Historical Perspectives in Abnormal Psychology Lance Entze PSY 410 Kidd Colt August 23, 2011 Historical Perspectives in Abnormal Psychology The idea or concept of abnormal psychology came about over 100 years ago. Over the last 100 years or so the definition of abnormal psychology has been rounded into certain core concepts that will be discussed later in the paper. The main definition of abnormal psychology is hard to pin point, however the core concepts give a structured outline of what abnormal psychology is. There are six core concepts in abnormal psychology these six concepts help to better understand who is abnormal and why.
The first of the six concepts is the significance of context that defines and helps understand an abnormality. The second is the range among normal and abnormal behavior. The third core concept is cultural and historical comparisons in defining and classifying abnormality, (Hansell & Damour, 2008). The fourth is the advantages and limits of a diagnosis. Principles of multiple causality makes the fifth concept, and the sixth is the connection relating to mind and body, (Hansell & Damour, 2008). The definition of abnormality has changed considerably with the times.
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An example that the text gives is that homosexuality was thought to be a mental illness in the United States up until 1973, (Hansell & Damour, 2008). The six core concepts discussed earlier are the concepts that have held true throughout the 100 years of abnormal psychology. There are various criteria’s for defining and recognizing abnormality, non however are full proof. There are five criteria that are used and they are, help seeking, irrationality or dangerous, deviance, emotional distress, and significant impairment, (Hansell & Damour, 2008).
The first three are only sometimes reliable in identifying abnormal behavior, however they are usually incorrect. Emotional distress and significant impairment are definite markers of abnormal behavior. Biological perspectives on abnormal psychology usually focus on irregular physical structures on abnormal biochemical functions, mostly in the brain. Genetics and environmental factors usually are to blame for abnormalities according the biological theories. Treatments used in biological methods are intervention of a physical nature, plus medications that will directly affect the brain, (Hansell & Damour, 2008).
The psychodynamic description of abnormal behavior usually focuses on motives, thoughts, and emotions from the unconscious, emotional conflicts and influences from childhood experiences. The humanistic description for abnormal behavior puts more focus on the problems with in one’s self. Behavioral perspectives base off the principle that behaviors are learned. Behaviorists usually focus on three types of learning that account for normal and abnormal behavior, (Hansell & Damour, 2008).
Cognitive theorists focus on thoughts and beliefs that use certain key causes and components that explain feelings and behaviors, which include abnormal behavior. Conclusion The idea of abnormal psychology has been around for 100 years; however there is no real definition of what abnormal psychology is. There is however main concepts that have been around for the 100 years they are used to help understand abnormal psychology. Different disciplines and theorist have their own idea of what abnormal psychology is and how to treat it. References Hansell, J. & Damour, L. (2008). Abnormal psychology (2nd ed. ). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.