Being part of history Abnormal Behavior: a historical perspective

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Abnormal Behavior: a historical perspective

Being part of history

What is abnormal?

Psychological disorders

Dysfunction*

Distress

Unexpected or atypical cultural response

* cognition, emotion, behavior

Psychopathology

How one describes “problems”

The medical model

Mental problems as mental illness: disease

Interactional views or “systems

thinking”

Describing what you see, or what you think you see

Clinical descriptions lead to diagnostic

labels

Labels can be helpful and/or harmful

Presenting problem: many different

approaches

The “complaint” what the person describes

or someone else describes as the reason for seeking treatment

Clear descriptions lead to clearer

treatment

Now it’s your turn:

Tom is uncomfortable riding elevators.

Your office is on the fifteenth floor and

Tom walked all the way up and not for the exercise

Rachel has been caught urinating in

the corner of her bedroom.

What is different about abnormality?

Prevalence

Incidence

Course

Chronic, episodic, time-limited

Prognosis

Onset

Acute, insidious

Lots of other possible factors

Culture

Ethnicity

Race

Gender

Age

Developmental stage

Some considerations

Causation: etiology

Some quite clear, others unknown or not

understood

Biopsychosocial model: we’ll return to this

What to do or what not to do about it:

treatment

Will it go away on its own or get worse?

Empirically validated treatments

Confounding variables: did the treatment

work or was it something else?

The Placebo Effect

Historical Traditions

Supernatural

Biological

Psychological

Psychoanalytic

Humanistic

Behavioral

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