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Lecture 1

PSYC 356 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Psychiatric Services, Drapetomania, Psych

Course Code
PSYC 356
Martin Davidson

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Psych 356: Developmental Psychopathology (or young people suffering)
Thinking critically
Don’t just believe everything you hear
Be careful about assumptions
“What do you mean by that?”
Take some responsibility for learning something
Depth not breadth
Suffering vs illness/disorder
What’s a feeling?
Emotional state
Physiological/mental reaction to an event
Everyone “feels” differently
If we can’t define it, why are we measuring it?
When does this become an illness?
Interference with normal functioning
Illness = something you need to cure, some ailment that causes debilitating
Who draws the line between suffering and medical illness?
How do we draw this line?
What does it mean/what are the implications of turning suffering into illness?
Key assumptions of Illness approach
Psychological suffering located in brain; can be reduced to biochemical
This necessarily makes suffering medical (bodily processes gone awry)
Dispatch illness by fixing physiological dysfunction
A symptom is a symptom; a cigar is a cigar
Meaning of symptoms is not a concern
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Other ways of looking at suffering
Emerges from transaction with the universe
Consider case conceptualization; tell a story
Still disordered inside?
Stemming from formative developmental experiences
Alters way of seeing (and being in) the world
What’s a disorder/diagnosis? Give it a name
What’s a “disorder”?
DSM definition
General, operational definition
What a professional treats
Dysfunction of underlying biological system
Antipsychiatry definitions: understandable reactions to society
DSM definition
A mental disorder is a syndrome characterized by clinically significant
disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behaviour that reflects a
dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental
functioning. Mental disorders are usually associated with significant distress or disability in
social, occupational, or other important activities. An expectable or culturally approved response
to a common stressor loss, such as the death of a loved one, is not a mental disorder. Socially
deviant behaviour (e.g., political, religious, or sexual) and conflicts that are primarily between
the individual and society are not mental disorders unless the deviance or conflict results from a
dysfunction in the individual, as described above.
Syndrome vs. Disease
Collection of signs and symptoms that frequently appear together (scattered
particulars). No known cause
E.g. Depression, anxiety
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