Allen Frances

Allen James Frances ( * 1942 in New York City ) is an American psychiatrist who chaired the working group that has carried out the fourth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM- IV), and for his criticism of the current version, was the DSM- V is known, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a classification system of the American Psychiatric Association ( American Psychiatric Association ). The DSM corresponding to the ICD-10. He warns that the expansion of psychiatric boundaries will cause inflation to psychiatric diagnoses, which leads to over-treatment of the " malade imaginaire ", which psychiatry is deflected only by the actual focus, namely the treatment of the severely mentally ill.


Allen J. Frances earned his bachelor's degree in economics and a medical preparatory course at Columbia College in 1963, and finished his medical studies in 1967 at the Downstate Medical Center. His psychiatric residency training, he completed at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute in 1971. His certificate in psychoanalysis, he received in 1978 from the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.

Frances is a widow and lives in San Diego.

Scientific activity

He began his academic career at Cornell University Medical College, where he soon became a professor and head of the outpatient department. Frances developed specialized research clinics for schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders and AIDS. During his academic career, Frances investigated in numerous clinical areas such as personality disorders, chronic depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, AIDS, and psychotherapy. In his book Differential Therapeutics in Psychiatry Frances attempts to show how an effective treatment plan can look without mechanically orient the treatment at an appropriate diagnosis.

His research on the therapeutic limits culminated in 1981 in his publication No Treatment as the Prescription of Choice ( No treatment as the prescription of choice). Overall, Frances wrote several hundred publications and a dozen books.

Frances was the founder and publisher of two magazines that have become standard journals: the Journal of Personality Disorders and the Journal of Psychiatric Practice. In 1991 he was dean of the department of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, where he has the research, education and clinical programs that had been initiated by his predecessor Bernard Carroll expanded. He is now professor emeritus.


Frances was on the DSM III ( published in 1980 ) and the DSM III R ( published in 1987 ) involved and was chairman of the working group, the DSM IV published in 1994. Against the appearance of the DSM V, he initiated a petition.


  • Frances A., B. Damage: NORMAL: Against the inflation psychiatric diagnoses. Dumont Verlag; 1st edition (2013 ) ISBN 978-3-8321-9700-1.
  • A. Frances, M. B. First: Am I Okay? A Layman 's Guide to the Psychiatrist 's Bible. Scribner Publishing, Edition: 1st Touchstone Ed, New York / London ( 2000), ISBN 978-0-6848-5961-3.