PSYB32- Abnormal Psychology Notes
Psychopathology: The field concerned with the nature and development of
abnormal behavior, thoughts, and feelings.
In studying abnormal psychology one must remain objective.
WHAT IS ABNORMAL BEHAVIOUR
Abnormal Behaviour: Statistical infrequency, violation of norms, personal
distress, disability or dysfunction, and unexpectedness.
Normal curve: or bell-shaped curve, places the majority of people in the
middle as far as any particular characteristic is concerned. An assertion that
a person is normal implies that he or she does not deviate much from the
average in a particular trait or behavior pattern.
Statistical infrequency is used explicitly in diagnosing mental retardation.
Though a number of criteria are used to diagnose mental retardation, low
intelligence is a principal one.
Having great athletic ability is infrequent, but few would regard it as part of
the field of abnormal psychology.
VIOLATION OF NORMS:
Violates social norms: threatens or makes anxious those observing it.
Violation of norms explicitly makes abnormality a relative concept; various
forms of unusual behavior can be tolerated, depending on the prevailing
Cultural diversity plays a role in affecting how people view social norms.
Personal Suffering: behavior is abnormal if it creates great distress and
torment in the person experiencing it.
DISABILITY OR DYSFUNCTION:
Disability or Dysfunction: that is, impairment in some important area of life.
UNEXPECTEDNESS: Distress and disability are considered abnormal when they are unexpected
responses to environmental stressors.
THE MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONS:
Clinicians: the various professionals authorized to provide psychological
Clinical psychologist: requires a Ph.D. or Psy.D degree, which entails 4 to 7
years of graduate school.
To become a registered psychologist one must obtain five core competencies:
1) interpersonal relationship, 2) assessment and evaluation (including
diagnosis), 3) Intervention and consultation, 4) research, 5) ethics and
Candidates in clinical psychology learn skills in two additional areas, which
distinguishes them from other Ph.D. candidates in psychology: 1) they learn
assessment and diagnosis of mental disorders. Second, they learn how to
practice psychotherapy: a primarily verbal means of helping troubled
individuals change their thoughts, feelings, and behavior to reduce distress
and to achieve greater life satisfaction.
A psychiatrist holds an MD has had a postgraduate training called a residency
in which he or she has received supervision in the practice of diagnosis and
Psychiatrists engage in prescribing psychoactive drugs: chemical compounds
that can influence how people feel and think.
A psychoanalyst has received specialized training at a psychoanalytical
A social worker obtains an M.S.W (Masters of Social Work) degree programs
for counseling psychologists.
A psychiatric nurse specializes in the mental health field
HISTORY OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
Many early philosophers, theologians, and physicians who studied the
troubled mind believed that deviancy reflected the displeasure of the gods or
possession by demons.
Demonology: The doctrine that an evil being, as the devil, may dwell within a
person and control his or her mind and body.
Exorcism: the casting out of evil spirits by ritualistic chanting or torture.
Trepanning: of skulls involves making a surgical opening in a living skull by
some instrument. SOMATOGENESIS
Hippocrates (father of modern medicine) believed that mental disturbances
have natural causes and hence should be treated like other, more common
maladies, such as colds and constipation.
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.
Hippocrates classified mental disorders into three categories: mania,
melancholia, and phrenitis (or brain fever)
For Melancholia he prescribed tranquility, sobriety, care in choosing food
and drinks, and abstinence from sexual activity.
He believed that mental health depended on a delicate balance among four
humors or fluids of the body: 1) Blood; 2) Black bile; 3) Yellow bile, 4)
phlegm. An imbalance produced disorders.
A preponderance of black bile was the explanation for melancholia, too much
yellow bile, explained irritability and anxiousness, and too much blood,
THE DARK AGES AND DEMONOLOGY:
Christian monasteries, through their missionary and educational work,
replaced physicians as healers and as authorities on mental disorder.
DEVELOPMENT OF ASYLUMS:
Leprosariums (institution were people with leprosy were isolated, which
was believed during the time to be caused due to committing a sin, or being
sexually promiscuous) were converted to asylums: refuges, established for
the confinement and care of the mentally ill.
BETHLEHEM AND OTHER EARLY ASYLUMS:
Bethlehem was a hospital built for the confinement of the mentally ill. The
conditions were deplorable. Over the years the word bedlam: a contraction
and popular name for the hospital became a descriptive term for a place or
scene of wild uproar and confusion. It became a destination place for viewing
the violent patients and their antics as many found it entertaining.
Benjamin Rush: (the father of American psychiatry) believed that an excess of
blood in the brain caused mental disorders. Consequently, his favored
treatment was to draw great quantities of blood. He furthered believed that
many ‘lunatics’ could be cured by being frightened.
MORAL TREATEMENT: Philippe Pinel: Is considered a primary figure in the movement for
humanitarian treatment of the mental ill in asylums, which was however
reserved for the upper class.
Moral treatment: patients have