Dr. Holly Brand
Picking three out of the billion things I have learned in this class is somewhat difficult. I will attempt to generalize them a little bit.
When I began this class I soon realized the truth behind the difficulty psychologist have, not only in diagnosing some disorders, but also in defining them! People around the world have such different backgrounds that many disorders that we might “easily” recognize is the west are not even considered disorders in other cultures. Everything from anxiety disorders, to mental disorders, and sexual disorders are all subject to varied perspectives.
As we began to study specific disorders more in depth, I also thought it was interesting (and challenging) to see how many symptoms are present in multiple disorders. For example, anti-social behavior could represent an anti-social disorder, but may also be a symptom of something even more complicated such as schizophrenia. In short, it is extremely important to understand all of a person’s presenting symptoms (and there could a lot!) in order to understand the real issue. It takes a great deal of time and study to make a firm diagnosis. Even our case studies, where the symptoms and research was laid out in front of us in its entirety, took much more time and critical thinking than I would have expected.
More specifically something I found very interesting in this course was the study of psychopathy. I was interested in the general difficulty that psychologist have in treating someone with psychopathic tendencies because of their apathetic behavior. Also, as a normally functioning person it is intriguing to think of someone behaving so aggressively and potentially causing harm to people and property without feeling any guilt or remorse. The concept of “not feeling” in general is something I had not really thought about before, but was very interesting to me in the context of abnormal psychology.