Current Paradigms in Psychopathology and Therapy

Contemporary Perspectives
What is a “perspective”?
 What
do you think???
A Perspective:
is a conceptual framework to examine a
given phenomenon.
 has a set of basic assumptions.
 Determines which methods (data collection,
analysis) will be used to study a given
 Can also be referred to as an “approach” in
Perspectives in Psychology
 Biological
 Psychodynamic
 Behavioral
 Cognitive
 Humanistic
 Evolutionary
 Social-Cultural
 Biopsychosocial
1. Biological Perspective
Basic assumptions:
1. Biology plays a role in behavior.
2. The physical body affects behavior and
Flaws with Biological
1. Factors unrelated to biology may
influence thoughts and behaviors.
E.g., environmental factors (life-style, abuse)
may play role in some mental disorders
2. Multiple factors may influence thoughts
and behaviors.
2. Psychodynamic Perspective:
 Argues
that our behavior results from
unconscious internal drives and
Conflicts are outside of our awareness
(iceberg theory).
Criticism of Psychodynamic:
1. Freud had no scientific data to support
his theories.
 2. Freud’s theories (unconscious, libido,
etc.) cannot be observed.
 3. Theory explains behavior (post-hoc)
after the fact.
 4. Observations not representative of
3. Behavior Perspective
Focuses on observable behaviors.
Premise—abnormal behavior is learned!!
Learning (classical & operant conditioning,
Criticisms of Behavior:
1. Abnormal behavior not connected to particular
learning experiences (schizophrenia).
2. Simplistic circular reasoning (Description as
3. Useful for treatment, but not as cause for most
mental disorders.
4. Evolutionary Perspective
Focuses on the possible role of evolved
psychological mechanisms (inherited
tendencies shaped by evolution) in
human behavior
 Looks at the way the mind works and
why it works as it does.
 Behavior is seen as having an adaptive
or survival value.
Criticism of Evolutionary
Too much attention paid to
 It is argued that this isn’t really
psychology, just an extension of biology
 This is a new theory and still fairly
5. Cognitive Perspective:
Premise- how our minds organize and
interpret information
 Focuses on memory, intelligence,
perception, problem solving, and learning
Criticisms of Cognitive
Depends on “controlled” experiments rather
than “real world”
 Doesn’t account for genetic factors like
6. Humanistic Perspective:
Theorists argue we are driven to selfactualize, that is, to fulfill our potential for
goodness and growth.
 How we meet our needs for love and
acceptance and achieve self-fulfillment.
 More from early roots of psychology in the
field of philosophy.
Criticism of Humanistic
Concepts are too vague
 Subjective ideas are too hard to
objectify (e.g. an experience that is real
for one individual may not be real for
another person)
 Not a “real science” because it’s too
much “common sense” and not enough
7. Social-cultural Perspective
Focuses on the relationship between
social behavior and culture.
 Social and cultural factors that can
influence behavior
8. Biopsychosocial
(not a “perspective” but a merging of several)
using 3
main levels
of analysis