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J Fam Psychol. 2006 Sep;20(3):428-31.

Relational diagnosis--a brief historical overview: comment on the special section.

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Florida Couples and Family Institute, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418, USA.


Various mental health disciplines have attempted to bring the significance of relational interaction and dysfunction to the attention of the entire field. Over the past 20 years, these efforts have been initiated and developed both independently and collaboratively, and although progress has been made, results have been incremental and insufficient. The inclusion of the Global Assessment of Relational Functioning (GARF) as an option on Axis IV of the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) was a milestone but fell short of recognition as a major disorder on Axis I. This article summarizes and provides a background for the historical efforts that have occurred and suggests possibilities for greater prominence of relational disorders in DSM-V. Renewed interest by coalitions of researchers and practitioners in recent years indicates a positive prognosis for greater acceptance of a classification of couple and family dysfunction in the mental health professions.

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