Years ago, I wrote a play called CALL ME CRAZY, a comedy-drama with music that is about psychiatric diagnosis. Realistic, serious scenes alternate with broadly, even sophomorically comedic ones. One of the latter is a quiz show called "What's My Diagnosis?!" In that scene, the quiz show host introduces Dr. Slip and Dr. Grip, two psychiatrists who are the contestants and tells them that a patient will be brought onstage, and "As in many real mental health facilities, you'll have just a few minutes to make your diagnosis!"
I wrote that scene because I knew that many therapists diagnose their patients within just a few minutes. In fact, when the play is performed, I include in the program a Playwright's Note, in which I say that everything in the play is true, especially the parts you will be sure I must have made up.
Many years ago, I learned that that quiz show scene was even truer-to-life than I had realized, and just today, it happened again. Years ago, I happened to meet a woman who had worked in the office of Robert Spitzer, the psychiatrist who spearheaded the creation of the third and third-revised editions of the American Psychiatric Association's unscientific and often harmful manual, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. She told me the following story: Several women worked in Dr. Spitzer's office, and one day they were joined by a woman from a temporary placement agency who was answering his phone. The woman who worked there regularly heard her take a call that was for Dr. Spitzer and say, "He just went up on the ward to do a diagnostic, so I am sure he won't be back for at least an hour or two." At that point, said my informant, the regulars waved their hands at the woman on the phone and said, "No, no! Ten minutes!"