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Abnormal Psychology. Dr. David M. McCord Paradigms. Quick Review. We looked at definitions of “abnormal” Statistical, violation of norms, personal distress, dysfunction, unexpectedness We then reviewed the history of how abnormal behavior has been viewed and treated in the past

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abnormal psychology

Abnormal Psychology

Dr. David M. McCord


quick review
Quick Review
  • We looked at definitions of “abnormal”
    • Statistical, violation of norms, personal distress, dysfunction, unexpectedness
  • We then reviewed the history of how abnormal behavior has been viewed and treated in the past
    • Early demonology
    • Hippocrates and rise of somatogenesis
    • Dark ages and return to demonology
    • Renaissance, development of asylums, Pinel
    • Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia
    • Somatic therapies of the 1930’s and 1940’s
  • This brings us to modern era
    • Modern somatogenesis (Kraepelin, “syndrome”)
    • Modern psychogenesis (Mesmer, Charcot)
scientific paradigms
Scientific Paradigms
  • Paradigms are conceptual frameworks that scientists use to study the world
    • Paradigms include assumptions about science and methods
    • A general perspective or approach
    • Paradigms dictate what will and will not be studied (e.g. few scientists study ESP today)
    • Paradigms can dictate the methods used by a scientist (introspection versus experimentation)
    • Affects the interpretation of facts and findings
  • Psychology has yet to settle on a universally accepted paradigm, so we continue to consider several …
Biological paradigm –
    • Medical model, somatogenic approach
    • Mental problems caused by abnormal biological processes
  • Psychodynamic paradigm –
    • Freud, psychogenic approach
    • Mental problems caused by psychological issues
  • Behavioral Paradigm
    • Psychogenic, classical & operant conditioning
  • Cognitive paradigm
    • Psychogenic, Beck, Ellis, CBT
  • Humanistic/Existential paradigm –
    • Psychogenic, Rogers, Gestalt
  • Sociocultural Paradigm
    • Family system, cultural background, labels
the biological paradigm
The Biological Paradigm
  • The biological paradigm (medical model) suggests that alterations of biological processes result in abnormal behavior
  • Biological processes may include:
    • Heredity
    • Imbalances of brain chemistry
    • Disordered development of brain structures
nerve signaling
Nerve Signaling
  • Neurons signal information by releasing packets of chemical transmitters from the axon terminal
    • Chemical molecules bind to receptors on the membrane of adjacent nerve cells
    • Binding in turn changes the electrical activity of the adjacent cell and can trigger an action potential
    • A reuptake process in the axon membrane takes up excess chemical for reuse
Abnormal behavior could result from:
    • Too much of a specific neurotransmitter in the synapse, due to excessive synthesis
    • Too little of a specific neurotransmitter in the synapse, due to deficient synthesis
    • Too much of a specific neurotransmitter due to inhibited reuptake of the transmitter
    • Too many or too few receptors on the postsynaptic neuron membrane
  • Neurotransmitters relevant to us include:
    • Norepinephrine
    • Serotonin
    • GABA
    • Dopamine
    • And many others…
The biological approach to treatment is usually to alter the biochemistry of the brain:
    • Drugs alter synaptic levels of neurotransmitters
    • Increase or decrease synthesis of transmitter
    • Increase by blocking enzymes that break down transmitter
    • Increase by blocking reuptake
    • Block receptor sites
the psychoanalytic paradigm
The Psychoanalytic Paradigm
  • The core assumption of the psychoanalytic paradigm is that abnormal behavior reflects unconscious conflicts within the person
  • Drives such as sex and aggression come into conflict with laws, social rules, and moral codes. As we grow, we internalize these rules, so the conflicts are intrapsychic.
  • The psychoanalytic paradigm is derived from the theories of personality developed by Sigmund Freud
sigmund freud
Sigmund Freud
  • Born May 6, 1856, Pribor, Moravia (now Czech Republic)
  • Moved to Vienna at age 4, for rest of life (80 years)
  • Graduated at 17, then 8 years in med school
  • Graduated in 1881, married, began practice
  • Planned to specialize in physiology and pathology, but became very interested in abnormal nervous system disorders
  • Good friend Josef Breuer (1842-1925) gave him advice and $$$, discussed patients, esp. Anna O.
  • Stumbled upon the “talking cure” and catharsis
  • Freud Web Links...
  • Freud Museum UK
freud s model of the mind
Freud’s Model of the Mind
  • Freud suggested that the mind is composed of three parts:
    • Id is the raw energy that powers the mind
      • Id seeks gratification of basic urges for food, water, warmth, affection, and sex
      • Id processes are unconscious
    • Ego is a conscious part of the mind that deals with reality
    • Superego is the final part of the mind to emerge and is similar to the conscience
Repression – the automatic ejection from awareness of anxiety-provoking ideas. Protects us from recognizing and admitting our darker side, the urges we would consider inappropriate in light of our moral values. A primary and primitive defense mechanism.
  • Instincts – 2 classes
    • Eros – life instincts, help you to survive and reproduce (hunger, thirst, sex).
    • Thanatos – death instincts, “the goal of all life is death” – unconscious death wish – aggressive drives turned inward.
  • Eros contains the psychosexual energy, the libido, which flows into different parts of the body as you develop. A hydraulic paradigm, so to speak.
Freud argued that personality develops in stages: in each stage the id derives pleasure from a distinct part of the body
      • Oral (Birth to 18 months): infant derives pleasure from eating and biting
      • Anal (18 months to 3 years): the focus of pleasure is the anus
      • Phallic (3 to 6 years): the genitals are the focus of pleasure
      • Latent (6 to 12 years): id impulses are dormant
      • Genital: heterosexual interests are dominant
defense mechanisms i
Defense Mechanisms I
  • Anxiety results from conflict between id impulses and expression of those impulses
  • Defense mechanisms reduce anxiety
    • Repression: impulses are made unconscious
    • Projection: person attributes their own impulses onto others
    • Denial: troubling experiences are made unconscious
    • Reaction formation: preventing the awareness or expression of unacceptable impulses by an exaggerated adoption of seemingly opposite behavior-attitudes-feelings
    • Displacement: Discharging pent-up feelings, often of hostility, on objects less dangerous than those arousing the feelings
defense mechanisms ii
Defense Mechanisms II
  • Sublimation: Converting sexual or aggressive impulses into socially acceptable, even valued, behaviors
  • Intellectualization: Cutting off affective charge from hurtful situations, or separating incompatible attitudes by logic-tight compartments
  • Rationalization: Using contrived “explanations” to conceal or disguise unworthy motives for one’s behavior
  • Fantasy: Gratifying frustrated desires by imaginary achievements
  • Emotional insulation: Reducing ego involvement by protective withdrawal and passivity
  • Undoing: Atoning for or magically trying to dispel unacceptable desires or acts
  • Regression: Retreating to an earlier developmental period involving less mature behavior and responsibility
essentials of classic psychoanalytic therapy
Essentials of Classic Psychoanalytic Therapy
  • The goal of psychoanalysis is insight (understanding) of the basis for anxiety
  • Techniques of psychoanalytic therapy:
    • Free association: person says whatever comes to mind: the content is examined by the therapist for resistances (areas the person does not wish to talk about)
    • Dream analysis: Unconscious impulses are expressed during dreams
  • (segment 7)
freud s disciples
Freud’s Disciples…
  • Carl Jung (1887-1961)
    • Swiss psychiatrist, broke ranks in 1914
    • Collective unconscious, archetypes
    • “Analytical Psychology”
  • Alfred Adler (1870-1937)
    • Inferiority complex
    • “Individual Psychology”
  • Karen Horney
    • Focused on interpersonal relationships
    • Denied penis envy
    • Expelled from NY Psychoanalytic Institute
freud s legacy
Freud’s Legacy
  • Freud contributions include the views that:
    • Childhood experiences help shape adult personality
    • There are unconscious influences on personality
    • Defense mechanisms help to control anxiety
    • The causes and purposes of human behavior are not always obvious
humanistic existential paradigms
Humanistic/Existential Paradigms
  • Humanistic/existential paradigms focus on insight into the motivations/needs of the person
    • These paradigms place greater emphasis on the persons freedom of choice (free will)
    • The humanistic paradigm does not focus on how problems develop in a person
assumptions of roger s client centered therapy
Assumptions of Roger’s Client-Centered Therapy
  • Client-centered therapy argues that:
    • People can only be understood from the vantage point of their own feelings
    • Healthy people are:
      • aware of their own behavior
      • innately good and effective
      • purposive and directive
    • Therapy creates conditions under which person makes independent decisions
existential therapy
Existential Therapy
  • The existential view emphasizes personal growth
  • The existential view notes that making choices results in anxiety
  • Existential therapy encourages clients to confront their anxieties and to make important decisions about how to relate to others
gestalt therapy
Gestalt Therapy
  • Fritz Perls
  • Help patients understand and accept their own needs, desires, fears, to enhance awareness of self
  • Focus on here and now, without delving into past – all that matters is now
  • Technique focused
  • (segment 8)
learning paradigms
Learning Paradigms
  • Learning paradigms argue that abnormal behavior is learned as are normal behaviors
    • Classical conditioning
    • Operant conditioning
    • Modeling
  • Behaviorism focuses on the study of observable behavior
  • Watson website
operant conditioning
Operant Conditioning
  • Behaviors have consequences
    • Positive reinforcement: behaviors followed by pleasant stimuli are strengthened
    • Negative reinforcement: behaviors that terminate a negative stimulus are strengthened
  • Behavior can be shaped using method of successive approximations
    • Reward a series of responses that approximate the final response
  • Learning can occur in the absence of reinforcers
  • Modeling involves learning by watching and imitating the behaviors of others
    • Models impart information to the observer
      • Children learn about aggression watching aggressive models
behavior therapy
Behavior Therapy
  • Behavior therapy uses learning methods to change abnormal behavior, thoughts and feelings
    • Behavior therapists use classical and operant conditioning techniques as well as modeling
    • Counterconditioning: learning a new response
      • Systematic desensitization: relaxation is paired with a stimulus that formerly induced anxiety
      • Aversive conditioning: an unpleasant event is paired with a stimulus to reduce its attractiveness
phobias an example of paradigms
Phobias – an example of paradigms
  • Little Hans
  • Little Albert
  • Little Peter
cognitive paradigm
Cognitive Paradigm
  • Learner is an active interpreter of information
  • Schema
  • Beck’s cognitive therapy for depression
  • Ellis’s Rational Emotive Therapy
  • More generalized Cognitive Behavior Therapy is leading model of therapy today
diathesis stress paradigm
Diathesis-Stress Paradigm
  • Focuses on the interaction between a predisposition to disease or disorder, and environmental events that lead toward, or away from, that disorder.
  • Diathesis usually refers to a genetic, biological, or constitutional vulnerability
  • Stressor can be major traumatic events as well as more normal life stresses
  • Integrates data from other paradigms…