Diagnosing and treating childhood

Psychiatrist Edward Hume has created uploaded a spoof paper on the the ‘etiology and treatment of childhood’, satirising the growing enthusiasm for diagnosing children with psychiatric disorders.

The paper was written by Jordan Smoller and published in the humorous book called Oral sadism and the vegetarian personality (ISBN 0345347005).

Childhood is a syndrome which has only recently begun to receive serious attention from clinicians. The syndrome itself, however, is not at all recent. As early as the 8th century, the Persian historian Kidnom made references to “short, noisy creatures,” who may well have been what we now call “children.” The treatment of children, however, was unknown until this century, when so-called “child psychologists” and “child psychiatrists” became common. Despite this history of clinical neglect, it has been estimated that well over half of all Americans alive today have experienced childhood directly (Suess, 1983). In fact, the actual numbers are probably much higher, since these data are based on self-reports which may be subject to social desirability biases and retrospective distortion.

Link to spoof paper (thanks for the correction Blar!).

4 thoughts on “Diagnosing and treating childhood”

  1. I got a photocopy of Hume’s paper back when I was in grad school, fifteen or so years ago. Apparently things haven’t changed much in the field of child psychology. It’s definitely still funny.

  2. The article on childhood was written by Jordan Smoller, not Hume. It was published as a book chapter. The citation:
    Smoller, J. W. (1987). The etiology and treatment of childhood. In G. C. Ellenborgen (Ed.), Oral sadism and the vegetarian personality (pp. 3-11). New York: Ballantine Books.

  3. Many thanks for this – it was a delight and I picked it up (with acknowledgement of source) this morning on the blog.
    This particular syndrome can extend to adult practice. You might like this

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