Psychology Essays - Unusual Psychology

Abnormal Psychology


The psychodynamic justification for phobias assumes that excessive behaviour such as phobias is the merchandise of some type of inner issue. The psychodynamic point of view regards the unnatural behaviour as the warning sign - not the cause of the condition. Behaviour is known as to be only the appearance of the condition, not the challenge itself, which means psychodynamic approach feels that dealing with the phobic behaviour without considering the underlying cause of it, will be ineffective-and lead to symptom substitution- i. e. the manifestation of the challenge in a new way. The recommended treatment from the psychodynamic solutions requires gaining awareness and knowledge of the underlying conflicts, which represent the real reason behind the phobia. Treatment is often through counselling and psychoanalysis. This involves the client talking to the therapist about their earlier experiences and detailing any significant happenings, which might have lead to phobic reactions to certain stimulus forming. The client is inspired to free-talk - i. e. say anything that comes into their head. The work of the therapist is to interpret this speech and identification possible causes in their clients life which may have resulted in a phobia. For example, Freud is well-known for highlighting the truth of the guy (Little Hans) who was simply frightened of horses. Freud reasoned that Little Hans experienced developed a phobia towards horses because of feelings he sensed towards his father. These thoughts Freud interpreted from Little Hans remedy classes were of jealousy and fear towards his daddy. These anxieties were assumed to be triggered by the feelings of admiration Little Hans sensed towards his mother. Freud advised that the equine displayed Little Hans castration panic from his father (i. e. from the horses probably biting him). Therefore, rather than expressing fear towards his father, (which would then expose his feelings towards his mom), Little Hans displacing his feelings onto the equine. For the psychodynamic way this explanation contains valid, because of the therapist interacting with underlying and unconscious thoughts. However, the psychodynamic perspective has confronted a great deal of criticism for its unscientific method of treating clients. Firstly, this method of analysis puts the therapist within an unethical position of vitality. The therapist is accountable for the reasoning of the client's behaviour - whether this reasoning is appropriate or not, it lacks validity as your client may not show the same views. Furthermore, the psychodynamic way is largely depending on research study research - therefore it is very difficult to test for consistency - as every case differs - e. g. the results gained in one client might not be appropriate for another client. For instance, a number of people may have a phobic reaction to the same stimulus - but for a completely different reason. Therefore, the effectiveness of the psychodynamic methodology is put into question - because of the nature of this approach's assumed potential to tackling unconscious material.

In compare, the behaviourist perspective talks about phobias in considered to defective learning patterns, acquired through processes of conditioning and learning. Behaviourist suggest that behaviour is learnt through a procedures of fitness - i. e. a behavioural effect is learnt with the presence of a particular stimulus. Often phobic behaviours are a result of associations between certain stimulus and bad emotions. For instance, if a child is scared of the dark, the behaviourist way would suggest that the kid may have observed a frightful event in the dark and links the dark with sense frightened. For example, the kid may have read unexplained noises in the dark (which might have been caused by a glass slipping on the floor-but in the dark this can not be observed). Therefore, unlike the psychodynamic procedure - the phobic behaviour is the challenge - not the root cause. From your behaviourist perspective phobias represent learned worries. Unlike the psychodynamic way, it is not the circumstances under which abnormal behaviour was attained in the past that is important, but instead the need to modify it in the present. The behaviourist perspective argues a process of behavioural modification is effective in the treatment of phobic behaviours. This technique often involves your client making a hierarchical list of feared situations associated with the phobic thing, and then to work through them -gradually exposure to the most feared situation. The behaviourist way works on the process that two feelings of anxiousness and calm cannot be felt at the same time. Therefore, in conjunction with learning to come in contact with fearful situations, the client also learns ways of relaxation (respiration techniques) to apply whilst in these fear provoking situations. The behaviourist methodology has been attacked for ethical concerns to the client - in that contact with these scary situations could cause more emotional distress than good. However, the behaviourist approach looks more useful than the psychodynamic strategy in dealing with the phobic behavior. However, it may not uncover why the behavior developed to begin with. Therefore, as the psychodynamic methodology suggests, the client may simply displace their dread onto a new stimulus - i. e. indication substitution. Therefore, a combination of both methods may be useful in the treating phobias.

Task 2.

1. Abnormality identifies mental health, physical or behavioural characteristics of the average person that deviate from the statistical norm in a given populace. This deviation often presents dysfunctionality. This meaning has a major weakness for the reason that there are a few times of behaviour that deviate from the norm - that aren't considered dysfunctional - for example, a gifted child or an expert physician.

2. The two classification systems that are used in European countries and the USA to diagnosis excessive behaviour will be the International Classification of Diseases 10 and the Diagnosis Manual of Mental Disorders IV.

3. The essential difference between the ICD and DSM is the way the two manuals detect social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia. The DSM differentiates between the two conditions based on fear of social situations - whereas the ICD shows that if the differentiation between sociable phobia and agoraphobia is difficult, a analysis of agoraphobia should be given.

4. Psychosis identifies the severe disruption of an individual's emotions and pondering - these thoughts are out of touch with reality. With Psychosis the complete person is mixed up in experience. On the other hand, Neurosis identifies an individual's higher level of anxiousness - however this anxiousness is felt touching fact. Neurosis is portrayed through anxiety disorders - such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorders - which unlike psychosis only partly involves the individual it is affecting.

5. The medical model suggests that abnormal behaviour is caused by a physical dysfunction, i. e. an illness - that has happened due to a substance or anatomical defect. The medical model feels that this physical dysfunction is genetic and brought on by trauma or disease.

6. The medical has been successful in its capacity to predict treatment that will affect physical dysfunctions. For example, a knowledge of the physical mechanisms that have triggered the condition makes it simpler to think of a treatment that will prevent this behaviour from re-occurring. Also the actual fact that the medical model shows that abnormality is hereditary can offer predictions within the family environment. However, this approach does not take into account how the sociable world can play an important role in the actual formation and stamina of abnormal behavior.

7. 1. Anti depressants (serotonin-reuptake inhibitors). These drugs action upon the brain's chemistry and help re-balance the serotonin levels within the brain. Serotonin reported to be reduced people who experience depression. However, caution has been brought up about the side effects that these drugs have on the average person.

7. 2. ECT - invasive therapy - applying electric shocks to person's brain. Extreme care is warned as to the ethical consideration and humanity of the technique.

8. Rosenhan's (1973) conducted a study called 'On being Sane in sane places. ' His research involved the research into whether the sane can be recognized from the insane (and also whether degree's of insanity can be distinguished from one another). Rosenhan got 8 pseudo patients to gain admission to many private hospitals - on the lands that they shown themselves to the doctors as experiencing voices. All eight patients gained gain access to upon this pretence. What this shows us about the prognosis of abnormality is that it's based on a couple of requirements to be installed into. In the event the symptoms are shown, then the label meets - even if these 'symptoms' are not real. Analysis is seems is a labelling process.

9. What does other research reveal about the reliability of these models?

The dependability of the medical model has been placed into question because of the validity of defining what's 'irregular' and what's 'normal'. It's important to notice that decisions about abnormal behaviour cannot avoid certain defects. For example, diagnosis of abnormality uses subjective assumption by the clinician, which is based on appreciated judgements of the medical career. Abnormality is also dependant on which social context it is displayed in - therefore behavior may be interpreted in the manner abnormal behavior is interpreted in its interpersonal setting. Furthermore, the concept of abnormality is influenced by statistical ideas of normality. This can prove difficult even in trained experts (Broverman et al, 1970) - as information of normality are destined to politics and communal ideology. Behaviour which does not conform to cultural demands at any moment - may be rendered unusual. However these assumptions undoubtedly change as time passes and place - which means reliability will suffer as a result. Not only does indeed the idea of abnormality differ over time, but it may vary between doctors who diagnosis patients - and also between different ethnicities. Cooper (1967) discovered that US doctors were more likely to diagnosis schizophrenia than British doctors. This might focus on the concerns of prior labels given to individuals by earlier doctors, which distort the views of proceeding sessions to the physician.

The problem of labelling is outlined in Rosenhan's (1973) review. Rosenhan argues that the idea of abnormal behavior is a primary consequence of the labelling process. In support, Lindsay (1982) asked patients in a general clinic to rate the training video recorded behaviour of the two sample categories - the one which was purported to have schizophrenic individuals in, the other included control topics. One group was told nothing about people in the video being rating, but two other teams were advised either effectively or incorrectly, which the schizophrenics and which were not. The results of Rosenhan (1973) research indicate that where information in regards to a person's psychiatric status is withheld, the ratings shouldn't differ relating to if the content in the video tutorial were actually schizophrenic. However, for the group that was advised that the patients in the video clips were schizophrenic, their examination of behaviour should expect more abnormal tendencies are being displayed. In fact, Lindsay found that the patients who actually acquired schizophrenia were graded more as excessive whether or not any information given about them was accurate. Therefore, these results dispute the claim that Szasz (1972) made about abnormality or mental health issues offering as a labelling effect to control contemporary society. However, this research does indeed show us how personal perceptions of abnormality may impact the reliability of the labelling system. Miller and Morley (1986) conclude that the labelling process is far from a completely unfilled one, and that there surely is a reality of some sort behind it. Furthermore, they also explain that the patients taped by Lindsay were all fairly new cases. Which means individual's had not possessed long to adapt to their label and change their behavior consequently- as Szash may claim may have happened.

The try to classify abnormal behavior is a fundamental area of the medical style of mental health issues. The medical model of abnormal behaviour is employed by psychiatrists to detect patients exhibiting unusual behavior. Psychiatrists are trained to consider mental condition as comparable to other kinds of physical condition. However, the symptoms are behavioural and cognitive rather than physical. However, however the difference is recognized, psychiatrists are encouraged to treat abnormal behaviour as preventable or curable by physical means - for example, by using drugs-to target both problem areas - i. e. that of the mind or that of your body. Therefore, in this situation mind and body are treated as similar entities. Szasz (1972) has attacked the medical model for classifying and dealing with illness in one of two groups in regards to the assumed aetiology of the condition. The medical model categorises physical diseases of the body as being organic and disorder of the mind are termed useful disorders. However, Szasz (1972) argues that the variation between your two is absolutely a difference between a 'disease of the brain' (not of your brain), or neurophysiologic disorder and 'problems in living'. Therefore, these distinctions clear the idea of abnormal behaviour and therefore rid the potential problems that this label plays a part in the medical model. Referring back to Rosenhan's analysis - the analysis tool that was put on research was the DSM-II. The DSM happens to be in its 4th model. Therefore, even though medical model has been criticised for its lack of reliability - it does acknowledge communal and cultural and medical actions which make it more robust. For instance, Sarbin and Mancuso (1980) focus on the fact that for a analysis of Schizophrenia, the attribute of hallucinations must be repeated on several situations, whereas Rosenhan's pseudo patient made only 1 report of this behaviour.



  • Broverman, I. K. , Broverman, D. M. , Clarkson, F. E. Rosencrantz, P. S. & Vogel, S. R. (1970). Sex-role stereotypes and scientific judgements of mental health. Journal of Counselling and Clinical Mindset, 34(1), 1-7.
  • Lindsay, W. R. (1982). The effects of labelling: blind and non-blind ratings of communal skills in schizophrenic and non-schizophrenic control themes. American Journal of Psychiatry 1982 139: 216-219.
  • Rosenhan D L (1973). 'On being Sane in Insane Places'Science, 179 250-258.


  • Cooper, D. (1967) Psychiatry and anti-psychiatry. Tavistock Magazines: London.
  • Miller, E. and Morley, S. Looking into Abnormal Behaviour. London: Weidenfeld, 1986.
  • Sarbin, T. R. , & Mancuso, J. C. (1980). Schizophrenia: Medical prognosis or moral verdict? New York: Praeger.
  • Szasz, T. S. (1972). The misconception of mental health problems. London: Paladin

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