Abnormal Psychology (Ch. 1 – Abnormal Behavior in Historical Context)

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psychological disorder / abnormal behavior
(DSM-5 definition)
– behavioral, cognitive, emotional dysfunctions
– unexpected in cultural context
– personal distress
– substantial impairment in function
psychological dysfunction
breakdown in cognitive, emotional, & behavioral functioning
Impairment (ADLs) & Distress
Family Resemblance Approach
Modeling a Psychological Disorder (4)
socially defined rules/expectations
Impairment & Distress
unable to work & pay bills
personal care
Family Resemblance Approach
– suffering
– maladaptive
– irrationality
– unpredictability
– unconventionality
– observer discomfort
– violation of standards
a psychological disorder characterized by marked and persistent fear of an object or situation
the scientific study of psychological disorders
Professionals in the field of Psychopathology
– clinical & counseling psychologist
– psychiatrists
– psychiatric social workers
– psychiatric nurses
– marriage & family therapists
– mental health counselors
mental health professionals who are expected to apply scientific methods to their work
3 ways to function as a scientist-practioner
(1.) Keep current in latest research on diagnosis/treatment
(2.) Evaluate own methods for effectiveness
(3.) May generate own research to discover new knowledge of disorders & their treatment
presenting problem
original complaint reported by the client to the therapist
clinical description
represents the unique combination of behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that make up a specific disorder
# of new cases occur during a given period
total # of cases in a given time period
pattern of development and change of a disorder over time
– chronic, episodic, or time-limited
chronic course
type of course that…

tend to last a long time, sometimes a lifetime

episodic course
type of course that…

individual likely to recover within a few months only to suffer a recurrence of the disorder at a later time

time-limited course
type of course that…

the disorder will improve w/o treatment in a relatively short period

acute onset
begin suddenly
insidious onset
develop gradually over an extended period
anticipated course of a disorder
developmental psychology
study of changes in behavior over time
developmental psychopathology
study of changes in abnormal behavior
the study of origins
3 models of psychology
– supernatural model
– biological model
– psychological model
The Supernatural Model
agents outside our bodies & environment influence our behavior, thinking, & emotions

Ex: Diviance

(etiology & treatments)
Supernatural Tradition:

Battle of “Good” vs. “Evil”
Etiology: devil, witchcraft, sorcery
Treatments: exorcism, torture, & trepanning

– 14th & 15th century Europe
– Salem Witch Trials in US

etiology of deviance
devil, witchcraft, sorcery
treatments for deviance
exorcism, torture, & trepanning
various religious rituals were performed in an effort to rid the victim of evil spirits
The Biological Model
Hippocrates & Galen
considered the father of western medicine
Hippocrates studied…
*Etiology:* physical disease
– brain pathology
– head trauma
– genetics
– psychosocial factors (stress, family)

– Precursor to somatoform disorders (hysteria)

conversion of psychological stress into physical symptoms (somatization), selective amnesia, shallow volatile emotions, and overdramatic or attention-seeking behavior. – The term has a controversial history as it was formerly regarded as a disease specific to women.
Hippocratic-Galenic Approach
*Humoral Theory of Mental Disorders*: assumed normal brain functioning was related to 4 bodily fluids or [humors]

> blood – sanguine (cheerful/optimistic)
> black bile – melancholic (depressive)
> phlegm – phlegmatic (calm under stress)
> yellow bile – choleric (hot-tempered)

*Etiology*: brain chemical imbalances
*Treatments*: environmental regulation
–heat, dryness, moisture, cold
–bloodletting, included vomiting

etiology of mental disorders (humoral theory)
brain chemical imbalances
treatments for mental disorders (humoral theory)
environmental regulation
heat, dryness, moisture, cold
bloodletting, included vomiting
Humoral Theory of mental disorders
assumed normal brain functioning was related to 4 bodily fluids or [humors]
Four humors of Humoral Theory of mental disorders
– blood -> *sanguine* (cheerful/optimistic)
– black bile -> *melancholic* (depressive)
– phlegm -> *phlegmatic* (calm under stress)
– yellow bile -> *choleric* (hot-tempered)
Hippocratic-Galenic Approach (Humoral Theory of Mental Disorders)
*Etiology* & *Treatment*
*Etiology*: brain chemical imbalances
*Treatments*: environmental regulation
–heat, dryness, moisture, cold
–bloodletting, included vomiting
general paresis
STD w/ psychosis-like symptoms
– delusions & hallucinations

*Etiology:* bacterial microorganism (Louis Pasterur’s germ theory)

– Biological basis for madness

– treated with malaria at the time

Development of Biological Treatments
*1930s:* insulin shock therapy, brain surgery, ECT

*1950s:* psychotropic meds (neuroleptics&tranquilizers)

Consequences of the Biological Traditions
increased hospitalization (“untreatable” conditions)
Emil Kraepelin
– a founding father of modern psychiatry
– 1913: improved diagnosis/classification
– theoretical/medical model
– increased role of science in psychopathology
– schizo
The Psychological Model
psychosocial treatment / moral therapy
moral therapy
*psychosocial approach* in *[19th century]* that involved treating patients as normally as possible in normal environments
Dorthea Dix
*mid-19th century*
– campaigned endlessly for asylum reform in the treatment of insanity
– *mental hygiene movement*
– reason for decline of moral therapy due to the…
…increased number of patients (immigrants, homeless)
mental hygiene movement
*mid-19th century* effort to improve care of the mentally disordered by informing the public of their mistreatment
– psychoanalytic assessment & therapy
– emphasizes unconscious processes & conflicts
– pioneered by Sigmund Freud
explanation of human behavior, including dysfunction, based on principles of learning and adaptation derived from experimental psychology
psychosocial treatment
cultural and social factors affect treatment, as well as psychological
rapid or sudden release of emotional tension thought to be a factor in psychoanalytic therapy
Sigmund Freud
founder of psychoanalytic therapy
– unconscious mind
– catharsis, free association, & dream analysis
part of the psychic makeup that is outside of the awareness of the person
psychoanalytic model
complex and comprehensive theory originally advanced by Sigmund Freud that seeks to account for the *development/structure of personality* & *origin of abnormal behavior*, based primarily on inferred inner entities & forces
in psychoanalysis…

the unconscious psychical entity present at birth representing basic sexual and aggressive drives

in psychoanalysis…

the psychical entity responsible for finding realistic and practical ways to satisfy id drives

in psychoanalysis…

the psychical entity representing the internalized moral principles of parents and society

intrapsychic conflicts
in psychoanalysis…

the struggles among the id, ego, and superego

defense mechanisms
common patterns of behavior, often adaptive coping styles when they occur in moderation, observed in response to particular situations.

In psychoanalysis, these are thought to be unconscious processes originating in the ego

refuses to acknowledge some aspect of objective reality or subjective experience that is apparent to others
transfers a feeling about, or a response to, an object that causes discomfort onto another, usually less-threatening, object or person
falsely attributes own unacceptable feelings, impulses, or thoughts to another individual or object
conceals the true motivations for actions, thoughts, or feelings through elaborate reassuring or self-serving but incorrect explanations
reaction formation
substitutes behaviors, thoughts, or feelings that are direct opposite of unacceptable ones
blocks disturbing wishes, thoughts, or experiences from conscious awareness
directs potentially maladaptive feelings or impulses into socially acceptable behavior
psychosexual stages of development
in psychoanalysis…

the sequence of phases a person passes through during development

castration anxiety
in psychoanalysis…

the fear in young boys that they will be mutilated genitally because of their lust for their mothers

ego psychology / self-psychology
– derived from psychoanalysis
– emphasizes the role of the ego in development and
– attributes psychological disorders to failure of the ego to manage impulses and internal conflicts
collective unconscious
accumulated wisdom of a culture collected and remembered across generations
(a psychodynamic concept introduced by Carl Jung)
free association
psychoanalytic therapy technique intended to explore threatening material repressed into the unconscious.
– The patient is instructed to say whatever comes to mind without censoring
dream analysis
psychoanalytic therapy method in which dream contents are examined as symbolic of id impulses and intrapsychic conflicts
psychodynamic psychotherapy
contemporary version of psychoanalysis that still emphasizes unconscious processes and conflicts but is briefer and more focused on specific problems
process emphasized in humanistic psychology in which people strive to achieve their highest potential against difficult life experiences
person-centered therapy
therapy method in which the client, rather than the counselor, primarily directs the course of discussion, seeking self-discovery and self-responsibility
unconditional positive regard
acceptance by the counselor of the client’s feelings and actions without judgment or condemnation
behavioral model
explanation of human behavior, including dysfunction, based on principles of learning and adaptation derived from experimental psychology
classical conditioning
An event that automatically elicits a response is paired with another stimulus event that does not.
(fundamental learning process first described by Ivan Pavlov.)
learning process in which a response maintained by reinforcement in operant conditioning or pairing in classical conditioning decreases when that reinforcement or pairing is removed
John Watson
despised Freud’s model bc “can’t see it, count it, weigh it”

Founder of *Behaviorism:*
– scientific emphasis
– objective
– radical empiricism
– “Little Albert” experiment

systematic desensitization
behavioral therapy technique to diminish excessive fears, involving gradual exposure to the feared stimulus paired with a positive coping experience, usually relaxation
behavior therapy
array of therapy methods based on the principles of behavioral and cognitive science, as well as principles of learning as applied to clinical problems.
in operant conditioning, consequences for behavior that strengthen it or increase its frequency
B.F. Skinner
– Behavior “operates” on environment
– reinforcements
– punishments
– behavior “shaping”
in operant conditioning, the development of a new response by reinforcing successively more similar versions of that response.

(Both desirable and undesirable behaviors may be learned in this manner)

Behavioral model
Classical conditioning, systematic desensitization, & operant conditioning
Humanistic theory
Person-centered therapy with unconditional positive regard
Psychoanalytic theory
Hypnosis, psychoanalysis-like free association & dream analysis, & balance of the id, ego, and superego
Categories: Abnormal Psychology