Social psychiatry has always suffered from an inappropriate diagnostic classification system. Social psychiatry is directed toward the integration of disabled persons into their family, profession and society in general. As such the exclusive assessment of symptoms is only of minor value for the objectives of social psychiatric approaches. It lies in the core of social psychiatry to assess patients’ problems with functioning. This has already been possible by using the International Classification of Impairment Disability and Handicap (ICIDH) which primarily focused on the deficits of affected persons. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health now allows to classify not only deficits of affected persons but also their resources. Disability is always defined as an interaction of deficits in functioning on one side and the environment on the other side. This is a much more dynamic approach to rehabilitation than previously conceptualized.
A good example for a modern view on the deficits and resources of affected persons is their occupational functioning. Only lately professionals almost without exception agreed on the fact that it is impossible to reintegrate or rehabilitate affected persons in the first labour market. For that reasons disabled persons were excluded from the labour market and trained and employed mainly in sheltered workshops. Today using a more interactive approach to occupational rehabilitation, professionals are much more optimistic to integrate disabled persons in the first labour market. This development in occupational rehabilitation will be described shortly and related to the International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health.