University of Phoenix
Instructor: Dr. Kristi Husk
26 August 2013
Abnormal Psychology Abnormal psychology is the branch of psychology that examines unusual behavior as compared to that behavior that is classified normal. Throughout history society has tried to understand and control behavior. Many studies such as Skinner’s reinforcement theory, has tried to develop techniques to modify behavior. The field of abnormal psychology draws identifies causes for behavior not considered normal by drawing from the general field of psychology and other areas, with the big question being, what the true definition of abnormal is. Abnormal is made up of three categories, supernatural, medical, humanitarian. Abnormal psychology studies two different types of behaviors, adaptive and maladaptive behavior. Maladaptive consists of those behaviors that suggest a problem exists and leaves the individual vulnerable to the inability to deal with environmental stress.
Throughout history, many theories have been developed to explain psychological issues. The supernatural category refers to the idea that mental disorders are caused spiritually (Osborn, 2009). This generally implicates that a person has been possessed and the possession is what causes the mental illness. The medical aspect approaches mental illness resulting from natural causes, such as, biological imbalance, cognitive problems, or emotional stressors (Osborn, 2009). The humanitarian approach views abnormal behavior resulting from poor living conditions or cruelty (Osborn, 2009). Although the field of abnormal psychology has not been identified as a scientific field until recently, all civilizations have had their own approach or techniques and understanding of abnormal behavior. Archeologist have found evidence dating back since the time before Christ, that shows surgical procedures that were performed on individuals to try and
References: Hansell, J. & Damour, L. (2008). Abnormal psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Osborn, L. A. (2009). From beauty to despair: The rise and fall of the American State Mental Hospital. Psychiatric Quarterly. Schneider, K. J., & Längle, A. (2012). The renewal of humanism in psychotherapy: Summary and conclusion.