An important distinction (the difference between labeling and diagnosing) articulated very clearly.


I’ve just told her that I think she’s clinically depressed.

She frowns.

“Don’t label me,” she says.

“I’m not.  I’m diagnosing you,” I say.

“It’s the same thing.”

No, it’s not.

We label people.  We diagnose problems.

Labels are judgments, inaccurate and hurtful because they tend to oversimplify and stigmatize.

A diagnosis, though, is an explanation.  It explicates something that needs correction or repair.

And when it’s accurate, it points us in the right direction.

Discarding diagnosis because we confuse it with labeling is like ignoring the road map we need to get where we want to go.

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