The BOAM system is a diagnostic system. It was developed in response to the limitations of the DSM system. The DSM, is the classification system for mental disorders in mental health services. (Examples of DSM diagnoses are: autism, borderline, anxiety disorder, etc.) DSM diagnoses form the basis for treatment in the mental health services. The limitations of the DSM system are both in the imaging quality of the diagnoses themselves, and in the way the diagnoses subsequently determine treatment. Most behavioral scientists, including those who have themselves collaborated on the DSM-V, agree on this. In a nutshell: A DSM diagnosis provides a description of a client’s (scientifically measurable) behavior. A BOAM diagnosis provides an explanation (recognized and tested by the client and/or his parents) for the behavior. The recognition and testing of the explanation is done by the client (and his parents) themselves, using visual models that depict the laws of each person’s psyche.
This has great advantages: * The outcome emphasizes “a state, not a trait“. A BOAM diagnosis reflects a “state of being”, which any human being can fall into due to an unmet need. You can then also outgrow it by focusing on fulfilling the need. A DSM diagnosis is considered by most people to be a permanent and negative “personality trait.” It reflects that you “deviate from the norm” in your behavior, which is logically a more stigmatizing finding. * Also, by using the BOAM system, the client (and associated stakeholders such as parents) has control over the diagnostic process which develops at the client’s pace. * At the end of this diagnostic process, there is automatically a selfacquired insight into the cause and effect of the problems. * During the process, a shared language for a shared view of cause and effect has been created by all those involved. * Also, the outcome of a BOAM diagnosis is often substantively different from a DSM diagnosis. This is because, underlying several behavioral problems, the same needs problem can be the explanation. The BOAM system simplifies complex problems in this way. * By distinguishing between cause (the need) and the multiple consequences that can be traced back to that (sometimes multiple different behavioral problems/survival strategies). This simplification provides relief and justified hope for improvement to the client and his environment. * Because of this own overview on cause and effect of the complex problems, the client (and/or the parents of the client) can prioritize which intervention is most useful at which moment.
All this provides a fertile ground for the effectiveness of the subsequent practical treatment. Working with the BOAM system in the diagnostic phase prior to treatment has measurably positive effects on the treatment. The duration of the treatment is relatively shorter and the result of the treatment better and longer. Because the laws of the models apply to everyone, the BOAM system is also highly suitable for use with mild problems and can therefore also be used preventively.
UvA minds (Academic Treatment Centre for Parent and Child) in Amsterdam, conducts the scientific research on the BOAM system. For information, please contact Eva Potharst, health psychologist and senior researcher at UvA minds in Amsterdam. EPotharst@uvaminds.nl
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