Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 65 Issue 4 (December 1992), Pages 305-399

Defining delusion and the serving of professional interests: The case of ‘paranoia’ (pages 357-369)

This paper examines the related concepts of paranoia and delusion from a broadly social constructionist perspective. Through an analysis of the American Psychiatric Association's (1987) definition of delusion, inherent inconsistencies and implied philosophical assumptions are highlighted. It is argued that psychiatric definitions are not merely academic and clinical but are a site of political and professional interest. The implications of such an analysis are discussed with particular reference to developing new directions for research and clinical practice.

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