Labels are not innocent

One of the most frequent issues I come across in discussions on mental health, psychiatry or psychology is the issue of labels. From references to patients who can become clients or service users, through labels of mental illnesses, to the latest calls to change the names psychotropic medication. I tend to react with scepticism to such calls, more often than not with negative reactions to my scepticism. And here I would like to account more fully, why I tend to reject the calls to change labels.

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Do we still debate?

Some time ago I was at a lecture, listening to a speaker talk about his work. In parts it did, in parts it didn’t make sense in my view. The speaker ended, I decided to ask a question which, even though ‘probing’, was also polite and certainly not aggressive. The speaker got quite defensive. Later I was told the speaker was complaining about the audience (me) which was apparently quite tough (i.e. critical). I reflected on it for about two seconds and decided, no, the problem is not with my question, the problem is with the speaker.

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