RIP Robert Spitzer MD who upgraded DSM’s into the future

The person most responsible for DSM’s leap into the mainstream passed away last week? His name was Robert Spitzer and I’ve run across three articles about his life and work.

When he tweaked DSMIII, he removed same sex orientation as a basis for a diagnosis. Gay rights speakers claim that if it hadn’t been for Dr. Spitzer, there would be no gay marriage today.

His work on DSMIII was a total departure from  overreliance on the unreliable: the wide spectrum of Freudian authority. With the updates of and additions to DSM3, the new framework for diagnostics was based on  a ‘checklist’ of symptoms. While not perfect, it is more accurate and leaves less territory wide open for speculation.

While my psychiatrist of fifteen years is a bit of a Freudian doc, many psychiatrists in the 70’s were frustrated with Freudian theory and the idea that someone had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to lie on a couch and speak to a silent psychoanalyst for years on end.