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Chapter 1

Psychology 2030A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: American Psychiatric Association, Doctor Of Psychology, Tension Headache

Course Code
Doug Hazlewood

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Psychological dysfunction – within an individual that is associated with
distress or impairment in functioning and a response that is not
typical or culturally expected
JODY – blood-injury-injection-phobia – PHOBIA – a psychological
disorder characterized by marked and persistent fear of an object or
What is A Psychological Disorder?
Psychological dysfunction within an individual associated with distress
or impairment in functioning and a response that is not typical or
culturally expected
Refers to a breakdown in cognitive, emotional, or behavioural
Knowing where to draw the line between normal and abnormal
dysfunction is often difficult
For this reason, these problems are often considered to exist on a
CONTINUUM or as a DIMENSION, rather than as categories that are
either present of absent
Reason just having a dysfunction is not enough to meet the CRITERIA
for a psychological disorder
That the disorder or behaviour must be associated with DISTRESS
adds an important component and seems clear
Criterion is satisfied if the individual is extremely upset
oEx. Jody – distressed & suffered from phobia
Normal to be distressed – i.e. someone close to you dies
IMPAIRMENT – concept is useful – ex. Many people consider
themselves shy or lazy but this doesn’t mean they are abnormal –
BUT if you are so shy finding it impossible to interact – then your
social functioning is impaired
*most psychological disorders are simply extreme expressions of
otherwise normal emotions, behaviours, and cognitive processes
Atypical or Not Culturally Expected
CHAPTER 1 1/11/11 9:38 PM

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Something is considered abnormal because it occurs infrequently; it
deviates from the average
Greater the deviation = the more abnormal it is
The more productive you are in the eyes of society, the more
eccentricities society will tolerate – therefore “deviating from
average” doesn’t work very well as a definition
Violating social norms – this def is very useful in considering
important cultural differences in psychological disorders
oEx. To enter a trance state and believe you are possessed
would point to a psychological disorder in most Western
cultures, but in many other societies the behaviour is
accepted and expected
Informative example – provided by the prominent neuroscientist
SAPOLSKY (2002), who worked closely with the MASAI TRIBE in
East Africa
oWoman had been acting aggressive and hearing voices, killed a
goat with own hands – transported to a local health centre –
learned Masai’s view of psychological disorder – their
reasoning of her being crazy were contradicted
However, a social standard of normal has been misused
WAKEFIELD (1992) uses definition “harmful dysfunction” – related
concept that is useful to determine whether the behaviour is
beyond the individuals control (something he or she doesn’t want to
PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION) – contains the current listing of
criteria for psychological disorders
CONCLUSION – difficult to define ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’
Most widely accept definition, used in DSM-IV-TR describes –
behavioural, emotional, or cognitive dysfunctions that are
unexpected in their cultural context and associated with personal
distress or substantial impairment in functioning as abnormal
oCan be used across cultures and subcultures if we pay very
careful attention to what is functional or dysfunctional (or out
of control) in a given society
Best we can do is to consider how the apparent disease or disorder
matches up to a “typical” profile of, say, depression or anxiety in
each individual case
Typical profile – PROTOTYPE – patient can have some features or
symptoms of disorder – not all – and still meet criteria
The Science of Psychopathology

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PSYCHOPATHOLOGY – is the scientific study of psychological disorders
oClinical, counseling psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric
social workers, psychiatric nurses
Clinical psychologists – receive a Ph.D. following a course of
graduate-level study that lasts approx. five years
oOthers receive Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology_ - focus more on
clinical practice and less on research training
oNo Psy.D. currently exist in Canada
oIn Canada, regulation of the psychology profession is under the
jurisdiction of the provinces and territories
oEither have master’s degree or a doctoral
The Scientific-Practitioner
Most recent development in the history of psychotherapy is the
adoption of scientific methods to learn more about the nature of
psychological disorders, their causes, and their treatment
SCIENTIST-PRACTITIONER MODEL – expectations that mental health
professionals will apply scientific methods to their work. They must
keep current in the latest research on diagnosis and treatment,
they must evaluate their own methods for effectiveness, and they
may generate their own research to discover new knowledge of
disorders and their treatment
oproducers of research
oconsumers of research
oevaluators of their work using Empirical methods
Clinical Description
PRESENTING PROBLEM – original complaint reported by the client to
the therapist. The actual treated problem may sometimes be a
modification derived from the presenting problem
oPresent – indication of why the person came to the clinic
Describing patients presenting problem is the first step in determining
CLINICAL DESCRIPTION – details of the combination of behaviours,
thoughts, and feelings of an individual that make up a particular
oClinical – refers both to the types of problems or disorders you
would find in a clinic or hospital and to the activities
connected with assessment and treatment
IMPORTANT FUNCTION of CD – specify what makes the disorder
different from normal behaviour – as well statistical data
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