DSM V and Introversion

As many already know, the DSM V has been released as a working draft for public feedback. Within the draft, Introversion is considered a spectrum marker for schizotypical psychopathology. I am not a therapist or a clinician of any sort, so I am really looking for some clarification and insight on the issue. Personally, I take issue as introversion and extroversion seem to cover a spectrum of social engagement, which almost by definition must be within a cultural context. The United States deeply favors extroversion, while say, the Swiss are known for their value of introversion (stereotypically and taken from anecdotes of individuals). I recognize the prickly nature of these sweeping generalizations, which makes it all the more pertinent to investigate and discuss the DSM V's prejudice against a culturally relative tendency.

Depth psychology draws much of its strength from introverted reflection. Jung introduced introversion as a personality type. If one personality type can be deemed pathological, then it follows that the other should have a pathological manifestation. (And we all know pathologically extroverted people pose a much greater threat to social harmony!) It seems as if this is another encounter with the troubling "normal" case buried in the diagnostic depths of psychological statistics.

I would really appreciate any discussion on this, as I am really wondering if my concept of introversion is not applicable to the discussion at hand, or if my concept of cultural biases is not grounded?

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  • John--I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment about the "types". Clearly, every type has its shadow, and if our culture chooses to label those who go within to recharge and gain insight as pathological, I wonder who will continue to hold the unspoken, the silence, and the unsayable in our world. I am reminded of the Buryat shamans (and many others) who were forced to go underground as new and intolerant governments sprang up who would not allow them to practice their craft. The work still somehow took place, but the suffering so many had to undergo in hiding was devastating. I am also reminded that, in earth-based communities, those that seemed 'abnormal' were encircled by the village and "tended" until they came through whatever malaise was ailing them. How can we ressurect that in our culture, I wonder, instead of simply slapping a label on it and calling it unnatural. Or, hey, maybe they'll just develop a pill that will make me outgoing and I won't have to reflect on such things any longer....
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