Christopher Johnson, Psy.D., is a 2018 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England
- Roger L. Peterson, PhD, ABPP, Committee Chair
- Lorraine Mangione, Ph.D., Committee Member
E. Porter Eagan, PsyD, Committee Member
Diagnosis, Depression, Social Constructionism
Modern scientific psychology continues to advance toward newer and greater discoveries of the inner workings of the human mind, posited in the belief that a universal objectivity exists if only to be found. Despite the professional emphasis on conducting psychological enterprises in this manner, the field has spent much of its formalized existence struggling to answer some of its most basic questions. This paper thoroughly explores the nature of a scientific psychology, while suggesting that psychology may find wisdom in its philosophical origins. It further suggests that psychology continue toward a postmodern epistemology, in which a unitary psychological reality is abandoned for the realties that exist within the minds of unique individuals. Social constructionism provides the foundation for the postmodern theory throughout the paper. To highlight the character of this discussion, the concept of diagnosis is carefully examined, with the diagnosis of depression serving as the chief example. In the context of this conversation, research was conducted that attempts to explore the contemporary epistemological and diagnostic beliefs of both beginning and advanced clinicians. This research included the use of an online survey that asked current clinical and counseling psychologists about their views regarding the diagnosis of depression, and the practice of diagnosis more generally. Current doctoral students in clinical and counseling psychology programs were also surveyed, to observe chronological changes in perspective.
Johnson, C. M. (2018). Philosophical Ends to Scientific Means: Diagnosis and the Epistemology of Psychology. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/454