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Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Introduction - Definitional and Historical Considerations, and Canada’s Mental Health System

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Mark Schmuckler

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B32: Abnormal Psychology Chapter 1: Introduction - Definitional and Historical Considerations, and Canadas Mental Health System As we approach the study of psychopathology, the field concerned with the nature and development of abnormal behaviour, thoughts, and feelings, we do well to keep in mind that the subject offers few hard and fast answers, WHAT IS ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY? Abnormality is usually determined by the presence of several characteristics at one time. Abnormal behaviour- pattern of emotion, thought, and action deemed pathological for one or more of the following reasons: infrequent occurrence, violation of norms, personal distress, disability or dysfunction, and unexpectedness. Statistical Infrequency One aspect of abnormal behaviour is that it is infrequent. The normal curve places the majority of people in the middle as far as any particular characteristic is concerned; very few people fall at either extreme. An assertion that a person is normal implies that heshe does not deviate much from the average in a particular trait or behaviour pattern. Statistical infrequency is used in diagnosing mental retardation. oAnything shown to be subnormal (falling below average) oInfrequent behaviours oHallucinations or deep depression However this gives us little guidance in determining whether someone is suffering from an illness. Violation Norms Whether the behaviour violates social norms or threatens or makes anxious those observing it. E.g. verbal and physical attacks, masturbating to fecesweirdunacceptable things. Antisocial behaviour and compulsive excessive disorder would fall under this. However some things such as prostitution and criminals violate social norms but they are not studied in this person. 1 www.notesolution.comSocial norms are either too narrow or too broad, there is never a clear fine line and will always be changing. Personal Distress Personal suffering is behaviour that is abnormal if it creates great distress and torment in the person experiencing it. oE.g. people experiencing anxiety disorders and depression However psychopathy would not be considered because they may violate the law without experiencing any guilt, remorse or anxiety. Disability or Dysfunction Disability is impairment or suffering in some important area of life eg. Work or personal relationships oProblems include: substance abuse, phobia, transvestism, Unexpectedness Not all distress or disability falls into the domain of abnormal psychology. Distress and disability are considered abnormal when they are unexpected responses to environmental stressors. oe.g. an anxiety disorder is diagnosed when the anxiety is unexpected and out of proportion to the situation. Box: Focus of Discovery 1.1 The Mental Health Professions The training of clinicians takes different forms. clinicians- a health professional authorized to provide services to people suffering from one or more pathologies. Clinical Psychologist Clinical psychologist- the special area of psychology concerned with the study of psychopathology, its diagnosis, causes, prevention, and treatment. oTypically requires PhD or Psy. D degree oThe 1995 Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) which allows peoples credentials in any province to be recognized throughout Canada. oBut candidates in clinical psychology learn skills in two additional areas, which distinguishes them from other Ph. D. candidates in psychology 1. they learn the techniques of assessment and diagnosis of mental disorders; that is they learn the sills necessary to determine that. 2 www.notesolution.com
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