The mentally ill are more different than us than we can imagine and more like us than we care to admit.” (Valentine, 2011) This quote paints a poignant and provocative picture of Abnormal Psychology. Its eloquent phrasing leads us to look at the concept of abnormality through multifaceted lenses exposing the fine line that defines normal and abnormal. In the fairly young science of Abnormal psychology we are asked to consider thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as viable ways to determine the mental wellness of an individual. It is through the understanding of the past that we may move
The psychodynamic approach assumes that adult behaviour reflects complex dynamic interactions between the conscious and unconscious mind, which are present from birth. Freud, the founder of this approach, believed that our behaviour is powerfully affected by the processes within our conscious mind and psychological disorders in adulthood, are due to problems with we have encountered in our childhood, that have not been solved. Freud purposed that personality is made up of three parts. These parts are the id, superego and ego. He also suggested that our personality is shaped in different times of our childhood, which is known as the psychosexual development.
The psychodynamic approach evolved from psychoanalysis, founded by Sigmund Freud, who considered that people’s behaviours are influenced by their motives or dynamics. Psychodynamics has three distinctive features or assumptions. That the difficulty a client is having has an origin in their childhood. Secondly, the client is not consciously aware of these affecting their motives and impulses, and lastly that it uses the interpretation of the transference relationship between client and councillor (McLeod, p.91). This essay will now consider these features in more depth.
His findings into attachment radically challenged the prevalent behaviourist theory of Watson of learned infant attachment in response to constant stimuli and the psychoanalytical theory of Freud that attachment was based on biological needs or ‘cupboard love’ theories as unreliable. (Custance, 2010). Within this essay I will attempt to describe both Harlow’s and Ainsworth research methods and compare and contrast their findings and criticisms. Harry Harlow’s work on attachment focused on the bond between infant and mother. Harlow wanted to investigate whether attachment was based on the ‘cupboard love’ theory of Freud and Watson or on Bowlby’s suggestion that attachment was an innate tendency in response to warmth and tactility.
Passer et al. (2009). The main focus of the psychodynamic theory is the effect of the unconscious mind on behaviour and emotions, however in order for the theory to be fully understood, it is essential to be aware of the assumptions that this perspective makes. One of the key ideas, fundamental to the psychodynamic perspective is the assumption that behavioural patterns executed as adults have direct links to previous childhood experiences. This assumption can help to explain how traumatic childhood events can lead to further psychological issues as adults.
Similarly, Erving Goffman (1968) claimed that doctors, social workers and psychiatrists will engage in spurious interaction with those labelled thus suggesting society labels deviant behaviour. The Rosenhan study (1973) supports the idea that the labelling theory exists because abnormal behaviour that doesn’t conform to the norms and values of society is labelled. The Rosenhan experiment was a famous experiment done in order to determine the validity of psychiatric diagnosis, conducted by psychologist David Rosenhan. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that psychiatrists cannot reliably tell the difference between people who are sane and those who are insane. The first part of the study involved eight sane people (pseudo-patients).
No matter what behavior is identified to be a dysfunction, it must be noteworthy to interfere in the individual’s life. Behaviors why may upset, distracts or confuses an individual that he / she cannot attend to own needs may define the dysfunction criterion. Distress is the second D of Abnormality which is related to dysfunction. It is related in a way that it becomes an important way to rate perceptual dysfunctions in an individual. Apparently, the relationship between distress and dysfunction is not always linear.
The untrained individuals would look at psychopathology as being a study of mental disorders on the mere manifestation of different behaviors. However, we in the field of psychology would determine what is by going through the basics. It is commonly referred to as abnormal psychology which is the clear understanding of nature, certain treatments, and the many different causes. There are several ways in fact to where individuals in the field of psychology may use to explain psychology. For example, one psychologist may use descriptive psychopathology to which will strive to provide answers for symptoms or mental illness.
He viewed childhood as dominated by conflictual sexuality and personality as an intricate net of impulses and defenses (Mitchell & Black, 1995). In addition, he identified two classes of instincts in humans, namely the Eros (sexual instinct) and Thanatos (death instinct), which played a central role in conflict and psychopathology (Freud, 1923). It appears that, according to Freud’s vision, all mental life and human behavior were propelled by unconscious drives and impulses. He saw human beings in a state of constant struggle with impulses and forbidden wishes and that this conflict was what people were truly made of. However, even though there is no denial of inner human conflict, drives, impulses, or even the unconscious, the vision of humans that Freud paints seems devoid of free will.
Sigmund Freud developed an approach on abnormality that highlighted how human personality and psychosexual development in childhood can cause abnormality. Freud proposed that the human personality is made up of three interacting elements: the id, the ego and the super ego. The id is our unconscious it releases natural pleasure seeking instincts and operates to satisfy these instincts through pleasurable activities. The ego represents our conscious self; it tries to balance the id with moral rules proposed by the superego. The superego is our moral authority this developed through identification of our parent’s moral rules and the social norms of society If the ego fails to balance the id and the superego this can lead to conflict and may result in a psychological disorder.