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Psychology 30

Therapy, Research and Abnormal Psychology

Helping others deal with their psychological problems is providing psychotherapy. Psychotherapy literally means healing of the soul Psychotherapy is provided by: Psychologiststhey observe and analyze behavior patterns, and try to help people make positive changes, without prescribing drugs Psychiatriststhey have the same goal as psychologists (helping people improve the quality of their lives), but they study medicine and can prescribe drugs Social workerssimilar to psychologists (again, helping people improve the quality of their lives) but with a different educational background (not a psychology degree). A social work education includes parts of a variety of other academic disciplines, including education, economics, sociology, medicine, and (of course) psychology

Although psychological problems used to be seen as moral or religious problems, more recently, they have been seen as symptoms of a disease mental illness. Some feel that the phrase mental illness encourages learned helplessness; instead, psychotherapists want people to take responsibility for their own actions, and to make the changes necessary to improve their lives.

There are many kinds of therapy, including: Psychoanalysis Existential and Humanist therapies Cognitive therapies Behavior therapies Group therapies A psychotherapist who uses a variety of methods is using an eclectic approach.

The main goal of psychotherapy is to strengthen the patient s control over her or his life. This involves helping patients change behavior patterns and negative feelings they have about themselves. In order to do this, patients must first understand the reasons for their behavior. A patient s positive attitude can make psychotherapy much more effective; this is referred to as the placebo effect. An effective psychotherapist will display empathya capacity for warmth and understanding.

Types of Therapies--Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is based on the theories of Sigmund Freud. Freud thought that psychological problems were the result of unconscious conflicts, so making patients aware of their unconscious desires would allow them to understand themselves, and to therefore improve their lives. Gaining such an understanding of ones self is called insight.

Types of Therapies--Psychoanalysis
Aspects of Psychoanalysis include: Free associationthe analyst asks the patient to talk about everything that comes into his mind Resistancethe patient may be uncomfortable with revealing his innermost thoughts Transferencethe patient begins to see the analyst as an important figure in his life (a parent or a significant other).

Humanist Therapies
Humanistic theories stress striving to achieve ones potential; this is why they are sometimes referred to as the human potential movement. An example of a humanistic therapy is personcentered therapy, based on Carl Rogerss theories. Rogers referred to patients as clients (to be more respectful), and he believed that the therapist should provide an atmosphere of unconditional positive regard (no judgment).

Existential Therapy
Existential therapists believe that for most people, freedom and autonomy are threatening. To overcome this, patients are encouraged to overcome the fear of freedom and to take responsibility for their lives. One existentialist, Viktor Frankl, believed that feelings of emptiness and boredom are the primary source of emotional problems.

Gestalt Therapy
The word gestalt comes from the German word for form or shape. Gestalt therapy involves attempting to help a person fit the different pieces of her life, that may be in conflict, together. It is based on the belief that many individuals are so concerned with obtaining approval that they become strangers to themselvesfor example, they may dislike that they always defer to authority figures.

Transactional Analysis
Transactional analysis assumes that people experience the world through 3 perspectives, called ego states, each of which represents the way they organize their thoughts, feeling, and actions: 1 Child ego state 2 Parent ego state 3 Adult ego staterepresents rationality, and helps deal effectively with everyday problems.

Cognitive Therapies
Cognitive Therapy attempts to change the way people think. Two examples of it are: 1 Rational-Emotive Therapy (RET) says that people behave in deliberate and rational ways if their assumptions about life are realistic, but that problems arise if these assumptions are unrealistic. 2 Cognitive-Behavior Therapy is similar to RET except that therapists will encourage clients to engage in actual tests of their own beliefs, in order to accurately assess their assumptions about life.

Behavior Therapy
As one would expect, behavior therapy focuses less on what patients think, and more on their behavior. The behavior therapist s job is to re-educate the patientto help him change his behavior. One technique used by behavior therapists is systematic desensitizationthe patient is taught to relax so that he will not feel anxious in the presence of feared objects or situations. Also used is contingency management, in which behavior is modified by reinforcing improved behavior through rewards, while the old behavior is not rewarded.

Group Therapy
Group therapy helps by Giving practical experience in getting along with others Showing that other people also experience similar problems

Another advantage of group therapy: one therapist can help a large number of people

Group Therapy
Examples of group therapy are: Family therapy Self-help groups (such as AA) Encounter groups (for people who function adequately in everyday life but who feel unhappy; the goal is to help people increase their sensitivity, openness and honesty)

Drug Treatments
When the previously discussed treatments are ineffective, or in order to help with them, sometimes drugs are prescribed. Psychoactive drugs, for example, are used in treating schizophrenia. They cut down on confusion, agitation and hallucinations. Another class of drugs relieve depression antidepressants.

Mental Institutions
The process of placing a person in a mental hospital is called commitment. There are many different varieties of mental institutions, for people with different issues, including criminals and people who are considered unable to function in a normal society. A halfway house allows more freedom, but can provide the structure that some people still need after being released from a mental institution.

Abnormal Behavior
Abnormal Behavior is a controversial phrase, because many people engage in behavior that has been deemed abnormal. Some say that normal people are able to get along in the worldphysically, emotionally and socially. Abnormal people, then, are those that fail to adequately adjust, and are therefore extremely unhappy, lethargic, and alone.

Anxiety-Based Disorders
As many as 15% of adults have experienced anxiety-based disorders. There are several different varieties of anxietybased disorders, but they tend to share certain characteristics, including: Feelings of anxiety Feelings of inadequacy Inability to deal with problems and challenges

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is a generalized apprehensiona vague feeling that one is in danger. It differs from fear, which results from real threats. Instead, it is a reaction to vague or imagined dangers. People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder become so preoccupied with their internal problems, that they are unable to make decisions and enjoy life. Physical symptoms include: muscle tension, poor appetite, and indigestion.

A phobia is when a focus on a particular object, activity or situation results in severe anxiety that seems out of proportion to the actual dangers involved. A great many different phobias have been identified; two of the most common are agoraphobia (fear of crowds) and claustrophobia (fear of small spaces).

Panic Disorder
A panic disorder produces a panic attack, during which a victim experiences sudden and unexplainable attacks of intense fear. The victim may feel a sense of inevitable doom or fear she is going to die Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, severe dizziness, nausea and chest pains. They usually last for a few minutes

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessions occur when an idea or thought continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person's mind. A compulsion is a strong, usually irresistible impulse to perform an act, especially one that is irrational. Experiencing both of these together is called obsessivecompulsive disorder. Common examples of obsessive compulsive behavior include excessive hand-washing, constant doubting (Did I leave the stove on?), and a continual desire to maintain a sense of order. It is speculated that this kind of behavior helps people feel that they can do at least one thing well, and it may serve as a distraction from peoples real fears.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is a condition in which a person experiences a traumatic event and feels severe and lasting aftereffects as a result. PTSD is common among people who experience military combat, survivors of natural disasters, and accident victims. Symptoms include flashbacks, recurring nightmares and feelings of guilt.

Somatoform Disorders
A somatoform disorder occurs when anxiety leads to physical symptoms that have no apparent physical cause. There are 2 major kinds: 1 Conversion disordersemotional difficulties are converted into physical problems, such as loss of feeling in a particular area of the body or loss of hearing. 2 Hypochondriasisa person in good health becomes preoccupied with imaginary ailments.

Dissociative Disorders
Dissociative disorders involve a disturbance in conscious experience such as a loss of memory or identity. A loss of identity is called a psychogenic amnesia. It may be an attempt to completely escape from a persons problems. A psychogenic fugue couples amnesia with flight to another place. Multiple Personality Disorder is another dissociative disorder; it is very rare.

Mood Disorders
Mood disorders include: Major Depressive Disorder, which includes singleepisode depression, and recurrent depression. Both of these involve dependency, self-criticism and inefficacy (being bothered by the belief that nothing I do matters.) Bipolar Disorderindividuals are either excessively happy or unhappy. This involves manic-type reactions (the individual experiences elation, extreme confusion, distractibility and racing thoughts) and depressive-type reactions (the individual is overcome by feelings of failure and despair).

Schizophrenia involves confused and disordered thoughts and perceptions. Many with schizophrenia experience Delusions (false beliefs maintained in the face of contrary evidence) Hallucinations (sensations in the absence of appropriate stimulation) Symptoms include hearing non-existent voices, incoherent language, and delusions of grandeur. A schizophrenics mind will often put him or her in a doublebind situationthe person receives conflicting demands from his or her mind, so that no matter what he or she does, it is wrong.

Personality Disorders
Personality Disorders are different from anxiety problems; instead, it is an antisocial personality that causes the difficulties. Antisocial individuals are selfish, immature and emotionally shallow, and their actions repeatedly cause themselves problems.

Drug Addiction
Abuse of drugs always involves psychological dependencepeople become so dependent upon the feeling they get from a drug that they feel compelled to continue using it. It often also involves physiological addictiona persons system sees the drugged state as normal. A person who is addicted to a drug has developed a tolerance to itthe body has become so accustomed to the drug that a person has to keep increasing his dosage to gain the effects. People trying to stop using drugs experience withdrawalthe mind and body revolt against the absence of the drug. Symptoms include nausea, shaking, and irritability.

Experimental Psychologysome definitions

TheoryA proposed explanation that is still conjectural and subject to experimentation. This contrasts with well-established propositions that are regarded as actual fact. HypothesisA proposition (or set of propositions) that attempt to explain a particular occurrence. Causal ResearchStudies the relationship between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect) where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first.

Experimental Psychologysome definitions

Correlation--A relationship between two variables in which both variables move in tandem. Positive correlationwhen one variable decreases, so does the other one. Negative correlationwhen one variable decreases, the other one increases. Cross-sectional research (This type of study utilizes different groups of people who differ in the variable being manipulated, but share other characteristics such as socioeconomic status, educational background, and ethnicity. Crosssectional studies are observational in nature and are known as descriptive research, not causal or relational.)

Experimental Psychologysome definitions

Longitudinal Researchresearch that involves repeated observations of the same variables over long periods of timeoften many decades. Scientific MethodThe steps include: 1 Forming a testable hypothesis 2 Devising a study and collecting data 3 Examining the data and reaching conclusions 4 Reporting the findings of the study

Experimental Psychologysome definitions

Descriptive Researchseeks to depict what already exists in a group or population. Relational researcha study that investigates the connection between two or more variables. These variables are generally already present in the group or population.