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Lecture 1

Psy Beh 155C Lecture 1: All Child Therapies Lecture Notes

Psychology and Social Behavior
Course Code
Kara Thorsen

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Psychology 155C Lecture Notes
Chapter 1: Introduction to Child Therapies; Historical Views and Evolving Treatment
Historical Views of Children
oChildren were viewed as miniature adults
oForced to work as coal miners, field hands, or beggars
oLittle Concern for children’s needs, rights, and care before the 1900s
Healthy Child Development
oSocial Philosophy: Value of children beyond serving a purpose 
oMedical, educational, and psychological resources devoted to children 
oCompetent, health children
View of Children: 1600s and 1700s
o2/3 children died before their 5th birthday
Often harsh or neglectful
Extreme neglect, physical and sexual abuse went unnoticed; considered an
adult’s right
oSocietal view
Children are the exclusive property and responsibility of parents
oInto mid-1800s, children with severe developmental disabilities were allowed to
be kept in cages and cellars
Children’s Mental Health
oInterest in abnormal child behavior was fairly absent until the end of the 1700s
Church influence: attribution of disturbing behavior due to:
Inherently uncivilized and provocative nature
Possession by the devil
Improved View of Children
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John Locke – tabula rasa
Humane care and social protection of children
Jean Marc Itard and Victor – the “wild boy of Aveyron’
Landmark case:
One of the first people to attempt to improve the care, treatment,
and training of “mental defectives”
There is a “critical period” for many aspects of development, but
children with special needs can show improvement; investment is
worth it!
oEnd of 1800s: Universal education
Why are some children unable to handle school?
Leta Hollingworth:
Distinction: “imbeciles” (intellectual disability) or “lunatics”
(psychiatric or mental disorder)
Children’s emotional and behavioral problems due to inept
treatment and lack of intellectual challenge
Raising Standards of Care for the Mentally Ill
oDorothea Dix (1802-1887): established 32 (slightly more) humane mental
hospitals for troubled youths previously kept in cages and cellars
Dissemination of reliable information
Some improvements to detection and intervention methods
oPublic still frightened and ill-informed
Conceptualization o Mental Illness
oMoral Insanity  Organic disease
oWhat was the first “mental disorder” unique to children and adolescents?
Masturbatory Insanity
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oBecame the most frequently mentioned “cause” of psychopathology in children
oMoral convictions regarding the wrongfulness of masturbation influenced science
The Heinous Sin of Self-Pollu4on (published in 1700s, but ideas remained
until early 1900s)
oImportance of scientific skepticism and base rates
Conceptualization of Mental Illness
oLate 1800s: Medical Advances
Moral insanity  organic disease
Treatment of many infectious diseases strengthened the belief that illness
and disease, including mental illness, were biological problems
Political and social views influenced definitions of child psychopathology
Little consideration of objective scientific findings
The biological model
oMental illness is disease; resides within the person
oLimitations of this conceptualization:
Limits developmental explanations
Limited intervention to most visible/prominent disorders
Ex: psychoses and intellectual disability
Neglects the role of environment, context, and relations, and the
interactions among them
oEarly 1900s:
Cautious optimism  dire pessimism, hostility and disdain
People with intellectual disability blamed for crimes
Mental illness and intellectual disability were diseases that could
be spread
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