Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, LMSW

Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, LMSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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DSM-V Changes: What You Can Do Now

Last week, we posted about two social workers who were voicing their opposition to the DSM-5, which is slated for release this month. Our readers were thrilled to see social workers becoming a part of the debate, and the post had a positive response overall. However, many were concerned about the irrelevance of the Open Letter to the DSM-V Task Force and APA regarding opposition to the changes now that the comment period has passed and release is so soon at hand.  Luckily, one of the social workers cited, Dr. Jack Carney, found our post and shared with us what social workers can do now. Please see his comment below:

“Thanks for writing about this and drawing attention to social workers’ acquiescence to, or as John Read has termed it, “colonization” by, the APA and the DSM. What folks can do now is:

1. sign on to our Boycott DSM-5 Statement, which Joanne and I were instrumental in drafting —

2. sign on as a friend of the Boycott on our FB page —

3. read the articles posted on our info website —

Additional articles by me about the DSM and other issues can be accessed at

Thanks again. Jack Carney”

Some might argue that boycotting the DSM might be a professional death sentence, especially if one focuses more on the clinical side of social work and or is newer to the field. This is an understandable concern depending on the situation. However, social media makes it easy to support something ‘incognito’. It is the mentality that “opposition to something must stop once something is approved” which limits our ability as humans and professionals to make changes.  Social workers are committed to not practicing in this way, in fact it is part of our Code of Ethics to fight this very fight. It is part of our profession to stand up for the rights of our clients and get involved with the higher level policies etc. that define how, when, and in what way we address their needs, concerns, and treatment plans. That is precisely what makes social work unique and necessary in modern society.

If people always gave up with the passage of a bill or, in this case, the DSM-V the concepts of social justice and advocacy would simply not exist. So, even if you do not want to boycott the DSM, don’t just sit back and watch as organizational, structural, political, and ‘textbook’ changes are made which influence our ability to practice ethically with our clients. Raise your voice!

Written By Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer

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