Historical Perspective of Abnormal Psychology
Although humans have attempted to understand their own behavior since the beginning of time, it wasn’t until the latter part of the 19th century that academics attempted the creation of a new field of science called abnormal psychology. Origins
“In 1879 the first psychological laboratory was set up by Wilhelm Wundt in Leipzip Germany, which set the stage for the scientific elucidation of the causes of psychological dysfunction. In 1892 the American Psychological Associate (APA) was put together by G. Stanley Hall, and in 1952 released the first diagnostic manual for mental disorders (DSM-I)” (Anthony & Goldstein, 1988). “As a scientific discipline abnormal psychology has existed for a little more than 100 years. Over the period of 100 years the core concepts have and still are the central ideas for abnormal psychology. To understand these concepts we go back to the beginning when the ancient Greeks first tried to diagnose and prescribe a course of treatment for hysteria, now called conversion disorder. The symptoms of hysteria include paralysis, confusion, various pains and ailments, and loss of sensation. These symptoms usually follow neurological damage, but in the case of hysteria no neurological damage could be found to account for the physical symptoms. Since hysteria was observed in mostly females and the affected parts of the body changed over time, the Greek physicians hypothesized that the uterus moved around the body, thereby causing the blockage of fluids. It was not until 1896 in Vienna that Sigmund Freud first proposed a systematic theory of psychodynamics that could account for the psychological components of hysteria” (Hansell & Damour, 2008).
“Abnormal psychology has a somewhat different history combining French, American, and other sources. Theodule-Armand Ribot (1839-1916) was among the first to communicate to French colleagues the new psychological research going on in Germany and...
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