Outline and Evaluate Two Models of Abnormality

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Outline and evaluate two models of abnormality (12 marks)

The essence of a psychodynamic approach is to explain behaviour in terms of its dynamics – i.e. the forces that drive it. The best known example of this approach is Freud. Freud believed that the origins of mental disorder lie in the unresolved conflicts or childhoods which are unconscious. Medical illnesses are not the outcome of physical disorders but of these psychological conflicts. Conflicts between the id, ego, and superego create anxiety. The ego protects itself with various defence mechanisms (ego defences). These defences can be the cause of disturbed behaviour if they are overused. In childhood the ego is not developed enough to deal with traumas and therefore they are repressed. For example, a child may experience the death of a parent early in life and repress associated feelings. Later in life, other losses may cause the individual to re-experience the earlier loss and can lead to depression. Previously the unexpressed anger about the loss is directed inwards towards the self, causing depression. Ego defences, such as repression and regression, exert pressure through unconsciously motivated behaviour. Freud proposed that the unconscious consists of memories and other information that are either very hard or almost impossible to bring into conscious awareness. Despite this, the unconscious mind exerts a powerful effect on behaviour. This frequently leads to distress, as the person does not understand why they are acting in that particular way. The underlying problem cannot be controlled until brought into conscious awareness. However Abstract concepts such as the id, ego and superego are difficult to define and research. Because actions motivated by them operate on an unconscious level, there is no way to know for certain that they are occurring. Also a common criticism of Freud’s work is that it was sexist.

The Biological approach is ‘the view that behaviour can all be explained in...
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