PSYC 235 Chapter Notes - Chapter 18: Psychoanalysis, Countertransference

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7 Apr 2015
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Chapter 18: The Treatment of Psychological Disorders
Psychological Disorders and Psychotherapy
Psychological disorders are viewed as illnesses, much the same as physical
diseases
Early Treatment
In early times, people suffering from psychological disorders were believed to be
possessed by demons or were accused or being witches; regarded with fear or awe
and subjected to torture
The first known attempts to treat disorders was trephining: a surgical procedure
in which a hole is made in the skull of a living person to allow “evil spirits” to
escape the persons head
Eventually, the belief in witchcraft and demonology waned and people with
psychological disorders were regarded as ill; consigned to various asylums
established for the care of the mentally ill
16th and 17th century asylums were extraordinarily inhumane; patients were
chained and subjected to terrible treatments
Philippe Pinel, a French physician, believed that mental patients would respond
favorably to kind treatment; often credited with changing the asylum environment
in the late 18th century
As an experiment, Pinel removed chains from some of the patients, took them out
of the dungeons and allowed them to walk about the hospital grounds; orderliness
and general calm replaced the previous noise, stench, and persuasive aura of
despairs, and many patients were eventually discharged
Pinel’s success encouraged similar reforms elsewhere
Development of Psychotherapy
Most therapists adopt the general, eclectic approach: a form of therapy in which
the therapist uses whatever method he or she feels will work best for a particular
client at a particular time
This often meant combining aspects of different treatment approaches according
to a client’s particular problem and circumstances
Regardless of theoretical orientation, all therapists have in common a strong
commitment to helping people solve their problems, and people seeking therapy
share the element of being at a low point in life and that alternative solutions, such
as trying to solve the problem alone of with the help of friends and family, have
not been satisfactory
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