Someone would yell out the name of a potential new mental disorder and a checklist of its overt characteristics, there'd be a cacophony of voices in assent or dissent, and if Spitzer agree, which he almost always did, he'd hammer it out then and on an old typewriter, and there it would be, sealed in stone.
Any psychiatrist could pick up the manual they were creating - DSM-III - and if the patient's overt symptoms tallied with the checklist, they'd get the diagnosis.
And that's how practically every disorder you've ever heard of or have been diagnosed with came to be invented, inside that chaotic conference room, under the auspices of Robert Spitzer.
Jon Ronson: The Psychopath Test
You can find more about Robert Spitzer and DSM on Wikipedia.
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