Ch. 15: 1. What is mental illness? In your answer, include the criteria that have been used throughout history to define mental illness.
Mental illness is a condition characterized by emotions, thoughts, or behavior that are substantially abnormal for a given time and place in history (p. 514). Historically, it has been broadly been defined by self-harm, unrealistic thoughts and perceptions (delusions, hallucinations, magical thinking, etc.), inappropriate emotions, and rapid shifts in moods or beliefs. All these criteria compare the subject to the “average” member of the community, which, right or wrong, continues to be the standard used to define mental illness (p. 487).
3. What, if anything, do all versions of psychotherapy have in common?
Modern and ancient forms of psychotherapy all have a sufferer, a helper, and a ritual through which help is offered. The basic reasons for psychotherapy have always been diminishing anxiety, depression, and other distressing physiological states, changing undesirable behavioral patterns, and promoting effective functioning and positive personal growth. While all versions of psychotherapy would ideally help the sufferer, this is often not the case (p. 489).
4. Describe what therapy would be like if it were based on the psychological model of mental illness, on the supernatural model, and on the biological model.
Treatments based on the psychological approach often involve the patient re-enacting traumatic experiences to achieve catharsis, offering emotional support, dream analysis, and behavioral guidance. In the 18th century, the belief in natural law prevailed, meaning that sinful actions lead to madness, disease, and poverty, but industrious actions lead to wealth, health, and prosperity. This belief shaped therapy—to relieve suffering, it must discourage vices (p. 490).
The supernatural approach is based on a belief in evil spirits or forces causing mental illness. To excise them, the primitive medicine man would use methods including appeal, bribery, exorcism, magic, and incantations. Bleeding and trepanation, the chipping away of part of the skull, were also common (p. 490-91). Therapy under this approach would be fairly useless, but could have psychological benefits if the patient believes he/she has been freed of a demon.
The biological approach implicates the brain as the source of mental illness or normality. Hippocrates was one of the first to abandon the supernatural approach, believing physical health to be associated with balanced “humors” of the body, and trying to return the brain to a normal state (rather than too hot, cold, dry, or moist) in mental patients. Treatment under this approach was humane and naturalistic, claiming that nature did the healing rather than the physician. Baths, fresh air, and proper diets were common treatments (p. 492).
10. Why was Kraepelin’s listing of the various mental disorders seen as something both positive and negative?
Kraepelin’s classifications for mental disorders were thorough and brought order to a chaotic litany of clinical observations, but are now seen as an impetus to progress because people rarely fall neatly into his categories. He also believed mental disorders were always physically caused, which is incorrect. However, he did make communication about mental disorders more precise (p. 499).
11. Summarize the reasons Witmer is considered the founder of clinical psychology.
There are six primary reasons Witmer is distinguished as the founder of clinical psychology: he enunciated the idea of scientific psychology as a helping profession, he established the first “psychology clinic,” he proposed the term clinical psychology and set its original agenda, he implemented the first training program for...