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What Does Psychosocial Mean?

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From the U.S.: About four years ago I was released from a psychiatric hospital after a month, and my mom had picked me up. I was looking at the papers and I saw under diagnosis, along with what I had been diagnosed with before was ‘psychosocial’. I asked my mom what that mean and she said it meant I have no social skills. I could had told you that!

But seriously, I can’t find anything on why that would be under “diagnosis” on the official papers or what it could had meant, and all of my past therapists ignore my questions or accuse me of lying. I am also scared to ask or see another therapist from the sheer amount of trouble I’ve had with them in the past, but I so desperately want to know what that meant, and Google isn’t telling me anything.

My other diagnosis’ have been changed over and over again, so I can’t really tell which ones I should list. The hospital that diagnosed me with it wasn’t very good or helpful either, it felt like prison and I was threatened or punished a lot for not wanting to eat due to the Anorexia Nervosa. Is “psychosocial” a diagnosis or was it a weird thing they just wrote down?

What Does Psychosocial Mean?

Answered by on -


Please relax. Psychosocial is not a diagnosis. It’s a category for assessment. In your case, it looks like someone wrote it in the wrong place on a form. To do a “psychosocial” merely means to take a brief history of someone’s psychological and social development. It provides an overview of your issues to those who are trying to help you.

As far as I’m concerned, diagnoses are only a way to quickly and broadly summarize someone’s issues and to direct appropriate medication treatment. After you get a diagnosis, you still have the problems that distress you. If you want to get better, it’s up to you to do the hard work with your therapist.

A therapist can provide guidance and support, but you need to do the daily work. People improve when they do two things: 1) They make the life style changes they need to make to be physically healthy and 2) They work hard in their therapy to better understand themselves so they can make healthier life choices.

Please stop being so worried about what is on a piece of paper from years ago. Focus your attention instead on what you can do now to be an active member of your treatment team.

I understand your reluctance to see another therapist if you’ve had a negative experience. But, please, therapists are no more alike than other people. Give therapy a chance. Make an initial appointment with another therapist. If you don’t feel comfortable with him or her, bring it up. Sometimes talking about the discomfort is what inspires insight into other relationships as well. If you feel you aren’t being helped, go for a second opinion to a different therapist. If that one doesn’t work out either, it’s only fair to ask yourself if the problem lies within you, not the therapists. That may be the very issue you need to work on.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

What Does Psychosocial Mean?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). What Does Psychosocial Mean?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 5 Apr 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.