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History of abnormal psychology


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The historical development of Abnormal Psychology or Psychopathology is worth studying. The progressive as well as conservative steps have contributed to a balanced view of abnormal behavior.

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  • thank you Fr. Alex it's very informative. this would be very good source of reference for my Abnormal Psychology class. Dr. Catherine O. Roces, West Visayas State University, Iloilo City, Philippines
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  • Lovely explanations.thx
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History of abnormal psychology

  2. 2. Phases • Stone Age • Demonology, gods and magic • Early Greek thinkers • Later Greek thinkers • Middle Ages • Humanitarian approaches • Mental Hospital Care by 20th century • Contemporary developments
  3. 3. Stone Age (half a million years ago) • Trephination- chipping away an area of the skull with crude stone instruments to make a hole letting the evil spirit in head to escape through it
  4. 4. Demonology, gods & magic • Chinese, Greek, Egyptian and Hebrew • Possession by good or evil spirits • Primary type of treatment: exorcism
  5. 5. Early Greek Thinkers • Hippocrates(460-377BC) • Father of modern medicine • Natural causation for mental diseases • Brain pathology • Importance of heredity • Classified in to three- mania, melancholia and phrenitis( brain fever) • Role of dreams in understanding
  6. 6. Galen • Following Hippocrates • Doctrine of four humors • Temperaments: Sanguine, Melancholic, Phlegmatic, Choleric
  7. 7. Plato (429-347 BC) • Mentally ill persons not responsible for criminal acts • To provide hospital care for the mentally ill • The divine causation
  8. 8. Aristotle( 384-322) • Lasting contribution regarding consciousness • Wrote extensively on mental disorders • Follows generally the views of Hippocrates
  9. 9. Middle Ages the middle east • Islamic countries of the middle east continued the scientific aspects of Greek tradition • The first mental hospital was established in Bagdad in 792 A D • Avicenna of Arabia the outstanding person • Also known as the prince of physicians • Wrote the book ‘Canon of Medicine’
  10. 10. Middle ages Europe • Largely devoid of scientific thinking and humane treatment for the mentally disturbed • Supernatural explanations of the causes of mental illness grew in popularity. • Two events of the times: mass madness and exorcism. • Mass madness: the widespread occurrence of behavior disorders that were apparently cases of hysteria
  11. 11. • Whole groups of people were affected simultaneously • Dancing manias( epidemics of raving, jumping, dancing and convulsions) were reported as early as the 10th century • Tarantism: a disorder that included an uncontrollable impulse to dance that was often attributed to the bite of the southern European tarantula or wolf spider
  12. 12. • This dancing mania later spread to Germany and to the rest of Europe where it was known as Saint Vitus’s dance. • Isolated rural areas were also afflicted with outbreaks of lycanthropy- a condition in which people believed themselves to be possessed by wolves and imitated their behavior • Today so called mass hysteria occurs occasionally, the affliction usually mimics some type of physical disorder such as fainting spells or convulsive movements.
  13. 13. Exorcism and witch craft • Management of the mentally disturbed was left largely to the clergy • Monasteries served as refuges and places of confinement • During the early part of the medieval period the mentally disturbed were for the most part, treated with considerable kindness • Exorcism- symbolic acts that are performed to drive out the devil from persons believed to be possessed. • It was usually performed by the gentle laying of hands
  14. 14. • Such methods were often joined with vaguely understood medical treatments, derived mainly from Galen. • It had long been thought that during the middle ages, many mentally disturbed people were accused of being witches and thus were punished and often killed. • But several more recent interpretations have questioned the truthfulness of such accusations.
  15. 15. Toward Humanitarian approaches • During the latter part of the middle ages and the early Renaissance, scientific questioning reemerged and a movement called humanism began. • With this the traditional understanding and therapeutic treatment of mental disorders began to be challenged.
  16. 16. Paracelsus(1490-1541) • Swiss physician, insisted that the dancing mania was not a possession, but a form of disease that should be treated as such. • Formulated the idea of psychic causes for mental illness and advocated treatment by ‘bodily magnetism’ later called hypnosis. • although he rejected demonology, his view of abnormal behavior ‘ caused by astral influences. Believed that the moon excreted a supernatural influence on human brain (lunatic, lunacy)
  17. 17. Johann Weyer(1515-1588) • German physician and writer • Deeply disturbed by the imprisonment, torture and burning of people accused of witchcraft • Published ‘Deception of Demons’ in 1563 which contains a step by step rebuttal of the Malleus Maleficarum, a witch hunting hand book published in 1486 and a call for humane consideration towards those sick persons accused for witchcraft
  18. 18. • One of the first physicians to specialize in mental disorders • Can be rightly called the founder of modern Psychopathology • He was scorned by his peers and his works banned by the church • The clergy like St Vincent de Paul(1576-1660) also declared “ Mental disease is no different to bodily disease and Christianity demands of the humane and powerful to protect, and the skillful to relieve the one as well as the other.”
  19. 19. The establishment of early asylums and shrines • From the 16th century on special institutions called asylums or places of refuge for the mentally ill were established in many countries • E.g.: the Valencia mental hospital founded by Father Juan Pilberto Jofre, Bedlam, instituted by Henry VIII in London, the San Hippolito established in Mexico, La Maison de Charentone in Paris.
  20. 20. Humanitarian Reforms • By the late 18th century, most mental hospitals in Europe and America were in great need of reform • Philippe Pinel(1745-1826) in France • Pinel’s experiment in 1792 had revolutionary effects on the betterment of patients
  21. 21. William Tuke(1732-1822) • Established the York Retreat in England, a pleasant country house where mental patients lived, worked and rested in a kindly, religious atmosphere. this retreat represented the culmination of noble battle against the brutality, ignorance and indifference of Tuke’s times.
  22. 22. Rush and Moral Management in America • Benjamin Rush(1745-1813) the founder of American Psychiatry, also one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, encourages more humane treatment of the mentally ill • Moral management – a wide ranging method of treatment that focused on a patient’s social, individual and occupational needs.
  23. 23. Dix and the Mental hygiene movement • Dorothea Dix(1802-1887) advocated a method of treatment that focused almost exclusively on the physical wellbeing of hospitalized mental patients. • She is credited with establishing 32 mental hospitals, directed the opening of two large institutions in Canada, and completely reformed the asylum system in Scotland and many other countries
  24. 24. The Military and the mentally ill • Mental health treatment was also advanced by military medicine • Psychiatrists, a number of whom made great contributions to the field of abnormal Psychology( Emil Kraepelin and Richard Craft- Ebbing) worked with the military administration conducting research and training doctors to detect mental health problems
  25. 25. Mental Hospital care in the 20th Century • In the first half of 20th century, hospital care for the mentally ill afforded very little in the way of effective treatment. • In 1946, Mary Jane Ward published a very influential book, ‘The Snake Pit’ which popularized in a movie of the same time. This work called attention to the plight of mental patients and helped to create concern to provide mental health care in the community
  26. 26. • Deinstitutionalization- a movement included vigorous efforts to close down mental hospitals and return psychiatrically disturbed people t the community ostensibly as a means of providing more integrated and humane treatment than was available in the isolated environment of the psychiatric hospitals
  27. 27. Contemporary views of Abnormal Behavior 1. Biological discoveries 2. The development of classification system of mental disorders 3. The emergence of psychological causation views 4. The experimental psychological research developments
  28. 28. Biological discoveries • The disciplines of Anatomy, physiology, Neurology, Chemistry and general medicine advanced their knowledge which led to the identification of the biological or organic pathology underlying many physical ailments • The development of a Psychiatric classification system by Kraepelin played a dominant role in the early development of the biological view point. His works helped to establish the importance of brain pathology in mental disorders
  29. 29. Emergence of psychological causation • The first major steps toward understanding psychological factors in Mental disorders were taken by Sigmund Freud. His ‘Psychoanalysis 'emphasized the inner dynamics of unconscious motives • Other clinicians have modified and revised Freud’s theory which has thus evolved in to new Psychodynamic perspective
  30. 30. Experimental Psychology developments • The end of the 19th century and the early 20th century saw Experimental Psychology evolve in to Clinical Psychology with the development of clinics to study as well as intervene in abnormal behavior • Two major schools of learning paralleled this development and behaviorism emerged as an explanatory model in Abnormal Psychology
  31. 31. Conclusion • Understanding the history of Abnormal Psychology, its forward steps and missteps alike, helps us understand the emergence of modern concepts of abnormal behavior. • Reference: • Carson, R., Butcher, J., Mineka, S.,Hooley,J. (2007). Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life. Thirteenth Ed, New Delhi: Pearson Education Inc.
  32. 32. Thank you