When seeing a client who has been diagnosed, the diagnosis is useful in determining how she has been viewed by other institutions and health care providers. And it can tell as much about the people who has been structuring the view of a “client/patient” which someone may has had imposed on them, and of course, the likely regimen of psycho-pharms (prescribed drugs) which have been imposed also.
The therapeutic encounter is about two persons encountering each other. A diagnosis can be dangerous indeed however, if taken too seriously.
It can tell something about how the person is evaluated professionally, but often very little hing which is especially useful if your approach is one which sees each person as an individual reacting to their life experiences. Taking a diagnosis as a serious description of being can prevent your treating someone as a person rather than a client/patient. It can be telling as a description of applied stigmas and attitudes which may have resulted in him being prevented by the way in which they have been defined as having “problems.” This may have blocked their own understanding of their present, and past, existence.
The therapeutic encounter is about two persons encountering each other. It will however allow counselors/therapists to kvetch with each other about “the poor unfortunates” who give them meaning and income.
A diagnosis objectifies a subject. It is most useful to funders, and overworked counselors/therapists. Clients may occasionally like to be defined but it really tells them or others, very little about what happened, or what is going on in their lives. Or how the dyadic relationship of counseling/therapy can best proceed.
Living is a mystery story, and so is therapy and counseling (when it is done well). A diagnosis is like a photograph. It shows a multi-dimensional being in a very uni-dimensional manner.