rate than almost any other medical manual in history so for example in the 1960 s it included around 106 disorders whereas today it includes around 370….” (Sep 30, 2015)

James Davies is an Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology and Psychology, teaching in the schools of Life & Health Sciences and Psychology. He obtained his doctorate in social and medical anthropology from the University of Oxford and is also a qualified psychotherapist. He has practiced as a psychotherapist in various settings including the NHS.

He is co-founder of the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry, and secretariat and founding member of the Beyond Pills All-Party Parliamentary Group.

He has also written four books:

Davies J (2021) Sedated: how modern capitalism created out mental health crisis. London: Atlantic Books

Davies, J. (2013) Cracked: why psychiatry is doing more harm than good. London: Icon Books.

Davies, J (2009) The Importance of Suffering: the value and meaning of emotional discontent. London: Routledge.

Davies, J (2009) The Making of Psychotherapists: an anthropological analysis. London: Routledge