APA President-Elect: Ablow’s Comments Are “Misleading,” “Inaccurate,” And “Potentially Harmful”
May 23, 2012 1:55 pm ET by Carlos Maza
Fox News’ anti-LGBT pop-psychologist Dr. Keith Ablow is once again being criticized for peddling pseudoscientific misinformation, this time by the president-elect of the most prominent professional psychiatric organization in the country – the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
Last week, Ablow published a column on FoxNews.com attacking the APA for repeatedly revising its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and accused the organization of caving to special interest groups. Ablow also criticized the APA for declassifying “Ego-Dystonic Homosexuality” (EDH) as a mental illness, a position typically held by proponents of “ex-gay” therapy.
On Tuesday, Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, president-elect of the APA, posted a response to Ablow’s column, calling his comments “inaccurate” and “potentially harmful”:
In his article, Ablow made comments about the APA and DSM-V, which I believe are inaccurate and unsubstantiated by scientific evidence. Moreover, they are misleading to the public and potentially harmful in that by undermining the credibility of the psychiatric profession and its scientific underpinnings. They may even deter people in need from seeking treatment.
For this reason, I offer the following comments in response. I believe that I am qualified to do so as Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the President Elect of the APA.
Many of the changes that are being proposed for this new edition were done to better characterize symptoms and behaviors of groups of people who are currently seeking clinical help but are less well-defined under the guidelines of the current DSM-IV edition. The hope is that by more accurately defining disorders, diagnosis and clinical care will be improved and new research will be facilitated to help improve our understanding.
The APA recognizes the importance not only of the document, but of the process for creating it and takes this responsibility with the utmost seriousness and as a sacred trust. Contrary to Ablow’s comments, the process for revision is not arbitrary and not politicized. [emphasis added]
This isn’t the first time Ablow has been chastised by mainstream medical organizations for promoting inaccurate medical information. Last year, he was lambasted for asserting that watching Chaz Bono on Dancing with the Stars might cause children to identify as transgender. APA distinguished fellow Dr. Jack Drescher criticized him for presenting viewers with opinions and “scare tactics” instead of “accurate scientific knowledge.” Dr. John Grohol, founder of PsychCentral, echoed Drescher’s comments, adding that Ablow was attempting to promote his “personal opinion” without a “shred of scientific evidence” to support it.
Ablow has already parted ways with the APA, so there’s not much the organization can do to stop him from trying to pass off his unsubstantiated rants as “expert” medical opinion.
The real question now is if and when Fox will finally decide to part ways with a discredited psychiatrist who’s been repeatedly condemned by the biggest professional organization of psychiatrists in the country.