Pine Tree Counselling
Trudi Jane Wyatt, MA, CT, CCC

Counselling services for individual men and women in Calgary, Alberta.

verified by Psychology Today


Phone: 403.270.2386**
Emergencies 911

350 7 Ave SW, Calgary, T2P3N9


For telehealth:

  • A study in the journal “Psychological Services” concluding that “There was sufficient evidence to support VTC and telephone-delivered interventions for mental health conditions”:

Regarding Diverse Views of the Nature of Mental Health Issues

(While these issues are definitely important and distressing, and deserve to be approached with compassion, there is debate and view diversity regarding whether the concept of “disorder” is fitting or not, because there might not necessarily be something “wrong” happening, you might just be facing some challenges and aren’t quite sure how to get through them on your own.)

  • The “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition” (“DSM-5”, 2013), which is the book that clinicians who diagnose people with “mental disorders” reference in the “formal assessment process”, the book that in its earlier versions included homosexuality as a “disorder,” but then it was “voted out”, and the book that “eliminated Asperger’s syndrome” and merged with with Autism, states:

“The boundaries between normality and pathology vary across cultures for specific types of behaviors. Thresholds of tolerance for specific symptoms or behaviors differ across cultures, social settings, and families. Hence, the level at which an experience becomes problematic or pathological will differ. The judgment that a given behavior is abnormal and requires clinical attention depends on cultural norms that are internalized by the individual and applied by others around them, including family members and clinicians.” [I made the font bold, it is not bold in the book.] Whereas for a medical diagnosis like diabetes, there is no cultural variation or judgment — there are objective physiological tests, and your body either has this issue, or it does not, regardless of what your culture, social setting, or family thinks.

“Until incontrovertible etiological or pathophysiological mechanisms are identified to fully validate specific disorders or disorder spectra…” That is, such mechanisms are not yet identified, so the “disorders” are not fully validated.

“In short, we have come to recognize that the boundaries between disorders are more porous than originally perceived.” An implication being, if you are “diagnosed” with one “disorder” by one professional, another professional might say you have a different one. This is a problem of “reliability” in scientific terms.

  • The British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology published a leaflet entitled “Understanding psychiatric diagnosis in adult mental health” that is written in Q&A format. It starts off by explaining that, “There are many different opinions about psychiatric diagnosis in adult mental health, just as there are many different ways of thinking about distressing or unusual experiences. The aim of this leaflet is to help you to think about diagnosis and whether other kinds of explanation make more sense and give a better understanding of you as an individual. Whatever your viewpoint on diagnosis, all of us can experience very real distress and difficult circumstances, which can significantly disrupt our lives.”

  • One of the main texts of one of the main approaches to counselling/psychotherapy today called “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” describes that*:

“Given the extraordinary attention lavished on the abnormality model within psychology and psychiatry, it is surprising to note that virtually no progress has been made in establishing mental health syndromes as legitimate disease entities (Kupfer, First, & Regier, 2002). After relating the well-worn and dated example of general paresis, there are virtually no other success stories to tell. Unfortunately, this lack of success does not keep scientists from insisting that these psychological syndromes will soon represent discrete disease entities… The ‘comorbidity’ rates among disorders are so high as to challenge the basic definitional integrity of the entire system… The system dismisses key forms of suffering (relationship problems, existential crises, behavioural addictions, and so on), and even its advocates agree that at times it seems to pathologize such normal processes of living as grief, fear, or sadness (Kupfer et al., 2002).”

*Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, 2nd Ed. (Hayes, S.C., Strosahl, K.D., & Wilson, K.G., 2012), pp.7-8 in section entitled, “The Myth of Psychiatric Disease”.

  • A study in the journal “Psychiatry Research” about which “Lead researcher Dr Kate Allsopp, University of Liverpool, said: ‘Although diagnostic labels create the illusion of an explanation they are scientifically meaningless and can create stigma and prejudice. I hope these findings will encourage mental health professionals to think beyond diagnoses and consider other explanations of mental distress, such as trauma and other adverse life experiences.'”:

This page is for information only, and is not advice of any kind (e.g., it is not medical advice — please consult with your physician if you require medical advice such as regarding any medication you are taking, as it can be dangerous to make any changes to these without medical supervision). It is neither counselling nor counselling therapy and implies neither an intent to provide professional services to readers nor that a professional relationship has been established with readers. If you need counselling services, please contact me or another counsellor; if you need psychological services, please contact a psychologist. If urgent support is needed, calling Calgary Distress Centre at 403.266.4357 is an option. For emergencies, consider calling 911 or going to your local Emergency Room. Current adult residents of the Canadian province of Alberta are the only intended audience of this page.

Pine Tree Counselling / Trudi Jane Wyatt, MA, CT, CCC © 2021