Chapter one

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5 Aug 2010

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Health System
Had difficulty in maintaining an erection when making love to his wife
Had difficulty in maintaining 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,
diagnosed 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 as statistical infrequency, 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 of people in the middle in any characteristic (very
few people are at either end or extremes)
This statistical infrequency is used explicitly in diagnosing mental retardation
¾ When an individual¶V,4LVEHORZ, they are considered subnormal and considered mentally retarded
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 be studied within the domain of abnormal psychology
Cultural diversity can affect how people view social norms
¾ What is normal in one culture may be abnormal in another
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Personal Distress
It can be considered abnormal if it creates personal suffering, great distress, and torments the person
Again there are exceptions though
¾ Psychopath (treat others coldheartedly and may continuously violate the law without experiencing any
guilt, remorse, or anxiety whatsoever)
¾ Also, not all forms of distress (hunger, or pain of childbirth) belong in this field
Disability or dysfunction
Another component of abnormality is disability or dysfunction
Disability: impairment in some important area of life because of an abnormality
¾ Ex. Work or personal relationships
Substance abuse also fits, as well as phobia (that can produce distress and disability)
Disability applies to some but not all disorders
¾ Transvestism: cross dressing for sexual pleasure
Not all distress of disability fall into the realm of abnormal psychology
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
Focus on Discovery 1.1: The Mental Health Professions
Clinician: the various professionals authorized to provide psychological services
Clinical psychologist
¾ Requires 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- RUDPDVWHU¶V-level
In some jurisdictions, the term ³psychologist´LVUHVHUYHG IRU GRFWRUDO-OHYHOUHJLVWUDQWVZKHUHDVPDVWHU¶V
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 met:
¾ interpersonal relationships
¾ assessment and evaluation (including diagnosis)
¾ intervention and consultation
¾ research
¾ ethics and standards
training requires heavy laboratory work, research design, statistics, and the empirically based study of human
and animal behaviour
candidates in clinical psychology learn skills in two additional areas which distinguishes them from other
Ph.D. candidates in psychology:
¾ they learn techniques of assessment and diagnosis of mental disorders, and
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¾ they learn how to practice Psychotherapy (a primarily verbal means of helping troubled individuals change
their behaviours, thoughts and feelings and to achieve greater life satisfaction)
A Psy.D. is focused more on practice than are traditional Ph.D. programs
A psychiatrist holds an M.D. degree and has had postgraduate training (called residency)
¾ They can also give physical examinations, diagnosing medical problems
¾ However, they mainly prescribe psychoactive drugs, chemical compounds that can influence how people
A psychoanalyst has received specialized training at a psychoanalytic institute
¾ Involves several years of clinical training as well as the in-depth psychoanalysis of the trainee
MD and a psychiatric residency
¾ Can take up to 10 years of graduate work to become a psychoanalyst
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 beyond the control of human
kind (eclipses, earthquakes etc) were seen as supernatural
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, the making of surgical opening in a living skull by some instrument
o A way of treating or relieving conditions such as epilepsy, headaches, and psychological disorders
attributed to the demons within the cranium
o It believed that the evil spirits could escape through this opening
Hippocrates believed that the reasons for these disorders were not the demons, but rather 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 action
Psychogenesis: the belief that a disturbance has psychological origins
He classified mental disorders into 3 categories:
¾ Mania
¾ Melancholia
Treatment: tranquility, sobriety, care in choosing food and drink, and no sex
¾ Phrenitis (or brain fever)
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