Saturday, May 12, 2007

Social Anxiety Research Protocol Approved

Entry for 8 May 2007 (written 12 May):

After all my concerns about the Social Anxiety research project ethics proposal being put off until June or turned down, it turns out to have pretty much sailed through the University Ethics Committee, with only minor revisions needed. This startled me with its suddenness; now, we will be ready to start recruiting clients at least 6 weeks sooner than anticipated. Brian Rodgers has now been hired into the Researcher position for the Research Clinic, so he and met for a while last Wednesday, readying the next protocol for submission (the Practice-Based Research Protocol), and planning our next steps to get the Social Anxiety study off the ground.

The Social Anxiety Study Group was very pleased to hear this news, and it appears that we have entered a new phase of our work: preparing to start recruiting and screening clients. Suddenly, we are immersed in the ADIS and the PDQ-4, bastions of psychiatric/mainstream psychological research. I keep waiting for my intrepid band of co-researchers to rise up in rebellion at the horror of this much medical model/positivist discourse, but we keep bravely soldiering on, in the Heart of Darkness (or is it the Dark Side of the Force?). I myself have marched this far into Enemy territory before and returned with my soul, but few of them have, so they have to take it on faith that I am not Leading Them Astray.

Every so often, Tracey or someone will say, “Now, this is so our research will be able to stand up under scrutiny from the powers that be, right?”, so that I can reassure her that, yes, there is a Very Good Reason for learning about DSM-IV and diagnostic interviewing. I keep telling them that they will not fully appreciate just how bad psychiatric diagnostic practices are and how much the whole thing is a political/social construction until they have had the lived experience of learning to use one of these structured diagnostic interviews. Of course, it also true that these diagnostic interview schedules are as good as psychiatric diagnosis gets; ordinary diagnostic practice is generally much worse, in terms of being done hastily and without due consideration of the full range of possibilities.

But in the meantime, there is much to be done!

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