Chapter 1: Introduction: Definitional and Historical Considerations, and Canada’s
Mental Health System
Psychopathology: the field concerned with the nature and development of abnormal
behavior, thoughts, and feelings
PART I: WHAT IS ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR
Abnormal behavior: includes such characteristics as statistical infrequency, violation of
norms, personal distress, disability or dysfunction and unexpectedness.
- One aspect of abnormal behavior is that it is infrequent in the general population.
- Normal curve: or bell-shaped curve, places the majority of people in the middle as far
as any particular characteristic is concerned; very few people fall in either extreme. 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.
Violation of Norms
- Another characteristic to consider is whether the behavior violates social norms or
threatens or makes anxious those observing it.
- Another characteristic is personal suffering, that is, behavior is abnormal if it creates
great distress and torment in the person experiencing it.
Disability or Dysfunction
- Disability-that is, impairment in some important area of life (ex work or personal rela-
tionships) because of an abnormality.
- Distress and disability are considered abnormal when they are unexpected responses
to environmental stressors.
Focus on Discovery 1.1- The Mental Health Professions (go back to read) - Clinicians: the various professionals authorized to provide psychological ser-
vices, takes different forms.
- Clinical psychologist:
PART II: HISTORY OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
- Demonology: the doctrine that an evil being, such as a devil, may dwell within a per-
son and control his or her mind and body.
- Following from the belief that abnormal behavior was caused by possession, its treat-
ment often involved exorcism: the casting out of evil spirits by ritualistic chanting to tor-
- Trepanning of skulls: the making of a surgical opening in a living skull by some instru-
ment by stoneage or neolithic cave dweller was quite widespread.
- In the 5 century BC Hippocrates (ca 460-377BC) (often regarded as the father of
modern medicine) separated medicine from religion, magic, and superstition.
- He rejected the prevailing Greek belief that the gods sent physical diseases and men-
tal disturbances as punishment.
- Insisted they were natural causes.
- 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 3 categories: mania, melancholia, and
phrenetic (or brain fever)
- For melancholia he prescribed tranquillity, sobriety, care in choosing food and drink,
and abstinence from sexual activity.
- He conceived of normal brain functioning, and therefore of mental health, as depen-
dent on a delicate balance among 4 humours, or fluids of the body, namely blood, black
bile, yellow bile and phlegm-imbalanced produced disorders.
The Dark Ages and Demonology - Historians often suggest that the death of Galen (130-200AD), the second century
Greek who is regarded as the last major physician of the classical era, marked the be-
ginning of the dark ages for western European medicine and for the treatment of and in-
vestigation of abnormal behavior.
The Persecution of Witches
Witchcraft and Mental Illness
- The prevailing interpretation for some time in the later middle ages was that the men-
tally ill were generally considered witches.
The Development of Asylums
- Leprosariums were converted to asylums: refuges established for the confinement
and care of the mentally ill.
Bethlehem and Other Early Asylums
- The priory of St. Mary of Bethlehem was founded in 1243. Over the years the word
bedlam-a contradiction and popular name for this hospital, became a descriptive term
for a place or scene of wild uproar and confusion.
- Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) began practicing medicine in Philadephia in 1769, is con-
sidered the father of American psychiatry.
- He believed that mental disorder was caused by the excess of blood in the brain.
- His favored treatment was to draw great quantities of blood.
- He also believed that many lunatics could be cured by being frightened.
- Phillipe Pinel (1745-1826) is considered a primary figure in the movement for humani-
tarian treatment for the mentally ill in asylums.
- In1793, while the French revolution raged, he was put in change of a large asylum in
Paris known as La Bicetre.
- In the wake of Pinel’s revolutionary work in La Bicetre, the hospitals established in Eu-
rope and the United States were for a time relatively small and privately supported.
- A prominent merchant and Quaker, William Tuke (1732-1822) shocked by the condi-
tions at York Asylum in England, proposed to the society of friends that it found its own
- In1796 the York retreat was founded on a country estate, providing mentally ill
people with a quiet and r