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Psy410 Historical Perspectives in Abnormal Psychology

By actfit Feb 21, 2012 1177 Words
Historical Perspectives of Abnormal Psychology


Historical Perspectives of Abnormal Psychology

No meaning of abnormality has been completely approved by the psychological community. However, having knowledge of unusual mindset is important to evaluating one’s conduct in deciding what a meaning must be (Hansell & Damour, 2008). Unusual conduct is usually regarded as conduct which is the opposite of social norms, with usual conduct being the very opposite. In this ability, it's particularly important to analyze the topic of unusual mindset so as to correctly categorize usual and unusual conduct. This paper will analyze the roots of unusual mindset as well as the problems to defining as well as classifying usual as well as unusual conduct. It will also examine the development of unusual mindset as well as how it has developed into a scientific field. Finally, this document will examine the psychosocial, sociocultural, and biological/medical theoretical models relevant to the growth of unusual psychology. Origins of Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal psychology, as a discipline, has only been considered a scientific discipline for a little over 100 years. However, people have been trying to find explanations to account for abnormal behavior since the beginning of mankind (Damour & Hansell, 2008). Stories of behavior exhibiting characteristics similar to what is found in depression and schizophrenia have been recorded throughout history since before biblical times. One of the earliest known explanations for mental illness in primitive cultures was animism. Animism predicated on the belief in the power of the spirit world, and according to this view, mental affliction was associated with possession by an evil or hateful spirit. Archeologists have documented evidence of a treatment called trephination as early as 3000 BCE. This medical procedure consisted of boring holes into the skull to release the offending spirit (Hansell & Damour, 2008). Although the treatment seems barbaric and primitive, in a world where the spirit saturated life, it seemed like a logical way to release the spirit embedded within. Challenges to Defining and Classifying Normal and Abnormal Behavior Unusual conduct has traditionally been regarded to as behavior that violates the expectations as well as ideals of a given society (Hansell & Damour, 2008). This, nevertheless, is hard to understand because particular types of behavior may be normal in one tradition, but may be regarded as abnormal in a different tradition. For instance, watching television may be usual for a normal American, however several middle-eastern societies don't condone this kind of conduct. Conversely, it's okay to abuse ladies in some capacity in some middle-eastern societies, however it's considered as criminal in the United States. Fundamentally, if unusual behavior is considered to be conduct that violates standards, it's hard to decide because social standards differ from one area to another. Moreover, something which is considered as unusual at one time may be considered as usual years later.

Biological methods have also been organized in this capacity. A lot of behaviors have been related to disorders of the brain or the failure of a person’s neurotransmitters to interact with different neurons and/or chemicals (Medved, 2008). However, when biological factors are present that influence a person’s conduct, the environmental factors are often-times pushed away. It's fairly simple to place fault on a brain ailment or genes, however a person’s surroundings also have the capability to facilitate unusual conduct, even if the individual has a predisposition to having a particular psychological problem. Abnormal Psychology as a Scientific Discipline

The ancient Greeks were the first to identify a cause for mental illnesses by asserting that at the root of the illness was an imbalanced biological state of four fluids within the human body (Hansell & Damour, 2008). Although this theory is not a cause we recognize today, it was these initial associations made between psychological symptoms and biological causes that inspired a new way of thinking (Hansell & Damour, 2008). The explanations served as a significant step towards medical thinking, and influenced other Greek physicians to diagnose according to medical observations rather than folklore, anecdote, or spiritual belief (Hansell & Damour, 2008). During the middle ages, nevertheless, the hypotheses related to the impact of devils, along with ideas related to witchcraft as well as the like resurfaced so as to describe the basis of unusual conduct; this eventually resulted in the church having additional duties. When the era of enlightenment came about, unusual conduct was ultimately reconsidered to be a consequence of different dysfunctions within a person’s brain. As a consequence of this acceptance, psychological diseases were ultimately categorized as well as different remedies were invented (Hansell & Damour, 2008). Throughout the 20th century, neuroscience was mainly delved into as well as utilized to explain the basis of unusual conduct in terms of behaviorism as well as psychoanalysis. Currently, our knowledge of unusual psychology is affected by a number of other elements for example one’s tradition, conduct, genetics, as well as neurological working (Medved, 2008). Models of Abnormal Psychology

Various theoretical models emphasize the importance of therapeutic relationships within the treatment process. Although these models converge and intersect, each addresses causality from a different perspective (Hansell & Damour, 2008). The psychosocial model addresses how individuals accommodate internal conflicting conscious and unconscious processes while interacting with their environment (Medved, 2008). It addresses the affects of such influences on behavior and often focuses on social relationships, immediate environments, and internal conflicts, concerns, and memories (Hansell & Damour, 2008). The sociocultural perspective maintains that unusual conduct is the consequence of tradition and society’s effect on an individual (Comer, 2007). Social norms and a person’s familial and cultural backdrop are mostly stressed. Moreover, a person’s social networks and spiritual beliefs are influential, too. Last, the biological/medical model identifies a biological or physical association to mental disease and dysfunction. This model assesses the contribution of physical and biochemical functions in the human body, especially within the brain, as a means to understand how these functions relate to abnormal overt behavior and unobservable deviant mental processes (Hansell & Damour, 2008). Conclusion

In conclusion, from early animistic and primitive treatment to the high technology of medical science, psychology has continued to discover and apply new information and treatment as a means to affect the discomfort and dysfunction of abnormal behavior, and in its evolution, progressed to a scientific exploration. The core concepts derived from psychological models serve as a reminder that abnormal psychology is a science that aims to influence and assist people, even though studying the disorders and clarifying diagnoses is an equally essential ingredient (Hansell & Damour, 2008). These models also emphasize the importance of a broad therapeutic perspective that promotes a more reasonable and accurate understanding to the mysteries surrounding abnormal behavior that still exist in society to this very day.

Hansell, J. & Damour, L. (2008). Abnormal psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Comer, R. J. (2007). Abnormal psychology. New York: Worth.

Medved, M. I. (2008). Review of "Essentials of abnormal psychology, first Canadian edition". Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 49(1), 73-74. doi:10.1037/0708-5591.49.1.73

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