Only Words – DSMIV vs Team America


From a colleague on a listserve I am on:

We just had a visit from an editor of the Brit J of Psychiatry who is something of “expert” on so-called personality disorders.  He was claiming that although the research on the existence of the various disorder was poor, there was some empirical support for the clustering.  As you may recall the DSM clusters personality disorders into 3 clusters – as I recall cluster A being the ‘schizoid’, the ‘schizotypal’ etc., folk who are a tad out of touch with the sensitivities of those around them.  Then there is cluster B, which is the ‘Borderline’ and the anti-social etc, folk who go round shitting on others.  Then there is cluster C, which are avoidant and anxious types, who mostly just want to get along with others but are a bit wet.  These are my descriptors, but they are what came to mind as he droned his way through his powerpoint on personality disorder.  I began to chuckle to myself as it occurred to me that he was describing the same 3 clusters that are described in the puppet movie ‘Team America’.  If you have seen that movie there is a lovely scene where they describe the 3 types of people in the world – dicks, assholes, and pussies, and how they interact with each other.  I have found that many folk I have interacted with have related better to the Team America descriptors of personality than the DSMs.

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