Normality and Psychopathology

Topics: Abnormal psychology, Schizophrenia, Psychiatry Pages: 6 (1517 words) Published: November 12, 2006
Nrmality is quite hard to define. The line between what is considered normal and abnormal is not always clear. There are different ways to look at normality. Normal Behaviour refers to a lack of significant deviation from the average. Normality is thus the deviation from average. There are quite some models for looking at normality.

One model is to place behaviour on a straight line between two point. One extreme point is supernormality, and the other is abnormality. Normality is found around the middle of the line.

Another model is that normality is found between an ideal and a despised self. Normality is the balance between the two.

Throughout history, different theorists have put forwards different theories to try and define normality. I am going to focus on 3 approaches only. The psychoanalytic, learning and cognitive approaches.

The psychoanalytic perspective
When we think of psychoanalytic the one name that comes to mind is Freud. For freud, The mind is divided into the conscious and the unconscious
level. The conscious
level is about things that we are aware of, like for example, I hate ice cream because it`s cold. The unconscious level are what influence our behaviors, yet we are not aware it, like for example, I hate ice cream because it`s cold, and i hate cold, because the doctor used cold forceps to get me out from my mother`s womb . The reason i hate cold, may not be something i am aware of on a conscious level because this memory dates to the day i was born. On an unconscious level, it makes me hate everything cold. The personality is further divided into 3 parts: the Id, Ego and superego. The Id is that part that is based on pleasure seeking principle At three years old, if i wanted a chocolate, all that will matter is to satisfy this crave, even throwing up tantrums if i have to, so long as i get it. This is a good illustration of the Id. The superego, is the opposite, it is the awareness of shame, the set of moral values one has.. At the age of six years old, i may want a chocolate. My Id tells me to take it., even if I have to steal it. My superego, tell me it`s wrong to steal.The ego regulates the pattern between the Id and the superego. I want a chocolate, my id tells me to get one, even if i have to steal one, my superego is going to tell me it`s shameful to steal. My ego, will juggle between the two, so that i may ask and wait for my parents to give me the chocolate, and if ever they refused, i`ll differ having the chocolate later on, not throwing a tantrum in front of everyone.

Someone with too much Id or too much superego is considered to be abnormal, to be psychopathologic. For example, someone who always seek pleasure,not caring about any moral or immorality, like a cleptomaniac person. Or on the other hand someone who is obsess with morals like someone who maniacally wash his her hand every 5 minutes.

The learning theories
For them abnormal behaviour is caused by learning. Someone is conditioned to have a particular behaviour. For example, a child who is constantly slapped whenever he watch television. He will develop a fear when watching television. The constant reinforcement of the punishment is going to lead the child to develop a phobia of television.This phobia could become a pathology, whenever the person see a television, his/her phobia could become such that he.she will become violent and crash the television.

The cognitive theories
This is mainly focusing on the thinking process. For them , the abnormal behaviour is a result of a twisted thinking process. For example , say someone keeps hurting himself/herself by scarification . He/she thinks that scarification is the way for hmseilf/herself to atone for his/her sins. From the cognitive perspective, change the thinking and you change the behaviour. So ,what should be done is to lead the person to think differently, that scarification doesn`t atone for his/her sins, so that this person stop his/her...
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