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Lecture 1

Psychology 2030A/B Lecture 1: chapter 1

12 Pages

Course Code
Psychology 2030A/B
Bruce Morrison

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Chapter 1 Abnormal Behaviour in Historical Context Psychological disorder a (1) psychological dysfunction within an individual that is (2) associated with distress or impairment in functioning and (3) a response that is not typical or culturally expected Jody The Boy Who Fainted at the Sight of Blood Jody was a 16-year old boy who had blood-injury-injection phobia Phobia a psychological disorder characterized by marked and persistent fear of an object or situation. Phobias as severe as Jodys can be very disabling and result in avoiding certain careers or people or in this case, may pose a health risk if he refuses needles and injections. Psychological dysfunction refers to a breakdown in cognitive, emotional or behavioural functioning. Personal Distress or Impairment - defining a psychological disorder by distress alone does not work o in some disorders by definition, suffering and distress are absent (ie. Person who feels extremely elated and acts impulsively as part of a manic episode o often normal to feel distressed - defining psychological disorder by impairment alone does not work o many people are shy or lazy but this doesnt mean they are abnormal but if they are so shy they cannot speak to people then your social functioning is impaired o most psychological disorders are simply extreme expressions of otherwise normal emotions, behaviours or cognitive processes Atypical or not culturally expected - sometimes, something is considered abnormal because it occurs infrequently and it deviates from the average o however this isnt a definition of disorder - another view is that your behaviour is abnormal if you are violating social norms - according to Wakefield, a psychological disorder is caused by a failure of one or more mechanisms to perform their evolved function and the dysfunction produces harm or distress o Advantage: it provides a potentially objective or scientific view of dysfunction It also allows a subjective or culturally bound consideration of harm and distress - It is also useful to determine whether the behaviour beyond the individuals control - DSM-5 acknowledges that it is difficult to provide a clear definition of psychological disorders - In conclusion what is normal and abnormal is difficult to define The most widely accepted definition used in the DSM-5 of a psychological disorder: -behavioural, psychological or biological dysfunctions that are unexpected in their cultural context and associated with present distress and impairment in functioning, or increased risk of suffering, death, pain, or impairment. Some health professionals believe that we will never be able to satisfactorily define disease or disorder - Perhaps the best we can do is consider how the apparent disease or disorder matches a typical profile of a disorder - We call this typical profile a prototype - All diagnostic criteria from DSM-5 are prototypes - This means that the patient may only have some symptoms of the disorder (a minimum number) and still meet the criteria for the disorder because it is close to the prototype Controversial figures include Thomas Szasz and George Albee - Szasz said that mental illness was a myth and the practice of labelling mental illness should be abolished - Albee suggested that the biggest mistake made by clinical psychologists was uncritically accepting concept of mental disease The Science of Psychopathology Psychopathology the scientific study of psychological disorders - In Canada, depending on the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories, a psychologist may have either a doctoral or a masters degree - The labels psychotherapist and therapist are not regulated by provinces or territories o These terms are also not specific to a particular profession (social workers, psychologist, psychiatrist) - therefore the label psychologist conveys information about the training and qualifications of the professional whereas the label of psychotherapist does not - Psychologists with specialty training like experimental and social psychologists focus on investigating behaviour but do not assess or treat psychologist disorders - Counselling psychologists can receive a PhD, Psy.D, Ed.D --- doctor of education, or a masters degree in counselling) o Tend to treat adjustment issues encounters by relatively healthy individuals o COMPARED to clinical psychologists concentrate on severe psychological disorders - Psychiatrists earn an MD in medical school and then specialize in psychiatry in a 3 or 4 year residency o Investigate the causes of psychological disorders *often from a biological point of view, make diagnoses and offer treatments - Psychiatric social workers earn a masters degree in socialwork o Collect information relevant to the social or family situation of the individual with a psychological disorder o Also treat disorders often concentrating on family problems associated with them - Psychiatric nurses advanced degrees such as a masters or PhD o Specialize in care and treatment of patients with a psychological disorder - Marriage and family therapists and mental health counsellors masters degree and usually under the supervision of a doctoral-level clinician The Scientist-Practitioner - many mental health professionals take a scientific approach to their clinical work and are referred to as scientist-practitioners - they may function as a scientist-practitioner in at least one of the three ways: 1) Consumer of science - they may keep up with the latest scientific developments in their field and use the best empirically supported diagnostic and treatment procedures o this approach is often called evidence-based practice 2) Evaluator of science - they evaluate their own assessments or treatment procedures to see whether they work (determining the effectiveness) 3) Creator of science - they might conduct research, often in clinics or hospitals, that produces new information about disorders or their treatment 3 Major categories compose the study and discussion of psychological disorders 1. Clinical description 2. Causation (etiology) 3. Treatment and outcome Clinical Description - Presents is the traditional shorthand way of saying why the person came to the clinic o A patient presents with this set of problems - Clinical description represents the combination of behaviours, thoughts and feelings that make up a specific disorder o Clinical refers to the types of problems you would find in a clinic or hospital and also refers to the activities connected with assessment and treatment - Prevalence how many people in the population as a whole have the disorder? - Incidence how many new cases occur during a given period such as a year - Sex ratio what proportion of males and females have the disorder - Age of onset differs from one disorder to another - Course most disorders follow a somewhat individual pattern, or course o Chronic course tend to last a long time o Episodic course individual can recover in a few months only to have it recur later o Time-limited course the disorder will improve without treatment in a relatively short period - Different age of onset o Acute onset disorder begins suddenly o Insidious onset disorder develops gradually over timeo It is important to know the course of a disorder so we know what to expect and how to deal with the problem - Patients age also may be an important part of the clinical description o Children are often misdiagnosed and treated for a medical disorder when they are just experiencing anxiety and panic and their reaction is mistaken for symptoms of physical illness Causation, Treatment and Outcomes Etiology the study of origins or how a disorder begins and includes biological, psychological and social dimensions - important to note that the effect does not necessarily imply the cause o nevertheless treatment can provide useful hints about the nature of the disorder The Supernatural Tradition - in late 14 century, society as a whole began to believe in the reality and power of demons a
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