Diagnosis is the process that, when it functions correctly, allows doctors to find what ails you. Once the problem is understood, addressing the problem can begin and chances of success are high. On the other hand, a failed process of diagnosis means that chances of success are very low, no matter how good the problem-solving skills of the doctor, because problem-solving is profoundly hampered by an inaccurate diagnosis of that problem. It’s rather like trying your best to fix a car when you’re working on a horse.
Much has been made of problem-solving skills as a component of formal education at a variety of levels, and justifiably so. The ability to solve problems is critical to any person’s success either in education, employment, or personal and social development. But I would suggest that we’d do well to balance problem-solving with the diagnostic skills to elucidate the nature of the problem so that those grand problem-solving skills don’t go to waste when we try to fix a psychological problem with pharmaceutical treatments, social ills with economic policy, et cetera.
We must remember that we cannot fix what we do not understand.