Abnormal Psychology 270
Mr. Andy Scherff
8 February 2013
1. Describe how effective psychological therapy is in treating psychological disorders. Next,
discuss three problems with psychology’s diagnostic system. Finally, discuss two
problems determining the effectiveness of psychological treatment.
i. Behavioral therapies are the most effective for phobias because of styles
such as flooding- desensitizing the patient to the phobia by slowly
exposing the phobia with encouraging, reassuring, and soothing
discussion. Cognitive Behavioral therapy is most effective for Obsessive
Compulsive Disorder because the therapy approaches deviant, distressful,
and dysfunctional behavior and attempts to change the patient’s thought
process of the ritual so the patient no longer feels the compulsion to
perform the behavior.
ii. Problems with the diagnostic system occur because of the clinician has to
make qualitative judgments of what he or she considers deviant,
distressful, dysfunctional, and sometimes dangerous behavior. These
judgments can vary by time and culture. EX. Homosexuality was
considered a disorder up until the DMS- 2 Edition, a working handbook or all recognized mental disorders with operational and conceptual
definitions and criteria of the symptoms. Clinicians must determine the
diagnostic from “labels”. EX. He or she must distinguish whether the
patient has GeneralAnxiety Disorder or a more specific anxiety like Panic
Disorder from shared symptoms.
iii. Problems occur with any professional help because doctors may differ in
therapeutic practice and patients may vary in motivation for therapy. EX.
Apatient may find more motivation with Cognitive Behavioral therapy
than simply Behavioral therapy.
2. Discuss cognitive and biological factors associated with panic attacks. How would you
treat a patient’s Panic Disorder?
i. Aperson suffering from a Panic Disorder may interpret sweaty hands, a
racing heart, or even an upset stomach as a trigger into a panic attack.
They start believe they are “losing control”, and get into the mentality that
“it is happening again.”
ii. Studies have shown that people suffering from Panic Disorder have
irregular activity of a stress hormone that is a neurotransmitter in most
sympathetic neurons in the central nervous system. Thus, causing the
person to circuit a “fight or flight stimulus” and stimulate an “alarm and
escape response”, pushing him or her into a panic attack.
iii. To treat a patient with Panic Disorder, I would teach the patient relaxation
techniques such as Pranayama, a specialized yoga focusing on breathing, which literally translates to “breath-control”.Also, I would encourage the
patient that they have control over their own body and attempt to redirect
their thinking of a potential panic attack into reasonable causes for his or
3. Discuss three irrational thoughts you would try to “fix” with a patient diagnosed with
GeneralizedAnxiety Disorder and how you would treat these thoughts.
i. Aperson suffering from GAD will encounter some common thought
processes. For example, “it is best to assume the worst”, I would
encourage the patient that not every situation will turn out the way he or
she plans but that does not necessarily mean the outcome will be the
ii. “I am not safe until proven safe”, I would discourage this thought process
by a Behavioral therapy. I would give him or her, a pyramid of goals that
will diminish this irrational thought over time.
iii. “If I am not competent in all that I do, I have achieved nothing.” I would
use a Cognitive Behavioral therapy; I would attempt to change his or her
standard of thinking of accomplishments to eliminate some of the pressure
that leads to anxiety.
4. Discuss the cognitive and behavioral roots of OCD; explain how you would treat a
patient’s OCD. i. The cognitive roots of OCD stem from a person attempting to relieve him
of her from a negative feeling by performing a behavior or ritual. For
example, someone could develop a compulsion of washing their hands by
trying to relieve the mentality that they will get sick from the germs on
ii. People with OCD are believed to stumble upon their compulsions
randomly. For example, if a parent catches their baby choking at night he
or she may develop a compulsion to check on the child to reassure him or
herself that the baby is breathing and is safe. Or if the parent sees the baby
doing something potentially dangerous, they may develop a protective
compulsion over their child.
iii. To treat a patient with OCD I would attempt to change the patient’s
mentality by helping him or her steer away from the reassuring behavior. I