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Chapter 2

PSY751 chapter two notes

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Ryerson University
PSY 751
Mark Cole

ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY Chapter 2 – Current Paradigms Paradigm: A set of assumptions, a general perspective, that defines how to conceptualize and study a subject, how to gather and interpret the data, even how to think of a particular subject Scientists work within different paradigms, which influence the way they approach topics, how they collect data, how they conduct experiments, and how they interpret data. Each paradigm has its own biases The Biological Paradigm (a.k.a medical model/disease model) Is a continuation of the somatogenic point of view. It holds that mental illness is caused by dysfunctional biological processes. The biological paradigm was the dominant one for the majority of time psychopathology was studied. Most dominant between the late 1800s to mid 1900s Contemporary Approaches to the Biological Paradigm Behaviour Genetics Behaviour Genetics: The study of individual differences in behaviour that are attributed, in part, to differences in genetic makeup When a sperm and an egg come together, they form a zygote with 46 chromosomes, each with thousands of genes Genotype is the total genetic makeup of an individual (unobservable), whereas phenotype is the observable characteristics of an individual. Neither of these are fixed, unchanging entities; they change over time Note that many psychological disorders are not problems with the genotype, but rather the phenotype (phenotype = mix of the genetic makeup and environmental factors) Therefore it is incorrect to say that a psychological disorder can be directly inherited. Only the genotypic portion is inherited (through the genes of the parents). Whether or not the psychological disorder develops in the child depends on their life experiences and traumas Therefore a predisposition to develop a disorder is inherited, not the actual disorder itself. 4 methods are used to study the likelihood of inheriting a predisposition for a disorder: 1. Comparison of family members 2. Twin studies 3. Adoptee studies 4. Linkage studies a. Family Comparison Because the average number of genes shared between family members is known, it is possible to discover the level of inheritance by finding a relationship between the number of shared genes and the prevalence of a disorder in a family First a group of people with the mental illness being studied are gathered (called the probands or index cases). Then first degree relatives (parents, sisters, brothers. share 50% genetic makeup) are studied and second degree relatives (nieces & nephews. Share 25%). For a predisposition to be inherited, the first degree relatives should have the disorder at a higher rate than the general public. b. Twin Method Monozygotic and Dizygotic twins are compared to see if a disorder is concordant and therefore heritable If a disorder is found in both MZ twins (who share 100% of their genetic makeup) they are said to be concordant. For a predisposition to be heritable, the rate of concordance must be higher for MZ twins than DZ twins c. Adoptee Method Studies children adopted and reared away from their biological parents. The prevalence of the disorder in both parent and child are compared to those of parents living with their children. d. Linkage Analysis A method in molecular genetics where scientists compare the location of a known inherited trait – a genetic marker - with the occurrence of a heavily concentrated disorder within a family. If the occurrence of the psychological disorder goes with the occurrence of the known trait (the genetic marker) it is assumed they are both on the same chromosome, on similar locations Scientists often hypothesize the gene-environment interactions in that they believe the development of a disorder has to do with genes + environment. Therefore if they find a link for a psychological disorder they hypothesize that the disorder will develop IF they come across the right environmental triggers It is difficult to interpret the data from this method because it is unknown what degree of the concordance has to do with the genetic predisposition inheritance and what degree has to do with the upbringing and experience Neuroscience & Biochemistry in the Nervous System Different neurotransmitters may cause different psychopathologies. I.e. too much norepinephrine may cause anxiety disorders, too much dopamine may cause schizophrenia, and too much serotonin may cause depression) Failure in the reuptake process may cause psychopathologies also (results in too much or too little neurotransmitters). Also hyper or hyposensitive receptors may cause problems. In cases where biological reasons explain the cause of developmental disorders, psychoactive drugs are the most effective means for dealing with them Evaluating the Biological Paradigm The biological paradigm has made great strides coming up with a treatment method for mental illnesses however it has also relied on the notion of reductionism Reductionism: The idea that whatever is being studied can and should be reduced to its most basic elements or constituents. In terms of the biological paradigm that is to say the complexity of a mental illness can be reduced to simple biology The Psychoanalytic Paradigm (Freud) The psychoanalytic/psychodynamic paradigm states psychopathology results from unconscious conflicts in the individual Structure of the Mind Freud divided the mind into 3 areas: the id, ego, and superego. The id is present at birth and is accountable for all of the energy that runs the psyche. It deals with basic primal urges (food, water, elimination, warmth, affection, sex) and wants to obtain these goals regardless of the rules and regulations of reality It runs on the Pleasure Principle: when the id is not satisfied, tension is produced and the id strives to eliminate the tension. I.e. if a baby is hungry, it will move about to eat and relieve the tension of hunger Also may use the Primary Process thinking, generating images of what is desired to reduce the tension that comes along with it The ego is primarily conscious and begins from 6-12 months. Its main goal is to deal with reality It uses the secondary process thinking: it realizes that the Pleasure Principle is not the best way of obtaining what you want because of society’s rules and regulations, so it goes by the reality principle by mediating between the demands of reality and the immediate gratification desired by the id The superego operates mostly on the conscious level and develops through childhood. It is responsible for incorporating their parent’s values as their own to receive their approval and avoid punishment Freud believed that most of the important determinants of behaviour to be in the unconscious. Neurotic Anxiety Objective (realistic) anxiety: The ego’s reaction to the dangers of the external world Neurotic anxiety: A feeling of fear that is not connected to reality or any real threat Moral Anxiety: Arises when the impulses from the superego punish an individual for not meeting expectations and thereby satisfying the Perfection principle Defence Mechanisms Defence mechanisms: An unconsciously used strategy to protect the ego from anxiety. Used to defend against neurotic anxiety (not objective anxiety which can be dealt with reasonably). Include: a. Repression: pushing unacceptable impulses and thoughts into the unconscious. Because they are repressed, these memories cannot be corrected and retain their intensity b. Denial: Involves disbelieving a traumatic event by pushing them into the unconscious c. Projections: Attributing characteristics to others that one possesses but cannot accept in their constant awareness d. Displacement: Redirecting emotional responses from a perhaps dangerous object to a substitute (i.e. yelling at ones spouse instead of their boss) e. Reaction Formation: Converting ones feelings (i.e. hatred) into the opposite feeling (in this case love) f. Regression: retreating to a behavioural pattern of an earlier age g. Rationalization: inventing a reason for an unreasonable action or attitude h. Sublimation: Converting sexual or aggressive impulses into socially valued behaviours, especially creative ones. Most, but not all, defence mechanisms are maladaptive Relationship of Psychodynamic Concepts to Psychopathology Freud believed that psychopathologies were caused by an extremely strong drive from the id that contributes to the development of unconscious conflicts Oedipal Conflicts: Freud’s controversial belief that when boys are 4 or 5, they covet their mothers (unconsciously) Neo-Freudian Psychodynamic Perspective Many of Freud’s understudies disagree with some of Freud’s believes but all agreed with the fact a mixture of the 3 dynamics plays an important role in behaviour Psychoanalytic Therapy Classical psychoanalysis is based on Freud’s second theory of neurotic anxiety When the conscious ego encounters something that reminds it of a repressed conflict from childhood, the body is overcome by debilitating tension (neurotic anxiety). He believes once these unconscious habits are taped, they can be resolved. Free association is one of the techniques used to tap into unconscious conflicts. Patients are told to lay on a couch and talk freely without censoring what they say. Eventually patients will stop resisting and confess what is repressed. When an emotional issue is reached, it is not uncommon for the patient to show resistance (pauses or sudden changing of the topic) it is these areas scientists want to inquire further. Dream analysis is another analytic technique. It is hypothesized that during sleep, the ego’s defence mechanisms are relaxed, allowing normally repressed material to enter a sleepers consciousness. However the material is extremely threatening so it is converted into highly symbolic content (latent content) Counter transference refers to the analysts feelings towards the patient. They must be aware of their feelings so they can properly analyse the patient. Modifications in Psychoanalytic Therapy With time, psychoanalytical therapy has evolved. New innovations include psychoanalysis for groups and not just individuals. Ego Analysis: A type of psychoanalysis that focuses more on one’s ability to control the environment and control times and places to satisfy basic urges. Also, they focus more on people’s current living condition than Freud did. Finally they hold that the ego is more influential than Freud thought and is present at birth Brief Psychodynamic Therapy: Originally, Freud’s idea of psychoanalysis was brief. The analyst should make it clear that the sessions were going to be limited and they should get to the root of the problem quickly and effectively. However as time passed classical therapy could take years to complete. As a result a shorter, briefer, less time-consuming method was created partly because of more pressure from the government Interpersonal Psychodynamic Therapy: This type of therapy emphasizes interactions between the patient and the analyst. Unlike classic psychoanalysis, the therapist is not a ‘blank, emotionless screen for transference’ but rather communicates and affects how the patient thinks Stems from belief that problems arise from the misperception of reality caused by disorganized and poor interpersonal relations between child and mother Evaluating Psychoanalytical Paradigm One problem with this paradigm is that it does not remain objective: it relies heavily on anecdotes and stories told by the patient and therefore has no scientific merit Also, Freud’s Id, ego, and superego are merely metaphors for psychic function (functions of different parts of the conscious and unconsciousness) and there is no proof they actually exist Humanistic & Existential Paradigms (Rogers) Similar to psychoanalysis in that they are both insight-focused and believe problems are caused by a lack of insight and that by making an individual aware of these motives, one can be treated It does have differences: psychoanalysis believes that basic human nature (id) is in need of restraints whereas the humanistic approach places more emphasis on freedom of choice Carl Roger’s Client-Centered Therapy Roger’s client-centered therapy is based on several assumptions:  People can be understood only from the vantage point of their own feelings & perceptions; a person much focus on how they perceive events and experiences, not the actual experiences
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