Historical Perspectives Of Abnormal Psychology Essay

1224 WordsNov 28, 20115 Pages
Historical Perspectives of Abnormal Psychology For thousands of years philosophers and scientist have tried to explain the mind, the “intangible thing” that gives a person his or her unique thoughts, feelings, behaviors, personality, and sense of being. Until the 18th century, it was believed that the mind and the brain were separate entities, but today it is widely accepted that the mind is a product of brain activity. One way of exploring the mind is through the study of mental illness. In the past, sheer ignorance made people react to mental illness in others with fear and hostility. However, in the 19th century, a more scientific approach was taken to understanding the human mind’s challenges. Today there is a cleaerer understanding on what mental challenges are, why they happened, and how they can be solved. Origins of Abnormal Psychology Abnormal psychology is the study the abnormal behavior and experience. The purpose is to understand abnormalities and treat them (Goodwin, 2005). What makes disorders from the mind different is that they affect how people behave. Ancient people believed that mental illness or abnormal behavior was the result of someone being “possessed” by evil spirits. Treatment, if any, came in the form of amulets or charms, or more drastically, by drilling holes into the head so those spirits could escape. In the middle ages, the church saw mental illness or abnormal behaviors as a sign of the devil at work, a belief that led to the persecution of people as witches. Doctors however, viewed as unbalance in the four humors (fluids believed to make up the body). Most mental ill people were treated as less than human with many languishing locked up in mad houses. By the end of the 18th century, reformers were suggesting a more humane approach. French doctor Philippe Pinel
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