July 25, 2011 — B4U-ACT has sent an open letter to the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) notifying the organization of the inaccuracies and misleading information contained in the current draft of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), currently under revision.
The letter requests the establishment of a working relationship between B4U-ACT and the APA’s work group in charge of revising the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia. B4U-ACT is a 501(c)(3) organization that promotes dialog between mental health professionals and people with a sexual attraction to children or adolescents.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is the authoritative publication of the psychological sciences that provides the profession’s descriptions of mental disorders and their symptoms.
“The current revision of the DSM is full of inaccurate and misleading information on people who are attracted to children or adolescents,” said Howard Kline, science director of B4U-ACT. “It is based on data from prison studies, which completely ignore the existence of those who are law-abiding. The proposed new diagnostic criteria specify ages and frequencies with no scientific basis whatsoever. The DSM should meet a higher standard than that. We can help them, because we are the people they are writing about.”
Co-founder and chair of the B4U-ACT board, Russell Dick, a licensed social worker with 38 years of experience working with people who are attracted to minors said, “People with this attraction struggle to lead lives consistent with society’s rules. If we want them to succeed, we need to give them a reasonable level of support by providing them with welcoming, informed, and empathetic mental health services. The current revision of the DSM hinders that goal.”
Richard Kramer, director of operations for B4U-ACT, added, “Inaccurate negative stereotypes perpetuated by the DSM force people into hiding, leave young adolescents who are attracted to children hopeless with nowhere to turn, and do nothing to protect children. We have tried every available avenue to get the work group to meet with us and begin addressing this problem. We had a conference call with them last June, where it was apparent that they did not understand the stigmatic effects of the DSM. They then reneged on their promise of follow-up communication. Consequently, our only recourse is to go over their heads to the Board of Trustees of the APA itself.”
B4U-ACT is holding a symposium on pedophilia and the DSM in Baltimore on August 17. One of the ways it suggests the APA work group could start working with them is to send a representative to speak at the symposium. The work group has ignored the invitation.