Abnormal AndClinical Psychology: “The Politics of Madness”By: Rachel T. Hare-Mustin & Jeanne Marecek Presented by Lauren Cheﬀ & Brie Pierro
The Social Construction of Psychological KnowledgeKnowledge rests heavily on social consensusWhat we believe as truth is subjective based on our social interactions and experiencesLanguage has the power to structure social realityLanguage makes it possible for the system to be non inclusiveHow we perceive the world is formed by commonly used languageWe gain knowledge from our surroundingsHow we present our experiences entail what we are internally feelingPsychology today is an institution of late 20th century culture maintaining the ideologies of thedominant group or cultureRelates to: Standards of mental health, practices and treatment
Psychological InterventionsSome of Freud’s ideals still exist within psycho-analysis todaySuch as: women are untruthful, women areﬂattered and aroused by male advances, women arepsychologically defective males, women are theseducers
Diagnosis : Judging and NamingAssessment leading to formal diagnosisConditions are then standardized by name(s)Diagnoses from psychologists are based on feelingsor experiences explained by patientsClinicians determine who is entitles to medication,healthcare, etc.
The Ideological Pull of DiagnosisWith diagnoses comes certain connotationsPsychological and psychosocial disorders aredescribed using medical languageSymptoms and syndromes of patients deﬁne disordersSymptoms are described as an external manifestationof internal turmoilTreatment focuses on reducing symptoms
The DSM1952: First Edition contained 198 categories of disorders ; 2nd: 221 conditions ; 3rd (1980): formatchange that was more medicalized and listed 340 categories that were also included in the 4th revision(1994)In the DSM, physical disorders are linked to psychological disorders. Life circumstances and sociallocations “do not” aﬀect theseThe more they diagnose the more “valid” the disorders becomeThe criteria of disorders (such as symptoms, etc.) serve to normalize the classiﬁcations of patients.Clinicians often disagree on diagnosesWith the passing of time comes new-found knowledgeDiagnoses are created to maintain the power of upper class citizensHave PMS? You’re crazy
Are Clinical Judgements Biased?Yes! Due to varying social locations such as genderand class, this leads to over- and under-diagnosing which have grave negative eﬀects
Alternative Approaches To TreatmentFeminist Therapy- Questions the social norms and demands of conventional gender roles- Feminist family therapists advocate two main points:1. Therapists should stop blaming mothers for the majority of problems2. Clinicians should ask men to change as much as they do womenFamily Therapists - Work with entire families basing their strategies oﬀ of change and an intersectional issue rather than anissue of a sole memberPsycho-educational model of Intervention- The clinician is more of an educator and collaborator to the client, than an expert in a “one-up” situation.- In the treatment of severe & chronic mental illness, psycho-educational therapists focus on speciﬁcs suchas the management of relapse and coming to terms with the prospects of permanent diminished functioningSocial Change Efforts- Very popular in the community mental health movement of the 1960’s-1970’s- Aims for prevention of problems in poor urban areas
The Power HourAlso known as a therapy sessionTherapist is the expertFeminist therapists agree that the power-r0le intherapy stops female clients from gaining theirself-conﬁdencePsychotherapy is a client seeking out an expert forassistance
Focus on the IndividualPsychotherapy’s goal (when focused on theindividual) is to relieve distress and disabilityProblems stem from the individual, not situational,circumstantial or external issues and forces
Assumptions of KnowledgeThe assumption that abnormal and clinical psychologist can be objective in their researchSocial-construction deems this not possibleThe researcher chooses what they want to include or omit; this creates a skewed idea of what the diagnosis shouldbe based oﬀ ofThe DSM is problematic for many reasons but largely because it negates countless alternative treatments yet hasbecome the most credible sourceResults of studies that are printed as generalizations, are in fact focused on white middle-class, educated patients.Other social groups end up under the category of “Special Populations”Many researchers are bringing to light the eﬀects of :- Being a single mother- Divorce- Immigration- Eﬀects of war- Oppression of women- Unemployment
QUESTIONSHow could we make “alternative approaches” todiagnoses the normative?What do you believe the eﬀects will be on societyif we continue to misdiagnose individuals?