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Historical Perspectives Of Abnormal Psychology
Salma El Gharabawy PHL 410 University of Phoenix
Perspectives Of Abnormal Psychology paper
Abnormal psychology is a branch of psychology that explores psychopathy as well as abnormal behavior. Looking back in time, every culture had its own set of “madness” and abnormal behavior and a number of theories have emerged in order to explain the reasoning behind them. Society’s perspective on behavior that was considered to be abnormal has been reasoned with such phenomena as supernatural forces, the anger of the gods, the influence of the moon, an unbalanced temperament, ‘bad blood’ (i.e. hereditary factors), and decadence. (Frude, 1998)Time also shows how the theories did not stop there, but more were thought of in order to justify these abnormal behaviors; however the theories mainly revolved around three main causes; mystical/supernatural (possession), scientific/medical (a biological problem that occurred within the individual's body), or a humanitarian cause (such as stressful or poor living conditions). These first thought of theories, as well as countless others that have been introduced and explored within the years, are the foundation on which abnormal psychology was built on. In order to have a better understanding; it's important to know the origins of abnormal psychology, how it evolved into a scientific discipline, and the theoretical models related to its development.
Perspectives Of Abnormal Psychology paper The study of abnormal psychology goes back about 100 years; that said, a society's recognition of what they classified as abnormal behavior, can be dated back to primitive societies. A theory that was used a lot back in those days in order to explain abnormal behavior was animism; which means that the
individual in question was possessed by an evil spirit. In order to deal with animism, a primitive form of surgery was used back then that included drilling holes in the patient's skull in order to set free or release the demons; contrary to popular belief, it was recorded that a considerable amount of individuals have survived this seemingly harsh procedure. Exorcism was another way of dealing with animism; it involved religious figures performing a ritual in order to case out the demons or evil spirits that they thought were responsible for the questioned behavior. Moving forward with time to the Greek and Roman times; a more scientific perspective of mental illnesses started developing. The start of a systematic approach to psychological and physical disorders began with Greek philosopher, Hippocrates who believed that all diseases, including mental disorders were caused by the imbalance of four fluids or humours that were thought to circulate throughout the body. (Hansell & Damour, 2008)His theory was based on the idea that when an individual
Perspectives Of Abnormal Psychology paper has too much Black bile they can be depressed or melancholic, or be choleric or anxious because of too much yellow bile. He also believed that too much blood can cause sanguine or mood swings and that too much phlegm causes lethargy or indifference. Hippocrates strongly believed that once a balance is developed between humors; whether by behavioral alteration or a well balanced diet; the individual would become stable both mentally as well as physically. There were those who disagreed to Hippocrates's theory, Asclepiades was one of these people. Asclepiades believed that any psychological disturbance an individual is going through,is more likely to be caused by emotional issues while drawing a line between chronic and acute psychological disorders as well as between delusion and hallucination. The Middle ages were a very slow period in regards to any development, because almost none emerged within this time. Spiritual and mystic reasonings took over that period; and those who suffered from any mental illnesses were unfairly treated and accused of which craft,sorcery; etc. Within the 14th and 15th century; several witch hunts took place, blaming those who were mentally ill of being witches or an abnormal creature. Countless numbers of people tried to promote a moral way of treating those who were mentally ill; however the individual that made the most
Perspectives Of Abnormal Psychology paper difference would have to be Emil Kraepelin. Kraepelin classified mental disorders by emphasizing on their biological aspects. His theory brought psychiatry and medicine closer together and therefore, laying out the foundation to which our current classification system was built on. The idea of explaining or justifying abnormal behavior throughout history (Historical relativism)and the combination of different perspectives or views ( multiple causality), have certainly helped when it came to differentiating between predisposing and precipitating influences that cause abnormal behavior. At the time being, the most current or popular paradigm is the relation between one's mind and body, which shows how both biological and psychological factors help explain abnormal behavior. The idea that supernatural elements are the reasonings behind abnormal behavior is no longer a current thought. A number of several models have been developed to show a somewhat contemporary perspective of the origin of psychological disturbances, thus applying a more scientific approach towards understanding abnormal behavior. (Frude, 1998). The most powerful theoretical approach would have to be the biological model which explains why most psychological issues are caused by chemical imbalances within an individual's brain; or any brain alteration that may be caused by age, a head trauma
Perspectives Of Abnormal Psychology paper or a disease. The biological model has numerous strengths associated with other well established sciences; and
be even more powerful when compared with other models that may possibly use vague ideas with subjective evidence. The psychodynamic (or psychoanalytic) model was developed from Sigmund Freud's work whose perspective on mental disorders was aligned with the core concept of continuum between what's normal and abnormal. Freud bad a strong belief that most mental illnesses are simply a mere exaggeration of mental conflicts that were not solved or dealt with. Other schools of psychoanalysis retained Freud’s ideas, emphasizing on emotional conflict, unconscious processes and continuing repetitive influences from childhood and adolescent experiences on adult life. (Hansell & Damour, 2008). The Humanistic-Existential model is one that focuses on the importance of interpersonal relations, human freedom, as well as the liberty of making a personal choice regarding one's emotional state. This model focuses more on treating mental illnesses rather than their causes; however, it does provide some significant perspectives regarding emotional issues. Similar to the psychodynamic model, the Humanistic-Existential one views psychopathology to be imbedded in one's personality and lifestyle.
Perspectives Of Abnormal Psychology paper Finally there's the Behavioral model, which tries to explain the sources of psychological disorders through learning
and conditioning theories; therefore, focusing on the importance of comprehending both classical and operant conditioning. In conclusion; looking back in time and learning more
about the history of Abnormal behavior and how it has developed into a scientific approach and was given more meaning and value by theoretical models; experts within the field are now capable of having a more contemporary view that helps them provide better treatment for the many people that suffer from the nightmare of psychological illnesses or disorders.
Perspectives Of Abnormal Psychology paper References
www.about.com Frude, N. (1998) Understanding Abnormal Psychology. Blackwell Publishing Hansell, J. & Damour, L. (2008). Abnormal Psychology (2nd Ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley
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