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Abnormal psychology 1b


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  • 1. AbnormalPsychologyPSYC 3140 3.0D(F)
  • 2. What are we studying? Abnormal Behaviour Psychopathology Mental Disorder Mental Illness Deviant Behaviour
  • 3. The study of mental disorderinvolves: Definition: What do we mean by mental disorder? Classification: How do we distinguish between different mental disorders? Explanation: How do we understand mental disorder? Treatment: How do we treat mental disorder?
  • 4. Why study abnormalpsychology? Abnormal behaviour is part of our common experience Lots of unanswered questions and complexities Preparation for future careers 
  • 5. Mental Health Professionals Clinical Psychologist (Ph.D., C. Psych.) Psychiatrist (M.D.) Psychiatric Social Worker (M.S.W.) Psychoanalyst Therapist
  • 6. Obtaining Personal Help Room 145 Behaviour Science Building 416.736.5297
  • 7. What do we mean by mentaldisorder? Who has a mental disorder?  Mass murders?  People who want to cut off their arms and legs?  People who can’t pay attention and concentrate?
  • 8. Is the concept of ‘MentalDisorder’ problematic? “I should like to make clear, therefore, that although I consider the concept of mental illness to be unserviceable, I believe that psychiatry could be a science. I also believe that psychotherapy is an effective method of helping people – not to recover from an ‘illness’ but rather to learn about themselves, others and life.” Szasz
  • 9. Why clarify the definition ofmental disorder? Influences what is seen as pathological Influences explanation, classification and treatment Clarifies the role of professionals
  • 10. Why clarify the definition ofmental disorder? Safe-guard against abuses Clarify contentious cases
  • 11. Two broad ways to definemental disorder In general, the concept of “mental disorder” can be defined as: A biomedical, culturally independent, value-free concept  Or as a social, culturally relative, value-based concept.
  • 12. Overview of definitions thatwill be discussed Mental disorder as a statistical deviation Mental disorder as dysfunction Mental disorder as personal discomfort Mental disorder as maladaptive behaviour Mental disorder as norm or value violation
  • 13. Mental disorder as statisticaldeviance A person has a mental disorder when their behaviour, ability, or experience is significantly different from average.
  • 14. Mental disorder as statisticaldeviance
  • 15. Mental disorder as statisticaldeviance Problems: We want to use the term disorder to describe some conditions that are statistically frequent “positive” deviations are not distinguished from “negative” deviations we do not want to call all “negative deviations a disorder
  • 16.  Uggo Betti:  “Allof us are mad. If it weren’t for the fact that every one of us is slightly abnormal, there wouldn’t be any point of giving each person a separate name.”
  • 17. Mental disorder as adysfunction A person has a mental disorder when a mental mechanism is not performing the natural function it was designed to perform. Problems:  Natural selection does not “design” mechanisms
  • 18.  Sedgwick (1982):  “Allsickness is essentially deviancy from some alternative state of affairs which is considered more desirable… The attribution of illness always proceeds from the computation of a gap between presented behaviour (or feeling) and some social norm.”
  • 19. Mental disorder as adysfunction Problems cont:  For many mechanisms there is a wide range of adaptive functioning across people and situations (fear response).
  • 20. Mental disorder as adysfunction Problems cont:  Many things that we want to call a disorder might actually be adaptive reactions.
  • 21. Mental disorder as personaldiscomfort A person has a mental disorder if they experience personal distress. Problems:  What about the person who abuses drugs or believes they are receiving messages from outer-space – without experiencing distress?
  • 22. Mental disorder asmaladaptive behaviour A person has a mental disorder if they engage in behaviour that prevents them from meeting the demands of life. Problems:  There may be situations that people should not adapt to  This approach emphasizes “fitting in” as being ultimately important
  • 23. Mental disorder as norm orvalue violation A person has a mental disorder if they have experiences and exhibit behaviours that are inconsistent with the norms and values of society. Examples:  Behaviour that is harmful to oneself or others  Poor reality contact  Inappropriate emotional reactions  Erratic behaviour
  • 24. Mental disorder as norm orvalue violation Problems:  What if violation is result of external circumstances  Such a criteria can seem too arbitrary and open to abuse
  • 25. DSM-IV definition of mentaldisorder A mental disorder is “conceptualized as a clinically significant behavioural or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress or disability or with a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom.”
  • 26. DSM-IV definition of mentaldisorder “The syndrome or pattern must not be merely an expectable and culturally sanctioned response to a particular event, for example, the death of a loved one.” “It must currently be considered a manifestation of a behavioural, psychological, or biological dysfunction in the individual.”
  • 27. Cross cultural issues How one thinks about the role of culture depends on your definition of mental disorder
  • 28. Cross cultural issues If biomedical, then culture influences how a disorder impacts members of different cultures  Differentrisk  Idiom of distress
  • 29. Cross cultural issues If culturally based, then influences what will be considered a disorder  Behaviour or experience may not be a “disorder” in all cultures
  • 30. Non-Western approaches tomental disorder Often do not separate psychology and spirituality  Disruption in relation to spirit world Often based on more collective and less individualistic conceptualizations  Disruption in interpersonal relations
  • 31. The study of mental disorderinvolves: Definition: What do we mean by mental disorder? Categorization: How do we classify mental disorder? Explanation: How do we understand mental disorder? Treatment: How do we treat mental disorder?
  • 32. Further exploration: Linienfeld, S. O., & Marino, L. (1995). Mental Disorder as a Roschian Concept: A critique of Wakefield’s “Harmful Dysfunction” analysis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 104(3), 411- 420. Szasz, T. (2000). Second commentary on “Aristotle’s function argument. Philosophical Psychiatry and Psychology 7(1), 3-16. Wakefield, J. (1992). The concept of mental disorder: On the boundary between biological facts and social values. American Psychologist, 47(3), 373-388.