Chapter 1 Notes

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22 Jun 2011

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Chapter 1
Introduction: Definitional and Historical Considerations and Canada’s Mental Health System
Brett’s Childhood
Had difficulty in maintaining an erection when making love to his wife
Had difficulty maintain an erection when making love to his wife
He had a difficult childhood, his mother passed away when he was 6 and his father was a heavy drinker,
diagnoses with manic depressive psychosis and could only afford to live in rundown neighbourhoods, thus
he lived with his aunt for many weeks
He managed to get to university with a loan, but then experienced bouts of sadness followed by manic
elation (like his father)
He was extremely nervous and self conscious
He became a police, but his mood swings still bothered him
In his thirties him and his wife wanted a family, but he was unable to achieve an erection
He also became suspicious of his wife, for she was becoming more beautiful than ever
One day she came home late, he was already drunk, he accused her of infidelity, she taunted him of his
inability to make love, and he left and now is seeking professional help
Psychopathology: the field concerned with nature and development of abnormal behaviour, thoughts, and
Another challenge of abnormal psychology is the need to remain objective
What is Abnormal Behaviour?
There is no single one definition that is adequate
The best definition of abnormal behaviour includes such characteristics of; statistical frequency, violation
of norms, personal distress, disability or dysfunction, and unexpectedness
The following 5 characteristics provide a framework for defining abnormality
Statistical Infrequency
One aspect of abnormal behaviour is that its infrequent
The normal curve, or bell shaped curve, places the majority o people in the middle in any characteristic
(very few people are at either end or extremes)
When someone is considerednormal” it is that he or she doesn’t deviate much from the average
This statistical infrequency is used explicitly in diagnosing mental retardation
oWhen an individual’s IQ is below 70 they are considered subnormal and considered mentally
But not all behaviours that are infrequent are abnormal (ex. great athletic ability)
Violation of Norms
Whether the behaviour violates social norms or threatens or makes anxious those observing it helps
categorize it as abnormal
There are exceptions to this also; criminals and prostitutes break social norms but are not considered
abnormal or need to e studied within the domain of abnormal psychology
Cultural diversity can affect how people view social norms
oWhat is normal in one culture may be abnormal in another
Personal Distress
It can be considered abnormal if it creates personal suffering, great distress, and torments the person
Again there are exceptions though
oPsychopath (treat others coldheartedly and may continuously violate the law without experiencing
any guilt, remorse, or anxiety whatsoever)
oAlso, not all forms of distress (hunger, or pain of childbirth) belong in this field
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Disability or dysfunction
Another component of abnormality is disability or dysfunction
Disability: impairment in some important area of life because of an abnormality
oEx. Work or personal relationships
Ex. Brett’s marital relationship
Substance abuse also fits, as well as phobia (that can produce distress and disability)
Disability applies to some but all disorders
oTransvestism: cross dressing for sexual pleasure
Distress and disability are considered abnormal when they are unexpected responses to environmental
Ex. Hunger is an expected response to not eating
Brett was experiencing some life stress, but many people do so without developing psychological problems
The Mental Health Professions
Clinical psychologist
oRequires Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree (4-7 years of graduate study)
In Canada, depending upon regulatory statues, a psychologist may have either a doctoral- or a master’s-
level degree
In some jurisdictionspsychologist” is reserved for doctoral-level registrants where as master’s level
registrants are referred to as psychological associates
there is no consensus among the provinces on the minimal academic requirements, the required length of
supervised practise, and the timing of such practise
later there was an agreement on internal trade (AIT), that said in order to become registered as a
psychologist, 5 competency areas must be
ointerpersonal relationships
oassessment and evaluation
ointervention and consultation
oethics and standards
training requires heavy laboratory work, research design, statistics, and the empirically based study of
human and animal behaviour
A psychiatrist holds an M.D. degree and has had postgraduate training (called residency)
oThey give physical examinations, diagnosing medical problems
oPrescribe psychoactive drugs, chemical compounds that can influence how people think
A psychoanalyst has received specialized training at a psychoanalytic institute
oInvolves several years of clinical training as well as the in-depth psychoanalysis of the trainee
oSigmund Freud
Social worker obtains an M.S.W (masters of social work) degree
Counselling psychologists are similar to clinical psychologists but they have less emphasis on research
and the more severe forms of psychopathology
A psychiatric nurse specializes in working in the mental health field
History of Psychopathology
Before the age of scientific inquiry, all good and bad manifestations of power being the control of human
kind (eclipses, earthquakes etc) were seen as supernatural
Unexplainable behaviour was also outside the individual’s control and seem like that as well
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Many physicians, philosophers, theologians, believed the deviancy reflected the displeasures of the gods or
possessions by demons
Early Demonology
Demonology: the doctrine that an evil being, such as the devil, may dwell within a person and control his
or her mind and body
Its treatment often involved exorcism: the casting out of evil spirits by ritualistic chanting or torture
(elaborate rites of prayer, noisemaking, drinking brews, starvation etc)
Trepanning: of skulls, making of surgical opening in a living skull by some instrument
oA way of treating or relieving conditions such as epilepsy, headaches, and psychological disorders
attributed to the demons within the cranium
oIt believed that the evil spirits could escape through this opening
Hippocrates believed that the reasons for these disorders were not the demons but a medical aspect of
treatment should be used
Hippocrates regarded the brain as the organ of consciousness, intellectual life and emotion
He though that deviant thinking and behaviour were some indications of brain pathology
Somatogenesis: the notion that something wrong with the soma, or physical body, disturbs thought and
Psychogenesis: the belief that a disturbance has psychological origins
He classified mental disorders into 3 categories:
Treatment: tranquility, sobriety, care in choosing food and drink, and no sex
oPhrenitis or brain fever
He also believed the body was on delicate balance among 4 humours: blood (temperament), black bile
(melancholia), yellow bile (irritability and anxiousness) and phlegm (sluggish and dull). And that an
imbalance produced the disorders. These did not withstand later scientific scrutiny
Hippocrates naturalistic approach was generally accepted
The Dark Ages and Demonology
Over several centuries of decay, Christian monasteries, through their missionary and educational work,
replaced physicians and healers and as authorities on mental disorders
During the 13th century, a populace was already suffering from social unrest and recurrent famines and
plagues (again turned to demonology for the explanation to this)
People in Europe became obsessed with the devil and witchcraft was viewed as instigated by Satan. At one
time all the blame was to the witches and they were persecuted
1484, the Malleus Maleficarum (the witches hammer) was a guide to witch hunts
Those accused of witch craft were to be tortured if they did not confess; those convicted and penitent were
to be imprisoned for life
Then it was believed that it was the mentally ill who were considered witches and they were tortured
From the 13th, Europe grew larger and hospitals were built by municipal authorities
othe mad were kept safe until they are restored for reason”
oLunacy trials were also held to determine a person’s sanity
Development of Asylums
15th and 16th century hospitals were converted to asylums, rogues established for the confinement and care
of the mentally ill
Bethlehem was an asylum for the mentally ill; later it came to be a great tourist attraction, by the late 19th
century, people were viewing their violent patients as entertainment and tickets were even sold
Other Asylums
oLunatics tower (Vienna, 1784)
Medical treatment were often crude and painful
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